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Page last updated at 19:59 GMT, Saturday, 12 March 2011

Saturday football as it happened

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

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By Chris Bevan

1954: And this is where I say cheerio. Thanks for keeping me company, and make sure you join Sam Lyon on Sunday for the remaining Cup quarter-finals and Cardiff versus Barnley in the Championship. I will be in touch from the Britannia Stadium too but, for now, adios. Oh, but before I go, remember to watch the Football League Show at 2350 on BBC One and this website. Bye!

1948: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Gunners defender Johan Djourou will be sidelined for the rest of the season with the shoulder injury he sustained in his side's FA Cup defeat by Manchester United. On the game itself, Wenger added: "They were much more clinical, we have had a very difficult week. The team will recover from that and refocus."

FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal
Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from Old Trafford: "Manchester United piled on the agony for Arsene Wenger as Arsenal's rapidly-deteriorating season took another blow."

FULL-TIME Birmingham 2-3 Bolton
Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Bolton scraped into the FA Cup semi-finals after they ended the brave challenge of an injury-hit Birmingham side in an exciting tie at St Andrew's."

1942: Almost time for me to wrap. Before I do, here's how our reporters saw today's FA Cup action....

1940: By the way, on that note here is some good news for Stoke fans - if it is true, anyway. West Ham's prolific striker Demba Ba revealed on his website earlier today that he won't be involved against the Potters. He has removed the article now, though, so make your own minds up.

1936: Two more FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday of course. I am at Stoke versus West Ham (1400 GMT), before Manchester City take on Championship side Reading (1645 GMT). In between those ties is the semi-final draw, at about 1605 GMT. Bolton and Manchester United are already in the hat, but who will join them?

1934: Yep, unfortunately that Johan Djourou injury makes a disastrous day for Arsenal even worse. More news on him when we get it, but the early signs are he is going to be out for a few weeks.

From yet another anonymour Arsenal fan via text: "I genuinely don't know how much more of this I can take! Worst news of the day - Johan Djourou's injury. Not lost a Premier League game with him in the side, terrible loss. Quite want to cry."

From Gutted Gooner, via text: "It's time us Arsenal fans admit that we wont win anything with dead wood such as Rosicky, Diaby and Bendtner. Frustration year after year!"

From another anonymous Arsenal fan via text: "Have to disagree with thetwotailedfox - we had 18 attempts, 11 on target. Van der Sar can't play for all our remaining opponents."

OptaJoe on Twitter: "27 - Manchester United have made it through to their 27th FA Cup semi-final; more than any other side. Devils."

1927: So, Sir Alex Ferguson got it right again - his team selection may have raised a few eyebrows but ended up with the right result. At least Arsenal can take some encouragement out of this tie, though, from the number of chances they created. If Edwin van der Sar had not been in such tremendous form then things might have been different.

From anonymous Arsenal fan via text: "Two cup defeats with Birmingham's Ben Foster and now Van der Sar man of the match! When are we going to come up against a keeper like ours?"

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar on his side's FA Cup quarter-final win over Arsenal: "It was a very good performance. I had to make some saves but we got our goals at good times and defended well. Will he definitely retire in the summer? "Yes."

TheTwoTailedFox on Twitter: "If Arsenal win the title after this, it will be a miracle."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester United head to Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final and Arsenal are in danger of heading towards another empty-handed season unless manager Arsene Wenger can arrest a slide that has seen the Gunners slip out of three competitions in less than a fortnight. Desperation for Wenger."

1914: FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal

1913: Well, at least you cannot accuse this game of petering out. Javier Hernandez meets Antonio Valencia's cross in front of goal but Manuel Almunia makes a fine save.

1911: I really cannot believe how Paul Scholes is still on the pitch. He lunges in rashly and dangerously again, this time on Samir Nasri and that HAS to be a second booking, at least. Referee Chris Foy - ridiculously - decides it is only worth a talking to. A terrible decision.

1909: A miserable night for Arsenal continues. Bacary Sagna, who has got forward well tonight, sends over a low cross for Tomas Rosicky, who is all alone at the near post. He has time to take a touch, but misses the ball completely.

Yellow card
1908: Paul Scholes is packing a lot in to this cameo appearance, sliding in wildly on Marouane Chamakh. Nasty, and a deserved booking.

1907: Paul Scholes, having just played in Ryan Giggs with a sublime pass, repeats the trick to send Wayne Rooney clear... but Rooney snatches at his shot and drags the ball wide.


1905: There will be eight minutes of stoppage time. This game ended some time ago, though, unless Arsenal have got something very special up their sleeves.

1905: Kieran Gibbs tries a shot from the left-hand corner of the area but it is more in hope than anything else - United had plenty of men between him and their goal and it is easily blocked. Just the Premier League for them to go for after today, by the looks of things. The big question for the Gunners is how will they react to going out of three trophies in two weeks?

1901: We are back under way, but Arsenal - down to 10 men and 2-0 down - are all but out of this season's FA Cup. There are three minutes of the 90 left, but there should be at least five minutes of stoppage time because of the delay caused by Johan Djourou's unfortunate injury.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Time running out for Arsenal here - although their noisy travelling support continues to live in hope. Unless there is a dramatic turnaround this has been a desperate fortnight for Arsenal. They have continued to press, however, and Edwin van der Sar has been much the busier keeper, but all to no avail for Arsene Wenger."

1900: Johan Djourou was on the floor, having slid in on Javier Hernandez, when Bacary Sagna ran into his arm and popped it out of its socket. He is being given oxygen as he is stretchered off.

1859: The Old Trafford medical staff are taking a lot of care as they move Johan Djourou and prepare to stretcher him off. In the meantime, United have made a change. Paul Scholes is on for Patrice Evra.

