FA Cup roundup: Oxford United cruise past Newcastle into fifth round

Newcastle United's Aleksandar Mitrovic in action with Oxford United's Ryan Ledson

Given the contrasting recent FA Cup pedigrees of Oxford United and Newcastle United, it is debatable whether the League One side’s 3-0 win over Rafael Benítez’s team constitutes much of a shock.

Oxford, who knocked out Swansea City and reached the fourth round last season, have gone one better this year after an emphatic victory over the Championship promotion chasers at the Kassam Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Kane Hemmings, who has scored in every round so far, put the home side in front two minutes after the break with his 13th goal of the season, turning the ball in from close range after Chey Dunkley headed Chris Maguire’s cross back from the far post.

Newcastle, who made nine changes from the side that beat Rotherham in their most recent league match, spurned a chance to equalise when Aleksandar Mitrovic won and then missed a penalty. Having been brought down in the penalty area by Phil Edwards, the Serbian saw his spot-kick brilliantly saved by the Oxford goalkeeper, Simon Eastwood, diving to his right.

Newcastle, who have not reached the fifth round since 2006, were punished when the Oxford centre-half Curtis Nelson made it 2-0 on 79 minutes, firmly heading home Rob Hall’s corner at the back post. And the 19-year-old Spanish striker Toni Martínez added a third, on his debut, with a well-placed looping header three minutes from time.

Dissent was in the air at Ewood Park where many Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool fans boycotted their fourth-round tie, many protesting against their respective club owners instead in the stadium car park, from where tennis balls were thrown into the ground at one stage in the first half. On the pitch, however, Blackburn won comfortably 2-0 in front of a sparse crowd of 9,327.

It made it a disappointing return to Blackburn for their former manager Gary Bowyer, now in charge of their League Two visitors. Rovers, who sacked Bowyer as boss in November 2015, led in the ninth minute through a simple Sam Gallagher header. Elliott Bennett then doubled their lead with a spectacular 30-yard strike – his first of the season – and any lingering hopes of a Blackpool revival were sunk when Kelvin Mellor received a second booking in the 65th minute for a rash challenge.

Steven Defour’s brilliant second-half chip capped a sixth straight home win for Burnley as they saw off the out-of-form Championship side Bristol City. The Clarets continued their impressive run at Turf Moor to move into the fifth round of the competition for the first time in six years with a comfortable 2-0 success.

Sam Vokes, who was seen among the Southampton fans celebrating their progress to Wembley in midweek, inched his employers closer to their own trip there with a first-half effort – his 50th goal for the club – before Defour sent a glorious chip over Bristol City goalkeeper Fabian Giefer after the break.

The German striker Collin Quaner marked his Huddersfield Town debut with a goal as the Championship promotion challengers cruised past Rochdale 4-0 at Spotland. Quaner, signed from Union Berlin last week, converted an Izzy Brown cross five minutes from the break before a Brown penalty and two late goals from the substitute Michael Hefele wrapped up victory.

The League One hosts must have fancied their chances of reaching the fifth round for the first time since 2003 but were left to rue missing two superb first-half chances to take the lead. Ultimately David Wagner’s side proved just too strong with a polished second-half display highlighted by Quamer, whose swift counterattack set up the fourth and final goal for Hefele to leave Rochdale to focus on their own challenge for the League One play-offs.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Tom Davies, for The Guardian on Saturday 28th January 2017 18.23 Europe/London

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