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Worthington Cup First Stage Round-Up
By: Richard Lord
THIS WEEK's Worthington Cup first round threw up some surprise results, including great wins for Brighton, Brentford, Torquay and Rochdale. Possibly the shock of the round was Rushden and Diamond's success at Turf Moor, Burnley.
Bottom of the football league side Torquay ensured that they are in the draw for the second round on Saturday after beating Bournemouth away 2-0. Third Division newcomers Rushden and Diamonds found pulled of the shock result of the round and found triumph at Burnley, with a fine 3-2 victory. Ex-Mariner Tony Ford proved that at the age of 42 he can still score the goals, and on Tuesday night he scored the one that sent Rochdale through at Huddersfield.
Colchester are surprising everyone with their early-season form as they beat Portsmouth 2-1 at Fratton Park. Roy Evans' Swindon also won away against Division 1 opposition Wolves, who knocked Grimsby out of last year's competition. Wycombe were undone at home against Third Division Bristol Rovers, putting an end to any beliefs of more cup exploits at Adam's Park. Hull also showed their potential by beating Division 2 Wrexham 3-2 at the Racecourse Ground. Both Norwich and Wimbledon were victims to Second Division opposition.
Just Managed It!!!
However, there were some struggles in the first round. Grimsby narrowly edged the local derby fixture against Lincoln, scoring two late goals to steal the win. Blackpool eventually managed to see off stiff competition from Wigan (3-2), and Oldham won on penalties at Stoke after former Grimsby defender Peter Handyside was shown the red card in a 0-0 game.
Avoided The Banana Skin
All in all, there were 12 teams who avoided proverbial. Included in that list are Notts Forest (2-0 win over Hartlepool at Victoria Park), Sheffield Wednesday (3-1 victory at Gigg Lane, Bury) and Crystal Palace (4-2 victory at Brisbane Road, Orient). Crewe and West Brom were taken to penalties at York and Cambridge respectively, but both First Division teams showed their experience to win the spot kick competition. Preston came close to a penalty shoot-out, but were saved by an extra-time goal to win 3-2 at Kidderminster. Rotherham, Peterborough, Gillingham, Notts County, Sheffield United and Walsall all avoided defeat away to lower-league opposition.
Despite all of the cup shocks of the first round, there were some more conventional scorelines, such as Barnsley's 2-0 win over local rivals Halifax; Bristol City's defeat of Cheltenham 2-1; and Watford's 1-0 victory over Plymouth. Bradford, Millwall, Stockport and Birmingham all eased their way through to the second round, as did Northampton, Port Vale, Reading and Tranmere.
It means that in the draw for the Worthington Cup second round there will be 13 Premiership teams, 19 Division 1 teams, 13 Division 2 teams and 5 Division 3 teams - 50 teams in all. After the second round is completed, it leaves 25 teams, with the additional 7 Premiership teams to be added to that in the third round.
The winners of last year's competition (Liverpool) and the top 6 Premiership teams to finish last season don't enter the competition until the third round. However, because Liverpool were included in the top 6, it has now become the top 7, hence just 13 Premiership teams entering the hat for the second round draw. Coventry and Manchester City will also be included in the second round draw, which will be made live on Saturday at 12:40 on ITV1.
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