1855: United have been pressed back for the last few minutes but now they break with breathtaking speed. Wayne Rooney runs on to a Ryan Giggs ball and then crosses for Javier Hernandez, but his deflected shot is kept out - just - by Manuel Almunia. Still, trouble for Arsenal. Bacary Sagna ran into Johan Djourou as they tried to clear and it looks like Djourou has dislocated his shoulder. Very painful, and Arsenal will be down to 10 men as they have used their three subs.

1854: Another good stop by Edwin van der Sar, scrambling across his line to keep out Tomas Rosicky's drive from the edge of the box. This time, the Dutchman spills the ball back into the danger area but Marouane Chamakh fouls Nemanja Vidic as he tries to reach it first.

rodedra6 on Twitter: "Typical from both sides. Arsenal playing well but unable to score. Man Utd not playing their best but find themselves 2 up."

1852: When Arsenal have created chances, they have found Edwin van der Sar in unbeatable form. This time, Bacary Sagna's cross finds Marouane Chamakh, who directs his header downwards. Van der Sar, again, does brilliantly to push it away.

1849: Lots of possession by Arsenal but not much of a threat, until Jack Wilshere gets involved. He picks up the ball, drives forward and exchanges passes with Robin van Persie before bursting into the area, but can only shoot into the side-netting.

1848: Yep Aaron Ramsey is on, along with Tomas Rosicky. Andrey Arshavin and Abou Diaby are off. Ramsey has seen loan action with Cardiff and Nottingham Forest this season but this is his first action for Arsenal in the current campaign.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1846: A sniff for the Gunners but they need to do a lot better. Jack Wilshere lifts the ball over the United defence and Marouane Chamakh beats Nemanja Vidic to it, but sees his looping header drop on to the top of the bar. Edwin van der Sar was there to save it had he needed to.

1845: Another player who has been out for a long time with injury, Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey, is about to come on for Arsenal, who have just 20 minutes left to save themselves now.

1844: Marouane Chamakh lets fly from the edge of the box but United keeper Edwin van der Sar is down quickly to make the save looks easy. Is he really 40? Anyway, at the other end, Wayne Rooney shows some lovely control to bring down a high ball forward, then sees his shot from the left deflected just wide.

1842: Ryan Giggs should really have just made it 3-0 you know. Chris Smalling heads Antonio Valencia's cross back across goal but the ball drops just behind Giggs, and by the time he controls it, Arsenal have enough men back to clear the danger.

1839: Twelve years on from that memorable solo goal in the FA Cup against Arsenal that helped United go on to win the treble, Ryan Giggs is on for United, replacing Rafael.

1838: This is much more like it from Arsenal. Bacary Sagna has space on the right of the edge of the area but his whipped cross is blocked by Nemanja Vidic. Still, the Gunners continue to press, and Robin van Persie's curling shot from 25 yards out is only a couple of inches away from dropping into the top corner.

1837: ... it is Robin van Persie who takes it, but drives his shot straight at the wall and then heads the rebound straight at Edwin van der Sar.

1836: Half-an-hour left at Old Trafford. As things stand, Manchester United will join Bolton in the FA Cup semi-finals. Arsenal are going to have to throw the kitchen sink at this game to change that round. They could start with this free-kick. Samir Nasri is behind it, 30 yards out...

1835: Thanks for your suggestions for teams made up of the same player by the way (see 1809). Scott Parker, Mario Balotelli, Peter Schmeichel and Mick McCarthy are some of the more interesting ones! Back at Old Trafford, Arsenal have made a change - Marouane Chamakh is on for Denilson.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Old Trafford finds its voice as Wayne Rooney's header doubles Manchester United's lead and takes them closer to an FA Cup semi-final appearance at Wembley. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has suffered so much disappointment in the last fortnight, span around in total despair as the ball went in."

1833: Wes Brown's weak defensive header falls for Samir Nasri, who smashes his first-time shot down into the Old Trafford turf. It still has zip on it as it bounces up but Edwin van der Sar is across to save.

1830: Arsenal try to go direct but Nemanja Vidic pulls a long ball out of the air and stops it falling for Jack Wilshere. United are back in possession, and go back on the attack.

1827: Is there any way back for Arsenal now? Time is on their side - they have got 35 minutes left of the 90 - but they have one heck of a task in front of them.

Mark Lawrenson at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 Live: "If I were Arsene Wenger, I'd go for it now. It doesn't matter how many you get beaten by in the FA Cup - he has to take a few risks to try and get back in this."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Man Utd goal: Just when Arsenal were threatening, United deliver a crushing blow. Rafael surges forward into the box and sends over a low cross towards Javier Hernandez at the near post. His shot is blocked but Wayne Rooney is first to the loose ball, and flicks a header across goal that flies past Manuel Almunia and creeps inside the far post. A superb instinctive finish.

1824: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal (Rooney)

1822: I'm not sure what Laurent Koscielny is doing so far forward but he has just gone very close to levelling. His cross is blocked but the ball comes back to the Arsenal defender and his angled drive is brilliantly tipped around the post by Edwin van der Sar.

RetroGirl on Twitter: "Re 1809. Quite frankly, you'd SERIOUSLY never beat a team of 11 Des Walkers."

Whistle
1820: United get the second half started. Arsenal have got 45 minutes to salvage this tie... otherwise, another trophy bites the dust.

1820: Here's a welcome sight. Antonio Valencia is coming on for United, replacing their goalscorer Fabio. This is his first game back after six months out with a horrific ankle injury. No changes by the Gunners.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish on his side's FA Cup exit, which denies the Carling Cup winners a return to Wembley: "Our lads, despite the problems we had with injuries, put in a magnificent effort. You couldn't ask for more in terms of commitment and effort. But we were a bit sloppy with the goals. When your back four changes, they may not gel straight away and it was evident with the first and third goals.

