Vie. Feb 23rd, 2024

Sammie Szmodics scored twice as the second-tier Blackburn Rovers came from behind to beat lowly Wrexham 4-1 on Monday and secure an FA Cup fifth-round clash with the Premier League’s Newcastle United.

Andy Cannon fired Wrexham of League Two ahead in the 19th minute, but the Championship side replied with two more first-half goals in the space of two minutes.

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Szmodics equalised in the 32nd minute and Sam Gallagher made it 2-1 in the 34th with Wrexham goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo caught out of position.

Szmodics then grabbed his second, and fifth of the FA Cup campaign, in first-half stoppage time before Norwegian midfielder Sondre Tronstad made it 4-1 with a deflected shot in the 59th.

Blackburn’s Danish manager Jon Dahl Tomasson, a former Newcastle player, told BBC television the Cup always held dangers for a side like his against lower opponents.

«We started really well, could have been 2-0 up after five minutes and then we conceded a goal. But the players stayed calm and we scored three brilliant goals after that and dominated the game. It was a great win,» he said.

Cannon’s goal was Wrexham’s first real chance of the night and he blasted the ball past goalkeeper Aynsley Pears to a roar from the 7,000 Wrexham fans who had made the trip to Blackburn’s Ewood Park.

Pears denied Cannon a second with a fine double save three minutes later but there was to be no fairytale finish for the Welsh side as Blackburn turned up the heat and swept the visitors aside.

Wrexham have won a new global support since movie A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took over and helped secure their return to the English Football League last season after a 15-year absence.

Those with longer memories will know Wrexham as past giant-killers, famously dumping then-league champions Arsenal out of the third round of FA Cup in a huge 1992 upset as fourth-tier opponents.

In 1974, as a third tier side, they reached the quarterfinals.

«It’s a great lesson for us against better quality opponents. You’ve got to be switched on all the time or you get punished, and they punished us tonight,» said Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson, who was serving a touchline ban. «Tonight wasn’t the night for us but we’ll concentrate on the second part of the season in the league.»

Wrexham are currently second in League Two and chasing a second successive promotion.

FA Cup holders Manchester City booked their place in the fifth round last Friday with a 1-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur.

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