Kidderminster and Plymouth the FA Cup nearly men

FA Cup

After Middlesbrough’s shock win on penalties over Manchester United on Friday, the giant-killing nearly went up a notch in Saturday’s early kick-offs in the FA Cup fourth-round as Premier League duo West Ham United and Chelsea were initially stunned by sixth-tier Kidderminster Harriers and League One Plymouth Argyle respectively.

In the end, the top-tier sides sneaked into the fifth round, both on the right side of 2-1 scorelines with winners in extra-time.

Kidderminster, who operate in the National League North, were on the verge of dumping out the Hammers in what would have been a proper upset thanks to Alex Penny’s first-half goal. However, Declan Rice’s 91st-minute winner took it to extra time and then Jarrod Bowen struck in injury time in extra time to break the Aggborough faithful’s hearts.

Harriers manager Russell Penn said he couldn’t have asked for any more from his players, who were seconds away from a famous win.

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He said: “They delivered everything. They delivered heart and soul,” he said. “Of course we’re disappointed by the timing of the goals, but I couldn’t be any more proud.”

Chelsea were also looking at an upset early on when they fell behind at home to Macaulay Gillesphey’s goal for the Pilgrims but Cesar Azpilicueta equalised just before the break and then Marcos Alonso scored the winner in extra-time. Chelsea still had to survive a late penalty miss from Argyle’s Ryan Hardie before they knew their place in the fifth round was secure.

Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher paid tribute to his side’s efforts as they nearly caused a massive upset against the European champions.

He said: “They had to work so hard and be so organised and disciplined. When we had the chance to play, we did and for it to end in defeat, it’s one that won’t hurt too much.

“We kept going right to the end and as a club we can be so proud.”

In the 15:00 games, Southampton also survived a scare against Championship Coventry City as the Saints needed extra-time to win their fourth round tie at St Mary’s.

The Sky Blues went in front through Viktor Gyokeres midway through the first half before Stuart Armstrong equalised. Kyle Walker-Peters was then the extra-time hero as he scored to ensure Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are into the hat for Sunday’s fifth-round draw.

Elsewhere in the 15:00 kick-offs, Frank Lampard began his tenure as Everton boss in style with a 4-1 win over Brentford at Goodison Park thanks to goals from Yery Mina, Richarlison and Mason Holgate. Manchester City predictably swatted Championship leaders Fulham aside 4-1 at the Etihad despite falling behind early on, and Norwich knocked out Wolves in an all-Premier League tie with a 1-0 win at Molineux.

Crystal Palace had few problems beating Hartlepool 2-0 at Selhurst Park, Huddersfield advanced into the fifth round thanks to a 1-0 win over Barnsley, Peterborough beat QPR 2-0 and Stoke saw off Wigan by the same scoreline.

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