D_Whitehead on Twitter: "Re 1809. One of my all-time favourite football questions! 11 Michael Essiens would be hard to stop I think."

OptaJoe on Twitter: "0 - Arsenal are behind at HT despite having more shots (6-3) & attempting more passes (328-191) than Man Utd in the first half. Frustration."

Bolton boss Owen Coyle on his side's FA Cup quarter-final win over Birmingham that takes them to Wembley: "We are into the semi-final of the best domestic competition in world football. It is a terrific achievement. (Bolton goalkeeper) Jussi Jaaskelainen said to me, 'gaffer, I've waited 12 years to get to this - Wembley in the FA Cup'. It is nice when you have players of that calibre really cherishing those occasions. But what you want now is to progress to the final."

ArsenalAbroad on Twitter: "Again, here we are. Arsenal having most of the ball, but no final product. Diaby/Denilson such a waste"

1809: I take back what I said about Wayne Rooney going in goal - a few of you have reminded me of those video clips of him showing off his skills between the sticks. So, here's a question... would a team of 11 Wayne Rooney's be good enough to win the World Cup. And if not him, is there anyone else you would clone to do it?

Mark Lawrenson at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think because of Manchester United's defensive set-up we expected them to perhaps struggle - but they've been better than Arsenal, though that isn't saying much. Arsenal have been extremely lifeless and Man Utd deserve their lead."

olileech on Twitter: "Utd goal could be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal, now they can concentrate on the league - every cloud has da Silva lining."


Very good that.

Half time
1804: HALF-TIME Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal
Phil McNulty's HT snapshot from Old Trafford: "Sir Alex Ferguson will be satisfied with how a reshuffled Manchester United team has coped and lead at half-time. Arsenal must find some snap from somewhere otherwise they will be concentrating on the Premier League - although one or two signs of a response as the interval approached."

1803: Better by Arsenal - and an end-product too. Although their initial attack breaks down when Robin van Persie miscontrols on the edge of the box, he wins the ball back and gives it back to Samir Nasri, who cuts inside from the left and fires a shot through Wes Brown's legs. Edwin van der Sar has to get down low at his near post to save.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Arsenal are seeing plenty of possession but until those two moments from Robin van Persie had done little with it. Not a game that had the feel of an FA quarter-final until Fabio's goal. Arsene Wenger looks a frustrated man - and no wonder."

1759: Not much momentum from Arsenal coming forward at the moment. Denilson's control lets him down as he latches on to Andrey Arshavin's slipped pass in the area, and United clear. We are into the final four minutes of the first half.

From Andy in London, via text: "Chris, Watching Rooney dropping deep like that and making the goal - how about having him as the new creative force in United's midfield, now he's lost his youthful zip (i.e. got a bit fat)."


Not sure I would call Rooney 'fat' myself! But he is the sort of player who is so combative and comfortable on the ball that he could play almost anywhere. Well, apart from in goal anyway.

From Edd in Cambridgeshire, via text: "I was about to comment on how Denilson has done very well so far... Then he shows how he's earned the nickname 'the Jogger'. Again casually strolling back and leaving the space for Rooney in front of the back four for United's goal."

1753: Oof! That's a hearty tackle by Wayne Rooney on Bacary Sagna. I think he felt that! The United striker got the ball, mind, so nothing wrong with it.

1752: That goal needs to be a wake-up call for Arsenal and they have responded well. Edwin van der Sar does well to get a hand on Robin van Persie's diagonal drive which is heading into the bottom corner of the net. From the resulting corner, Van Persie gets to the ball first at the near post but directs his header well wide.

1748: Another chance for United, and for Fabio. Wayne Rooney bends in a cross from the left and Fabio times his run into the area to perfection to meet it. Sadly for the Brazilian, he gets his header all wrong and actually sends the ball looping away from goal.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Man Utd goal: Out of nothing, United are ahead. Fabio feeds Wayne Rooney about 30 yards out, who lifts a superbly-weighted ball towards Javier Hernandez, who has peeled off his defender at the far post. Manuel Almunia pushes away the Mexican's acrobatic strike but the ball drops into the path of Fabio, who slides in to turn it into the empty net.

1746: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal (Fabio)

From pessimistic Gunners fan via text: "Arsenal dominating at the moment - which points to only one result, we'll soon be out of a third competition in only two weeks!"


Hmmm, Arsenal are not exactly dominating... so is that better news?

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Not much in this so far although Rafael should have scored from his brother Fabio's cross. Arsene Wenger gesturing angrily in the technical area on a couple occasions - clearly demanding Arsenal show more urgency in possession going forward."

1742: OK, 25 minutes gone and we are still waiting for this tie to spark into life. Robin van Persie has a pop from about 30 yards out for the Gunners, but Edwin van der Sar is behind it and makes a comfortable save.

1741: Arsenal run into a dead end as they try to attack down the middle of the pitch so bring Bacary Sagna into things again down the right. He produces a better cross this time but Robin van Persie, at the near post, cannot get anything on it. Chance gone.

1739: Another Arsenal cross, with Bacary Sagna sending it over from the right. Chris Smalling launches himself at the ball to head clear. That was routine enough but from what I have seen of him in recent weeks I have to say he looks a player, doesn't he?

Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "Man Utd have never lost any of previous 4 matches with Rafael and Fabio in their starting XI - 2 wins, 2 draws."

Mark Lawrenson at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 Live, describing that Rafael chance: "Oh he's got to score, he's got to. He's got ahead of his marker, he's got his head on it… he's got to get it on target at least."

