Live Coverage of FA Cup: Chelsea’s Quest for a Second Wembley Journey; James Maddison’s Return to Tottenham Poses Challenge for Man City
When Maidstone United faced Steyning Town in the FA Cup second qualifying round last September, little did anyone anticipate that it would mark the beginning of a journey propelling them into the national spotlight. The magic of this competition lies in its ability to transform seemingly ordinary fixtures, like the one against Steyning Town, into extraordinary tales.
Now, six games later, Maidstone United is set to face Ipswich Town, with aspirations of achieving a giant-killing feat. Led by former Wolves player George Elokobi, the National League South side currently holds the distinction of being the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition.
Reaching the dizzying heights of the FA Cup fourth round would have seemed like an unattainable dream for a club that faced closure in 1992 and had to rebuild from the Kent County League Fourth Division. The journey back has been a steady ascent, witnessing the emergence of talents like Warren Barton and Chris Smalling. The pinnacle was reached with promotion back to the National League in 2016, although last season’s relegation to the sixth tier interrupted their trajectory.
Despite the setbacks, the club has persevered with the influential figure of Elokobi and found success in the ongoing competition. Now facing the formidable Ipswich in the Championship, many expect the Maidstone story to conclude here. However, in the realm of the FA Cup, renowned for its ability to produce astonishing outcomes, one can’t help but wonder – could they pull off the unexpected?
Can Calvert-Lewin Rediscover Form in Upcoming Everton vs Luton Clash?
This Saturday at 3 pm, Everton, led by manager Sean Dyche, will temporarily shift their focus from the uncertainties surrounding their Premier League status to pursue a spot in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
With an impressive track record in recent FA Cup matches at Goodison Park, Everton has secured victories in 11 of their last 14 home games in the competition. Just 10 days ago, they triumphed against Crystal Palace, setting the stage for this weekend’s home fixture against Luton Town.
Luton Town, under Rob Edwards, has positive memories of their travels to Merseyside, notably securing their first Premier League victory back in September. Despite Everton’s 2-1 loss that day, Dominic Calvert-Lewin managed a consolation goal. However, this remains the striker’s only goal this season in front of the home crowd. Will this upcoming match provide Calvert-Lewin with the opportunity to regain his scoring form?
With the January headlines predominantly focused on a second PSR charge, the challenges faced by Calvert-Lewin in returning to form after two inconsistent seasons have somewhat slipped from the spotlight.
Despite missing his 10th significant opportunity in the goalless draw against Aston Villa, manager Dyche resisted calls to sideline the 26-year-old in the subsequent match against Palace. This decision may reflect the assessment of his alternatives, Youssef Chermiti and Beto.
While Calvert-Lewin has gone 14 consecutive games without scoring, a drought extending back to October, his recent overall performance showed encouraging signs. The majority of a capacity Goodison crowd is likely hoping that Dyche’s persistent support for his primary striker eventually pays dividends.