Tom Ince makes Huddersfield’s Premier League pedigree count at Birmingham | Football

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Tom Ince makes Huddersfield’s Premier League pedigree count at Birmingham | Football
Tom Ince makes Huddersfield’s Premier League pedigree count at Birmingham | Football


Tom Ince, right, scored in extra-time to cap Huddersfield Town’s win.






Tom Ince, right, scored in extra-time to cap Huddersfield Town’s win.
Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

David Wagner is looking for success in the FA Cup to offer a fillip in the Premier League even if José Mourinho’s Manchester United may hardly be quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing Huddersfield, having beaten them 2-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Three extra-time goals allowed Huddersfield their second win in 11 games as their seemingly inexorable plummet down the elite table has been accompanied by the consolation, and the opportunity, of a place in the last 16 of the Cup. Their passage would have been secured much sooner had it not been for the agility and bravery of the Birmingham goalkeeper David Stockdale who made several excellent saves as Huddersfield came on strong as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes.

Huddersfield beat United at home in October but the harsh realities of the Premier League have since bitten hard. Wagner saw Tuesday night’s victory – any victory – as a platform “to build momentum for the Premier League”, with Bournemouth due at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday, and having at least one more fixture to play as no headache. “No, it’s something we have worked hard for,” he said. “To play Manchester United at home in the fifth round of the Cup is never a distraction. The whole city will get behind us.”

Huddersfield were criticised for their aggressive treatment of Alexis Sánchez at Old Trafford but Wagner said they would not hold back in the reunion a week on Saturday. “If he’s on the grass then we will try and defend,” he said. “If it means he’s sometimes too quick then you have to foul him. It’s the last thing we want to do but it happens.”

Steve Cotterill, with his improving Birmingham team having gained 16 points from their last seven Championship games, made seven changes from the side that beat Sheffield Wednesday to move four points above the relegation zone and the prospect of Sunday’s trip to Villa Park will soon resharpen their focus.

“We didn’t need that, going into extra time,” Cotterill said. “But I couldn’t be prouder of them. I’m confident in our team because we’ve been playing well. It doesn’t matter who’s favourites [for the approaching derby].” After Marc Roberts’ own goal had cancelled out Che Adams’ opener, the decisive goals came in the first period of extra time as Huddersfield’s increasing dominance belatedly reaped dividends.

Firstly Steve Mounié, Huddersfield’s scorer in the initial tie, headed in at the far post from Scott Malone’s excellent left-wing centre. It was the Benin striker’s sixth goal since signing from Nimes for £11.5m last summer.

Then Rajiv van La Parra passed the ball into an empty net as it rebounded from Stockdale after Tom Ince had been bundled to the ground when running in on goal. It was Ince who fired home in the first minute of the second half of added time leaving everyone with the feeling that so cold was it, the referee, Paul Tierney, should be allowed to blow the final whistle very early.

Rajiv van La Parra ensures Huddersfield’s victory with their third goal against Birmingham City.



Rajiv van La Parra ensures Huddersfield’s victory with their third goal against Birmingham City. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

Huddersfield are so desperate to avoid returning to the Championship, and Birmingham so desperate to stay in it, their managers changed more than half their players for challenges more important than the battle to land a home tie with United.

The number of changes in personnel contributed to a stop-stop opening first half. Birmingham broke through when Lukas Jutkiewicz headed down a long ball to his strike partner. Adams took a touch to control the ball before turning and firing in his sixth goal of the season from the edge of the penalty area.

But Huddersfield found their stride and when Ince fired goalwards from 25 yards, his shot was so powerful Stockdale could only palm the ball upwards and, as it squirmed back towards the line, the last touch appeared to belong to Roberts for an own goal.

Henderson takes Rochdale into fifth round

Rochdale set up a fifth round meeting with Tottenham or Newport County after a narrow 1-0 win over the Championship side Millwall in difficult conditions at Spotland on Tuesday night.

Having been signed before the stalemate last Saturday, Tim Cahill was still unavailable to the Millwall manager Neil Harris and the visitors were fortunate to go in level at the break. A smart finish from Ian Henderson after good work from Calvin Andrew eventually broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second half.

Rochdale’s Andy Cannon forced a save from Dave Martin as they looked to seal the victory and Millwall struggled to create any chances of note as the League One side reached the last 16 for the first time since 2003. Guardian sport



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