City take on Newport County today hoping to progress to the quarter final of the FA Cup, but face a potential banana skin in the form of Newport County.
The League Two side already knocked out Leicester and Middlesbrough this season and are looking for another scalp to add to their collection. City on the other hand, have put out Rotherham and Burnley, scoring 12 goals in the process and go into this match on the back of hammering Chelsea 6-0 to top the Premier League. On paper, it should be a City win, but cup matches seldom follow the script written before them. Here are a few examples.
20th February 1988 - Plymouth
In 1988, the second division blues were enjoying an amazing cup run. The had exited the League Cup at the quarter final stage and now faced Plymouth in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The two teams had met three times already this season, with City winning two (2-1 and 6-2) and Plymouth winning one (3-2 although City were 2-0 up at half time).
The blues took an early lead through Ian Scott and in the second half, Paul Simpson’s shot smashed against the post. Minutes later and from the same angle, the same player doubled the blues lead, but Plymouth pulled on back almost immediately to send their thousands (and yes they did bring thousands) of travelling supporters wild.
As the match reached its closing stages, Plymouth went in search of an equaliser, but Simpson stole the ball and ran the full length of the pitch to try and secure the tie. His shot was saved by the keeper, but goal poacher Paul Moulden, who would play a pivotal role the following season, was on hand to bury the rebound and send the blues through for a quarter final tie at home to Liverpool
16th February 1991 – Notts County
Scarily on this very day in 1991, the blues exited the cup at the hands of lower league opposition when they were beaten 1-0 by Notts County. City were in 7th place in the first division while County were fourth in division two and fighting for promotion. City hade even been tipped by some pundits to win the cup after coming through tricky ties at Burnley and Port Vale.
The blues had their chances in the first half, but found the County keeper in exc ellent form, and the blues were denied an own goal when the ball came off the defender, trickled towards the goal and hit the post. Another defender then tried to clear but hit the same spot on the post before finally getting the ball away for a corner.
It got no better for the blues in the second half. Alan harper’s long range shot thumped against the bar before hitting the keepers legs. With the county shot-stopper having no idea where the ball actually was, Niall Quin stole in, only to see his shot also hit the post before being gathered by the grateful keeper. It was therefore inevitable that the only goal of the game would be for the home side. Tony Coton made a brave stop from the advancing striker, and the attempted clearance was rebounded into the path of ??? to score into an empty net, although it must be noted that it also came off the post! There was still time for the bluss to hit the woodwork again, but it was County who progressed to the quarter final.
13th February 1993 – Barnsley
Real optimism had swept into Maine Road in 1993. After failing to get past the third round the previous season, City had beaten Reading and QPR to reach the fifth round and faced a home tie with Barnsley. The two hadn’t since 1989, when the Tykes beat the promotion chasing blues 2-1 at Maine Road, but City were eager to try and make amends.
Two goals from David White, one in each half sent the blues into the quarter final for the first time since 1988, where a home tie with Spurs awaited them.
15th February 1997 – Middlesbrough…again
City had been relegated from the Premier League and were struggling in Division One, but cup wins at Brentford (where the blues had lost a nine years earlier) and at home to Watford had given the fans cause for optimism.
But Boro, who had beaten City while in the second division in 1991, decided the time was right to crush the blues fans dreams and walk away with a 1-0 win, thanks to a first half goal by Brazilian start Juninho in the 7th minute. The thing about conceding a goal in the 7th minute is that you have 83 minutes to correct it. Sadly the blues didn’t and again they fell at the fifth round.
17th February 2002 – Newcastle
Kevin Keegan’s blues were waltzing their way back to the Premier League, but they also had a bit of time for a good cup run. They had knocked out Swindon at home, before crushing Premier League strugglers Ipswich 4-1 in front of their own fans to set up a fifth round tie at Newcastle.
The blues gave an excellent account of themselves and almost took the lead just before half time when Darren Huckerby’s shot went inches wide. But it was the Premier League side who went through when Nolberto Solano scored in the 59th minute and the Geordies hung on for a place in the quarter final.
19th February 2018 – Wigan
I’m only mentioning this game because, and I haven’t checked so I’m not 100% sure, but I’m guessing nobody has mentioned that we lost to Wigan at this stage last season. I mean, since we discovered we were playing Newport, I’m fairly certain no one has even discussed this match, compared squad costs or stated how difficult it is going to be for the blues in Wales today.
Anyway, last season, we were drawn at Wigan and they beat us 1-0…again. That’s all I’m going to say on it because Wigan are no longer in the competition and we can’t be knocked out by them this year!
What are your fifth round memories? Is there a match that stands out for you? Let us know.