1734: Arsenal want a free-kick when Patrice Evra clips Samir Nasri's ankle in the right-hand corner of the pitch... but referee Chris Foy plays an advantage and United clear.

1731: United, perhaps unsurprisingly when you consider their line-up, have not looked very fluent in the first 15 minutes but they have just had a great chance to snatch the lead. Darron Gibson brought the ball forward and fed Fabio on the left. He curled over a delicious cross for his twin but Rafael headed over from the edge of the six-yard box. A bit of a waste.

1729: Lots of crosses from Arsenal so far, but all of them have been dealt with comfortably by United keeper Edwin van der Sar and his defence. Having said that, Van der Sar promptly throws the ball straight to Andrey Arshavin. Very generous, that. Arshavin shoots wide from distance.

Mark Lawrenson at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 Live: "Arsenal's passing is very good, as you'd expect, but for me they could just do a little more to stretch Manchester United. They're taking an extra touch here and there when it's not necessary. A bit more zip needed from them, for me."

joshkdavies on Twitter: "Arsenal have already had more shots than on Tuesday night. Good start!"

1725: United are pressing Arsenal whenever they get possession, whether it is in the middle or out wide. The Gunners are still playing some nice stuff though, especially a raking cross-field pass by Jack Wilshere for Kieran Gibbs.

1722: It looks like there will be a big battle fought in midfield today - the tackles are flying in already. United do not want Arsenal to settle on the ball, but they cannot stop the Gunners playing it out to Samir Nasri on the right. Nasri sends over a decent cross too, but there is no-one there to get on the end of it.

1721: Arsenal also threaten. Andrey Arshavin weaves inside from the left and plays a one-two with Samir Nasri. Arshavin gets to the return, and gets away his shot too, but it is from a tightish angle and does not have the power to trouble Edwin van der Sar.

1719: United are first to attack. Rafael gets forward well down the right and, when Arsenal fail to clear, cuts inside to shoot. His effort is blocked but the ball falls for Javier Hernandez inside the box. His effort whistles across the face of goal but he is offside anyway.

Whistle
1717: We are off. Arsenal get us started.

From Joe in Bournemouth, via text: "I've never seen a worse Manchester United midfield."

Football League Macca: In L1, Huddersfield move into the auto promo slots, but Bournemouth slide down to fifth after losing to Southampton. Leaders Brighton are sitting pretty eight clear with a couple of games in hand on some of their rivals. In L2, the leaders Chesterfield slipped up at Crewe but the rest of the top six failed to take advantage. Gillingham move up a slot while, at the bottom, Barnet won away for the first time since early January. The great escape is on...

Football League Macca: "So QPR are the big winners of the day as they go 10 points clear in the Championship. Millwall complete a fine week with a 3-0 win at Burnley, while Hull, Leicester and Watford all did their outside play-off hopes a power of good. Not much joy for the boys at the bottom as Palace, Sheff Utd and Scunny all lose."

1713: Here come the players at Old Trafford. Kick-off? Just two minutes away.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "I'm not always in favour of playing the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley but they are there and we don't want to miss out."

1710: Not so long ago, Arsenal were hoping for a quadruple. Lose tonight and they will only have the Premier League to go for as they look to end their six-year trophy drought.

_JosephFoster on Twitter: "I really don't want to watch that Man Utd team, 7 defenders and the "creative" spark Gibson in the middle."

EA_Shouren on Twitter: "Don't forget Fabio and Rafael were both Cafu/Carlos style 'fullbacks' in Brazil... could be interesting!"

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on what he expects from Manchester United in their FA Cup quarter-final: "They always play always against us with a very tight midfield, try to put pressure on us from midfield, and in December (in the Premier League) they had only Wayne Rooney up front, so I think they always set up against us to defend well. However, I wouldn't say they are scared. They have no reason to be scared because they have enough experience."

1704: And now for the main event. There's no other way to describe any clash between Manchester United and Arsenal is there? It starts in just over 10 minutes.

Man Utd v Arsenal line-ups
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Rafael Da Silva, Gibson, O'Shea, Fabio Da Silva, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Kuszczak, Berbatov, Giggs, Scholes, Valencia, Obertan, King.
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs, Denilson, Diaby, Wilshere, Arshavin, van Persie, Nasri. Subs: Shea, Rosicky, Ramsey, Squillaci, Clichy, Eboue, Chamakh.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1659: By the way, on the bench for Manchester United today is Antonio Valencia, returning from that horrendous ankle injury sustained against Rangers in September. It will be good to see him back in action.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Watford goal: That's the icing on the cake for the Hornets. Ross Jenkins heads home a John Eustace from six yards out - that's not the same Ross Jenkins who played for the Hornets in the 70s by the way. Watford's other scorers today? Graham and Taylor.

1655: The final whistle blows at Loftus Road - QPR have seen off Crystal Palace with ease and will be 10 points clear at the top of the Championship tonight.

Football League Macca: "It's turning into a bad day for the Shrews, who have been in decent form. Torquay 5-0 up as Ian Sharps puts into his own goal. Peterborough have gone one better with six against Carlisle. Southampton are down to 10 men but 3-1 up at Bournemouth. Leyton Orient took the lead three mins from time at Oldham. Crewe 2-0 up against Chesterfield, Sam Baldock has hat-trick for MK Dons, who lead 3-1 at Colchester, and Brentford ahead at Brentford in the dying stages. Lincoln are dampening Southend's play-off hopes while Barnet are 2-1 up at Hereford."

1654: It is all over at Elland Road, where Ipswich have held Leeds. And Hull have beaten Coventry to set a club-record of 14 away games unbeaten. Not a bad run, that.

