Marco Stiepermann

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Norwich rolls, Watford stunned, Aston Villa falls in FA Cup

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Three more Premier League sides booked a place in the FA Cup fourth round, but one was left on the outside looking in as Saturday’s heavy slate of magic continued along.

[ MORE: Early FA Cup slate recap ]

18-year-old Adam Idah picked up a hat-trick to as Norwich City used a storming first half to beat Preston North End 4-2. Idah was on target less than 90 seconds into the match as Marco Stiepermann delivered a fabulous through-ball on the break and Idah split two defenders expertly and finished from outside the box. Onel Hernandez hit for Norwich’s second in the 28th minute before Idah grabbed his second of the game via a deep 40-yard effort with the goalkeeper out to secure a 3-0 halftime lead. Preston got one back after the break through Billy Bodin, but Idah struck from the spot past the hour mark to bag his big moment.

Watford also appeared on its way having taken a 3-0 lead by halftime, but was left red-faced after coughing that all up in a 3-3 draw with League One side Tranmere Rovers. 20-year-old Tom Dele-Bashiru gave Watford the lead inside the opening 15 minutes, while Nathaniel Chalobah and Roberto Pereyra tacked on goals before halftime in what was a comfortable first 45 minutes. However, in good form and with a big lead, Watford absolutely collapsed. Connor Jennings was first to pull a goal back for Tranmere as he headed home on a corner, while another set-piece provided Tranmere’s second off the head of Emmanuel Monthe. The equalizer came from the spot after VAR gave a penalty on Mason Barrett just inside the box, and Paul Mullin slotted home the spot-kick. Pereyra was then sent off late harshly for a somewhat innocuous trip on Kieron Morris.

Fulham used a pair of absolute beauties to shock Premier League side Aston Villa 2-1 at Craven Cottage. Anthony Knockaert was the first to strike, blasting a left-footed effort from outside the top of the box to find the top-left corner and earn a 1-0 lead. Anwar El-Ghazi was on hand at the far post to tap in a deserved equalizer for Villa past the hour mark, but Harry Arter produced a stunning winner from acres out that curled away from Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland and buried into the same corner as Knockaert’s.

Southampton struggled through the first 45 minutes with Huddersfield Town’s stout defense, but they broke through just after halftime and advanced on Will Smallbone‘s debut goal that led to a provided a 2-0 win. Shane Long headed it from the byline back to the penalty spot where Smallbone was all alone, and the 19-year-old took his time before calmly firing a half-volley into the back of the net. 19-year-old Jake Vokins was on hand to put the game away with three minutes to go.

Brighton & Hove Albion was dumped out of the competition after Adam Reach’s 65th minute goal gave Sheffield Wednesday a 1-0 victory at The Amex.

Non-league side Hartlepool United’s trek through the FA Cup came to an end despite an early lead, falling 4-1 to Oxford United. Mark Kitching gave Hartlepool the lead inside the opening 10 minutes, but a quickfire pair from Robert Hall and Shandon Baptiste after halftime saw Oxford survive and advance before tacking on another two late for good measure.

Reading and Blackpool will require a replay after a 2-2 draw that saw Blackpool twice throw away a goal advantage. Cardiff City completed a two-goal comeback at home to force a replay with Carlisle United.

Southampton secure crucial win, beat Norwich

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SOUTHAMPTON — Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s Southampton beat Norwich City 2-1 at St Mary’s Stadium as the hosts held on for a vital win in a proper relegation battle.

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Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand put Saints 2-0 up and they totally dominated the game until Teemu Pukki struck to set up a nervy finish.

Southampton did hold on to secure back-to-backs wins for the first time since March, which have propelled Southampton out of the relegation zone as they now have 15 points. Norwich remain in 19th are now four points below Southampton.


3 things we learned

1. Local lad Ings on fire: Danny Ings is one of their own, and he is their best hope of staying up this season. Ings has scored 10 goals this season and after a terrible run of injuries, he is fit and firing. Ings grew up a few miles from St Mary’s and he has now scored in Saints’ last four PL games, as they face Newcastle, Villa and West Ham next. If he can keep this run going, Saints can start looking up the table and away from the bottom three.

2. Hasenhuttl’s anniversary celebrated with high press: It has been one year since Hasenhuttl took charge of Southampton and there have been lots of ups and downs. His anniversary was celebrated with the way he wanted to play, as Saints pressed Norwich high in the first half and that won them the game. Hasenhuttl then made smart subs, just like he did in the big win against Watford, to see out the game. The Austrian continues to learn how to do get it done as Saints’ back-to-back wins marked his one-year in charge in style.

