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Gritty Aston Villa and West Brom dig in to progress FA Cup campaigns

By Tim Rich

Published 20/01/2016

Victory roar: Ciaran Clark celebrates his goal for Villa
Victory roar: Ciaran Clark celebrates his goal for Villa

Premier League duo Aston Villa and West Brom both negotiated their way into the fourth round of the FA Cup against lower league opposition, although neither found the task in their respective replays straightforward.

Remi Garde's men needed a 75th-minute Ciaran Clark header and a second goal from midfielder Idrissa Gana - his first for the club - at the death to see off League Two Wycombe 2-0 at Villa Park, while Salomon Rondon's lone strike was enough to put the Baggies through in a tight encounter at Championship Bristol City.

Villa's reward is a home tie with Manchester City, while West Brom will entertain League One Peterborough.

Marc McNulty, meanwhile, scored one goal and made another as Portsmouth stunned 10-man Championship club Ipswich with a 2-1 replay win at Fratton Park.

Two goals in five first-half minutes from Ipswich old-boy Gary Roberts and McNulty booked League Two Pompey a fourth-round date with Premier League neighbours Bournemouth.

It was a notable scalp for the 2008 winners who went close to knocking Ipswich out in the initial tie at Portman Road.

The opening goal came in the 32nd minute when Roberts tucked away from the spot.

Piotr Malarczyk tripped McNulty in the box - the first of two yellow cards on the night -and Roberts did the rest.

It was then McNulty who doubled the lead. The striker met Gareth Evans' brilliant inswinging cross eight minutes before half-time and planted a firm header beyond Bartosz Bialkowski.

Ipswich's hopes of a comeback began on the hour-mark as Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles got them back into it.

The winger curled in a brilliant 25-yarder to give his side hope. But those hopes were dashed when Malarczyk was sent off late on for a second yellow card for fouling Roberts.

It is the first time Pompey have reached the fourth round in six years; that year they went on to lose to Chelsea in the final.

MK Dons will also entertain top-flight opposition - in their case Chelsea - after disposing of League Two Northampton 3-0.

Penalties from Northern Ireland's Ben Reeves and Simon Church either side of Josh Murphy's strike earned the win.

The comeback of the night came at the Madejski Stadium in an all-championship clash between Reading and Huddersfield with Matej Vydra's hat-trick cancelling out and then overhaulling the 2-0 lead into which the Terriers raced after just 15 minutes. Reading's reward is a home tie with League One Walsall.

Goalkeeper Ian Lawlor was the hero as 10-man Bury secured a fourth-round spot after beating Bradford 4-2 in a penalty shootout at Valley Parade after a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes.

Lawlor kept out spot-kicks from Steven Davies and Devante Cole to secure Bury a meeting with Championship side Hull.

Belfast Telegraph

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