1654: GOALFLASH Watford 3-0 Sheff Utd (Jenkins)

1652: It looks like Nottingham Forest's winless streak is going to continue but some consolation for them that Swansea are still losing and Leeds are being frustrated. Not the first time in the last few weeks that several promotion-chasing sides in the Championship have dropped points on the same day.

MAN UTD v ARSENAL TEAM NEWS
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford reports:
"A few quizzical glances at the Manchester United team-sheet - and perhaps a look towards Tuesday's Champions League game against Marseille at Old Trafford from Sir Alex Ferguson. He picks seven defenders, although Fabio and Rafael are expected to play wide as supply line for Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez. No Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal but a strong line-up with Robin van Persie included."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the County Ground: "A few home fans are starting to leave. This has suddenly become a very bad day for Swindon after Jon Nurse's deflected effort levels for the Daggers. This would be a decent point for the visiting team though."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Millwall goal: Burnley's afternoon gets even worse. Andros Townsend, who set up Paul Robinson for Millwall's first goal, has just scored their third himself, firing into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from inside the area.

1647: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-3 Millwall (Townsend)

1645: Things have fizzled out at Loftus Road. QPR still only lead 2-1 but they are in complete control against Crystal Palace and look like they will extend their lead at the top of the Championship tonight.

BREAKING TEAM NEWS FROM OLD TRAFFORD
Manchester United line up with seven defenders in their starting XI - it appears Fabio and Rafael will play on either wing. Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez start up front. Arsenal, without the injured Cesc Fabregas, pick a strong line-up with Robin van Persie on his own up front.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the County Ground: "Swindon desperately trying to find the second goal that will settle the nerves of all the home fans here. Tony Roberts brilliantly palms clear a curling effort from Matt Ritchie and then stops a Scott Cuthbert header from the subsequent corner. Very tense here at the County Ground."
1639: About 10 minutes left at Pride Park, where Swansea are still pressing hard for a leveller. Leeds, meanwhile have brought on Luciano Becchio and Barry Bannan against Ipswich, but seem to have lost a bit of attacking momentum.

Football League Macca: "It took them a while but L1 leaders Brighton are on their way to a win at home to Tranmere through a Chris Wood penalty and a Glenn Murray goal. Southampton have come from behind to lead at Bournemouth, who have fallen to fifth. MK Dons are 2-1 ahead now at Colchester, Hartlepool have a second against Plymouth, Peterborough a fourth against Carlisle and Torquay likewise at home to Shrewsbury."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Leicester goal: Game over. Eddie Nolan fouls Darius Vassell outside the box, Paul Gallagher dummies a free-kick and Kyle Naughton smashes it into the bottom left-hand corner.

1635: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 0-3 Leicester (Naughton)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Leicester goal: A peach of a cross by Paul Gallagher is headed home by Miguel Vitor, for his second of the game. Leicester have breathing space - Scunthorpe have a lot of work to do.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Millwall goal: Another cross, another Paul Robinson header, and the Lions are looking very good for the three points against one of their rivals on the fringe of the Championship play-offs.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Swansea goal: Swansea are starting to show some fight at Pride Park as sub Darren Pratley heads the Welshmen back in the game. The midfielder, out-of-favour with boss Brendan Rodgers, heads Angel Rangel's right-wing cross home to half Derby's two-goal lead. Since then, Stephen Dobbie and Scott Sinclair have also gone close.

1631: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 0-2 Leicester (Vitor)

Football League Macca: "Jake Robinson, on loan at Torquay, has just grabbed two goals in three minutes against Shrewsbury, his parent club. He may not be welcome back. In L1, MK Dons have levelled at Colchester. Oxford are winning at Port Vale and Wycombe are trailing at home to Stevenage."

1630: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-2 Millwall (Paul Robinson)

1629: Leeds are completely on top against Ipswich but they just cannot break the deadlock. Rob Snodgrass, Jonny Howson, Andy O'Brien and Billy Paynter have all had chances in the last few minutes - none of them have found the net. Still 0-0.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Watford goal: No way back for nine-man Sheffield United now, surely. Adam Thompson's header is tipped on to the bar by Blades keeper Steve Simonsen and Martin Taylor is in the right place to bundle home the rebound.

1626: GOALFLASH Derby 2-1 Swansea (Pratley)

1625: GOALFLASH Watford 2-0 Sheff Utd (Taylor)

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the County Ground: "Jonathan Douglas goes close for Swindon with a very long-range free-kick that Tony Roberts saves, but in general the Daggers have been on top since the restart. These are very nervous times for most of the fans inside the County Ground."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Derby goal: Derby midfielder Steve Davies rises above a statuesque Swansea defence to head in Conor Doyle's right-wing corner. Easy as that. The stuggling Rams are threatening to turn the form book upside down against the second-placed Swans at Pride Park. Four of the top six in the Championship are playing today, and only QPR are winning.

OptaJoe on Twitter: "12 - Crystal Palace have now given away the most penalties in the Championship (12) & QPR have won the most (12). Expected."

1621: Coventry are pressing hard for an equaliser against Hull and have just had a couple of efforts cleared off the line. Richard Wood is the latest Sky Blues player to be denied.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
QPR goal: Heidar Helguson steps up to roll home the spot-kick and restore QPR's lead. Very cool that. But Palace fans are not happy with the decision - they have chucked loads of plastic bottles on to the pitch.

1615: GOALFLASH QPR 2-1 Crystal Palace (Helguson)

Red card
1616: QPR got their penalty when Palace skipper Paddy McCarthy pulled back Adel Taarabt in the area. McCarthy also got sent off - it looked harsh.

1615: GOALFLASH Derby 2-0 Swansea (Steve Davies)

1614: PENALTY to QPR

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Millwall goal: Burnley had been dominating at Turf Moor but they are behind. Paul Robinson gets on the end of an Andros Townsend corner.