3. Cantwell and Pukki are Norwich’s best hope: Cantwell’s runs caused Saints problems and the one decent chance Pukki had he finished it. Norwich’s two stars from this season almost grabbed them a point, but it was too little too late for Daniel Farke‘s men who played without the attacking panache they’ve showed throughout this season.

Man of the Match: Danny Ings – He ran Norwich ragged in the first half and set the tone for Saints’ front line. Ings is on fire, is clinical and aside from his scoring he sets the trap for their high-press. He is Southampton’s talisman.


Southampton started well as they pinned Norwich back but Kenny McLean had the first real chance of the game but he dragged a shot just wide.

At the other end Shane Long was causing problems as his header was on target and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg took an age to shoot when running through on goal.

Southampton took the lead as James Ward-Prowse‘s free kick was flicked in at the near post by red-hot Ings to send St Mary’s wild.

Before the break Norwich tried to get back into the game with Todd Cantwell pulling the strings but at the other end Moussa Djenepo fired just over for Saints. Ings had a shot deflected wide for a corner before the break as the home side continued to look the more dangerous. They doubled their lead from that corner as Long flicked the ball on to Bertrand who made it 2-0.

Hojbjerg forced Tim Krul into a fine stop before the break as the hosts dominated the first half.

At half time Norwich made a double change with Marco Stiepermann and Alex Tettey coming on for Ibrahim Amadou and Tom Trybull as Canaries boss Daniel Farke try to spring his side into life.

A massive moment in the game arrived as Shane Long was clearly pushed in the back by Max Aarons but no penalty kick was given and VAR wasn’t used.

Norwich improved as Pukki came into the game and forced Alex McCarthy to save, then Ings smashed a volley inches wide of the far post.

Pukki then buried his first chance of the game as one ball from Tettey carved open the Southampton defense and the Canaries were back in it.

Cedric smashed a shot on goal which Krul saved as Saints tried to hit Norwich on the break with Nathan Redmond also going close, but the Canaries were dominant in the final minutes of the game.

Sam Byram lashed wide late on as Southampton held on for a vital three points which secured wild scenes at the final whistle.

Crystal Palace beat battling Norwich

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Crystal Palace beat a spirited Norwich City side 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday, as goals in each half from Luka Milivojevic and Andros Townsend did the damage.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Without several injured played Norwich made it tough for Palace, but Roy Hodgson‘s side had a little more quality when it mattered most.

With the win Palace move on to 11 points for the season, while Norwich have six.


3 things we learned 

1. Eagles fly out of the traps: Roy Hodgson’s men came flying out of the traps and set the tone for this win. They are up to ninth in the PL table and have won three of their first seven games. That is a very good return for a team many thought would struggle after losing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and almost seeing Zaha follow him out of the door. Palace are solid and if they can stay lucky with injuries they will be pushing for a top 10 finish.

2. Injuries hitting Norwich hard: When Michael McGovern, third-choice goalkeeper, is coming on early in the second half you know Norwich have problems. Daniel Farke‘s men have been hit hard by injuries and this is holding them back. They were brave and both Pukki and Cantwell went close to scoring in the first half, but couldn’t

3. Zaha back to his best: Wilfried Zaha had a tough summer and didn’t end up leaving Palace, but he finally looks ready to step up and lead the Eagles up the table. Zaha was a constant threat against Norwich and set up Townsend for the second goal with his tireless running. Zaha was our  Man of the Match and when he plays this well, Palace can match anyone in the PL.


Wilfried Zaha was causing all kinds of problems out on the right flank as Norwich struggled to cope with his trickery and pace.

Ralf Fahrmann then saved from Jordan Ayew as the Eagles came flying out of the traps.

A real moment of controversy then arrived as VAR checked a penalty decision from Jon Moss.

James McArthur turned in the box and was brought down by a sliding challenge from Ibrahim Amadou, as a VAR check confirmed Moss’ decision.

Milivojevic, so reliable from the spot, slammed home the penalty kick into the top corner to put Palace ahead.

Moments after the penalty was scored Fahrmann had to come off and Norwich were down to third-choice goalkeeper, Northern Ireland international Michael McGovern.

Teemu Pukki broke free after a long ball forward and his powerful shot from a tight angle was tipped over by Vicente Guaita. Norwich were almost level just before the break as Todd Cantwell was found in the box but Martin Kelly slid in and blocked his goalbound shot on the line. Marco Stiepermann almost picked out Pukki as the Canaries improved drastically following a shaky start.

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In the second half Norwich had a few chances on the break and hung into the game until late on.

Zaha’s runs down the left were causing big problems and he weaved past several defenders before setting up Townsend for the clincher in stoppage time.

2-0 win at home. Zaha dazzling.

Textbook Palace.