1612: GOALFLASH Burnley 0-1 Millwall (Paul Robinson)

1608: Scunthorpe keeper Josh Lillis flings himself across his goal to keep out Paul Gallagher's free-kick. Still just one goal in that one. At Elland Road, Johnny Howson has hooked over a volley from a deep Rob Snodgrass cross. No goals at all there, yet.

1607: We saw six first-half goals (and two red cards) in our nine Championship games. I reckon we can do a lot better than that in the next 45 minutes or so, don't you?

1603: Right, we are back under way at Elland Road... and at the rest of the grounds in the Football League too.

Half time
1600: HALF-TIME Derby 1-0 Swansea
Peter Shuttleworth's HT snap-shot:
"Derby County's work-rate and energy, in the image of their captain Robbie Savage, has not been matched by the Championship's second-placed Swansea. Brendan Rodgers' visitors have been uncharacteristically lacklustre - epitomised by Ashley Williams' comical own goal which gives relegation-threatened Derby the half-time edge."

MAN UTD v ARSENAL (1715 GMT)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford reports:
"Manchester United and Arsenal meet in the FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford in the middle of traumatic times for two clubs fighting it out for the Premier League crown. United will be trying to get their season back on course after damaging league defeats at Chelsea and Liverpool while Arsenal have had to cross two trophies off their list of targets after losing to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup Final and going out of the Champions League in Barcelona."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Sir Alex Ferguson pulls no punches in his programme notes for today's FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal at Old Trafford - with former England manager Graham Taylor and Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish in the firing line after recent refereeing controversies at Stamford Bridge and Anfield. He writes: "I was disappointed with Graham Taylor who wrote 'I had to take the rough with the smooth'. I think back to when he was England manager and was complaining to a linesman: 'The referee has just got me the sack.' "People have short memories. Kenny Dalglish looked to be lecturing me in the papers about the need to respect referees, perhaps forgetting not so long ago his players were tweeting critically all over the place about Howard Webb." Sounds like he's up for the fight."

Football League Macca: "Hull, Leicester and Watford all on the way to giving their play-off hopes a push today, leading at half-time. Peterborough are cruising in L1 as they lead Carlisle 3-0 now. Huddersfield still lead lowly Bristol Rovers 1-0 and are up to second, while the rest of the top six are drawing or losing. Gillingham are beating Accrington now, while at the bottom, Yeovil have levelled against Walsall. Barnet are back on level terms at Hereford so it's as we were at the bottom of L2. The leaders Chesterfield trail at Crewe, whose play-off hopes could be rejuvenated with three points."

funtimeharesy on Twitter: "Hull City might be looking at 14 games unbeaten away from home in the Championship. Journeymen."

Half time
1554: HALF-TIME QPR 1-1 Crystal Palace
Marc Vesty's HT snap-shot:
"QPR have enjoyed the lion's share of possession at Loftus Road but just when it looked like they were going to run riot against their London rivals James Vaughan nicked what could prove to be a vital goal for Crystal Palace."

OptaJoe on Twitter: "2 - Sheff Utd are the only side to have been given 2 red cards in a Championship game this term; and they have done it twice. Undisciplined."

Half time
1553: HALF-TIME Leeds 0-0 Ipswich
Sam Lyon's HT snap-shot:
"Luciano Becchio watches on from the bench as Billy Paynter wastes a host of chances for promotion-chasers Leeds - but Ipswich are playing their part in a decent game."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the County Ground: "A cracking finish from on-loan Mike Grella as the American lobs veteran Daggers keeper Tony Roberts to put Swindon in front at the break. It is the first goal since Paul Hart took charge and the first time the Robins have been ahead in a game in more than 1,200 minutes of football."

1551: They are heading in for the break at QPR-Palace now too, with Rangers probably wondering how they are not ahead. There is one game still going on, mind - Watford versus Sheffield United where there was a ton of time to be added on.

1549: Right, I make it half-time everywhere now... apart from Loftus Road.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Crystal Palace goal: The QPR defence are caught napping as James Vaughan latches on to Darren Ambrose's through-ball just inside the area and slots in the equaliser for Crystal Palace completely against the run of play.

1547: The match at Pride Park is turning into the Ashley Williams show. After the Swansea defender's comical own goal, Williams has headed Jamie Ward's close-range header off the line and the Wales international also rattled Derby keeper Frank Fielding's crossbar. That means the Rams still lead 1-0, even though Scott Sinclair has also gone close to prodding home an equaliser. However that game ends up, make sure you watch Williams' og on The Football League Show tonight at 2345 GMT on BBC One and this website. It was a cracker.

1544: A decent chance for Leeds at Elland Road as Billy Paynter rises unmarked to get on the end of a short corner routine, only to glance his header wide from eight yards out. He should have done better there.

BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson at the City Ground: "Only Forest trying to play any football right now, but you can tell they're short on confidence after recent poor form. Nervy."

1542: GOALFLASH QPR 1-1 Crystal Palace (Vaughan)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Leicester goal: Miguel Vitor slides in to convert a Paul Gallagher cross at the back post and put the Foxes ahead.

Red card
1540: It gets worse for Sheffield United, who have just had Lee Williamson sent off - quite harshly I'm told - for a foul on Lloyd Doyley and are now down to nine men. It's not all good news for Watford, though, Lee Hodson was stretchered off with a suspected broken leg after being injured in the challenge that earned Darius Henderson his second booking. Both he and Williamson are former Watford players by the way.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Hull goal: Aaron McLean, who was a trainee at Leyton Orient when I covered the O's a decade ago, has gone on to forge a fine career for himself after dropping out of the Football League to join Grays. He meets a Matty Fryatt lay-off and slams home his first-time shot.

1535: GOALFLASH Coventry 0-1 Hull (McLean)

Football League Macca: "A big goal for Walsall from Jonathan Macken as they leapfrogg opponents Yeovil as well as Daggers and out of the dropzone in League One. Craig Mackail-Smith got his 26th of the season to put Peterborough 2-0 up against Carlisle. Plymouth have been on a decent run of late but they're behind at Hartlepool. Notts County have not won away from home in the league since 1 January but they lead at Sheff Wed."

Red card
1532: Gulp. Look away if you are a Blades fan. More bad news for Sheffield United, who have just had Darius Henderson sent off for a second booking. Micky Adams' side still trail 1-0 against Watford too.

1532: GOALFLASH Scunthorpe 0-1 Leicester (Vitor)

1530: Dave Kitson has just missed a great chance to put Portsmouth in front against Middlesbrough, latching on to a David Nugent pass but seeing his shot cleared off the line. We have had another goal elsewhere in the Championship though...

OptaJoe on Twitter: "19 - Adel Taarabt has now assisted 19 goals in the Championship this season; nine more than any other player. Silks."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the County Ground: "Swindon on top now - and should be ahead but David Prutton could not convert a one-on-one. Still, as one fan sat near me commented 'at least we're going the right way now'. Expectations, perhaps, are not all that high."

1525: Chances at both ends at Elland Road, Billy Paynter steering George McCartney's cross wide when well placed inside the box for Leeds, before Ipswich break and Lee Martin forces home keeper Kasper Schmeichel into a smart stop with a low shot. Decent game that one, but no goals yet.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
QPR goal: Moments after that near-miss, the same players link up, and this time the Championship leaders do find the net. Heidar Helguson slides in at the back post to convert Adel Taarabt's low cross.

1522: GOALFLASH QPR 1-0 Crystal Palace (Helguson)

1522: QPR are getting closer, though, Adel Taarabt the architect this time as he whips over a vicious cross which is missed by millimetres by Heidar Helguson on the back post.

1521: Hmmmm, to be honest, I expected more goals in the Championship than we have seen so far. Twenty minutes gone and Watford and Derby are the only teams to have notched.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Watford goal: Hornets' goal-machine Danny Graham now has 20 league goals for the season after reacting first after Blades keeper Steve Simonsen cannot hold a fierce long-range shot.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Swansea goal: Disaster for Swansea who gift Derby the opener through Ashley Williams' mis-placed back-pass after good Rams pressing catches goalkeeper Dorus De Vries cold... the ball rolls over the line despite the Dutchman desperate attempt to retrieve it. A goal of pure comedy, except the Welsh side are definitely not laughing.

1514: GOALFLASH Watford 1-0 Sheff Utd (Graham)

1512: Better by Leeds, who have just gone close through Max Gradel. And another goal at Dean Court, where Lee Barnard has fired Southampton level.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the County Ground: "A very bright start by Dagenham & Redbridge, who are wearing green. They have won a succession of early corners, while in contrast Swindon look very, very nervous. Make no mistake, this is a must-win fixture for the Robins."

1510: GOALFLASH Derby 1-0 Swansea (Williams og)

1509: Sorry folks, there are a few technical issues affecting the speed of our updates today. Bear with me, though...

1507: There HAS been a goal at Dean Court, though, in the big South Coast derby between Bournemouth and Southampton. Lauri Dalla Valle has put the Cherries ahead.

1506: Ashley Williams has just missed a golden chance to put Swansea ahead at Derby, heading over from a few yards out, and Tamas Priskin has gone close for Ipswich at Leeds, firing wide after just 13 seconds. No goals anywhere in the Championship yet, though.

1503: The first Football League goal of the day was always going to come at London Road, wasn't it. Tommy Rowe has put Peterborough ahead against Carlisle... and I would wager there will be a few more there today - they have now scored 52 goals in 12 home league games - the next highest in League One are Bournemouth and Brighton with 40.

Whistle
1501: We are just about to kick-off at Loftus Road... and are under way pretty much everywhere else.

oliverhj84 on Twitter: "Quite happy for Coyle. Not long ago he was at Burnley and people questioned him moving to Bolton. Now he's going to Wembley!"

BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson en route to City Ground for Forest v Doncaster with his dad (although he might be there by now): "Wouldn't swap being me for anyone else in the world right now. Feels like a defining day. Win, and second is still a possibility. Lose, and play-off place in serious jeopardy. Gotta love the Champo."

1456: Not long to go until today's Football League action gets started. I will give you goalflashes and info from the Championship and Football League Macca will chip in with news from everywhere else. You want more? Give this page a manual refresh and, if you are in the UK, you will be able to watch Final Score too.

DERBY v SWANSEA TEAM NEWS
Peter Shuttleworth reports:
"Second-placed Swansea hope to inflict more Pride Park misery on struggling Derby County and reignite their own Premier League promotion push. The Swans, without a win in two Championship games, have not lost a league game to Derby since 1986 and remain unchanged following their midweek draw with Watford. Derby's tough task looks more difficult as Nigel Clough's men have not won at home since 20 November but the Rams recall captain Robbie Savage, Alberto Bueno and Steven Davies."

LEEDS v IPSWICH TEAM NEWS
Sam Lyon reports:
"Luciano Becchio again has to settle for a place on the bench as Leeds boss Simon Grayson keeps faith with the XI that beat Preston last time out, with Billy Paynter again leading the line. Kieron Dyer goes straight into the Ipswich side for his debut following his arrival from West Ham, starting alongside Jimmy Bullard and Tamas Priskin who both return to the starting line-up."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the County Ground: "Unmistakably, spring is in the air in Swindon. I'm not sure that the same cannot be said for a sense of optimism. The Robins are bottom of the League One table as new boss Paul Hart faces his third six-pointer in eight days since taking over at the Wiltshire club. So far his record is drawn one, lost one; that must change against Dagenham & Redbridge if Swindon are to start moving up the table."

Football League Macca: And in L2, we have second-placed Bury going to Rotherham, in fifth, and play-off hopefuls Torquay hosting auto promo-chasing Shrewsbury. At the very bottom, Stockport desperately need a win at home to relegation rivals Burton if they are to retain hopes of avoiding the drop.

Football League Macca: "In League One, there's a tasty little south coast derby between Bournemouth and Southampton. The Cherries have not hosted their local rivals in a league game for over 50 years. It's tight at both ends of the table and Bristol Rovers host third-placed Huddersfield as they look to continue their mini-revival."

QPR v CRYSTAL PALACE TEAM NEWS
Marc Vesty reports: "QPR
boss Neil Warnock makes two changes to the side which went down 2-0 at Millwall in the week with Fitz Hall and Tommy Smith coming in for Danny Shittu and Akos Buzsaky. Rangers were hit with FA charges this week over the signing of Alejandro Faurlin in 2009 but the Argentine midfielder starts. Crystal Palace boss Dougie Freedman sticks with the same XI that beat Cardiff 1-0 last time out."

Football League Macca: "The Footy League is living the dream: no Premier League or FA Cup means a few hours in the spotlight. Who will be the stars? The all-London affair between QPR and Palace takes top billing in the Championship, but with 10 games or so to go there are plenty of promotion and relegation issues bubbling away."

1443: Plenty more going on today though. Another Cup quarter-final between Manchester United and Arsenal at 1715 GMT but, before then, let's switch our attention to the Football League.

1441: What a cracking cup-tie. Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did folks. Bolton are the first side to book their FA Cup semi-final place - they are going to Wembley. They look quite pleased about it too.

Full time
1440: FULL-TIME Birmingham 2-3 Bolton

1439: Mark Davies is limping off. Referee Phil Dowd has to add on another minute or so once play restarts... which it just has. Birmingham are going to give the ball back to Bolton.

1438: There will be a bit more time, though, because Bolton midfielder Mark Davies is down and having treatment on the edge of his own area.

1437: We will have four minutes of added time at St Andrews. We have already had three of them.

1436: Almost another equaliser for Birmingham. Almost. Cameron Jerome bursts into the box and gets to the by-line before firing over a low cross but Matt Derbyshire, under pressure, cannot turn it in at the near post.

Bolton goal: Late drama at St Andrew's. David Wheater's free-kick is easily cleared but the ball is soon clipped back into the Birmingham area and Kevin Davies heads it back across goal for Chung Yong Lee to nod home from six yards out and restore Bolton's lead in the 90th minute.

1434: GOALFLASH Birmingham 2-3 Bolton (Chung Yong Lee)

1433: Pressure from Bolton with Stuart Holden and Martin Petrov both putting over dangerous crosses. Then Kevin Phillips brings down Mark Davies, and Bolton have a free-kick about 30 yards out in a central position.

1431: No chances to tell you about since that sensational Kevin Phillips strike. If the score stays the same, there will be a replay at the Reebok Stadium on Tuesday 5 April. A long time to wait, but there is an international break to factor in.

dkondonis on Twitter: "That was a beauty by Phillips, class."

theneverlution on Twitter: "High on drama and excitement and an amazing atmosphere. Tell the fans it doesn't matter. A proper cup tie. I love the FA Cup."

1427: Seven minutes of the 90 left and Birmingham make their third change. Striker Matt Derbyshire is on for full-back David Murphy - Blues boss Alex McLeish wants to settle this one today.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Birmingham goal: He may be 37 but he still knows where the goal is. Curtis Davies heads a Bolton clearance straight back in the opposite direction and Kevin Phillips is first to the bouncing ball on the edge of the area to cleverly lift the ball over a helpless Jussi Jaaskelainen. A top-drawer finish by the veteran marksman. Replay here we come?

1424: GOALFLASH Birmingham 2-2 Bolton (Phillips)

1423: Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen has been a busy man recently, and he is involved again here, battling Curtis Davies to reach a ball which has been hoisted into the Bolton box. He cannot catch it, but Davies clattered him in referee Phil Dowd's eyes, and that is a free-kick.

1420: Bolton are not done yet either. Kevin Davies flicks on a long ball and Ben Foster has to be quick to get off his line and reach the ball before Johan Elmander. Wanderers keep up the pressure, however, and moments later Elmander fires in a shot from the edge of the area. Straight at Birmingham keeper Ben Foster.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1415: So close to the equaliser. Kevin Phillips collects the ball on the edge of the area and runs away from goal before slamming a diagonal shot towards the opposite corner of the net. Jussi Jaaskelainen (who I had in goal for Birmingham a minute ago!) gets his fingers to it and tips in on to his right-hand post. A fabulous change of direction and strike by Phillips, and a superb save.

1413: It's fast and frantic at St Andrew's now. Here come Birmingham...

Someone has won a penalty
Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Bolton goal: Oh dear. Curtis Davies does his best to make sure that Birmingham fan James (below) does not have to worry about getting married on Cup final day. The Birmingham defender tries to shepherd a bouncing ball back to his keeper Ben Foster but Kevin Davies bustles him off the ball, and Curtis Davies bundles him over as he tries to win it back. Kevin Davies picks himself up to hammer the resulting spot-kick right down the middle of the goal. About 20 minutes left for Birmingham to try to equalise again.

1410: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-2 Bolton (Davies pen)

1409: PENALTY to Bolton

1408: Having just said Birmingham are the better side, Bolton have just had their best attack of the half. Chung Yong Lee was involved and Kevin Davies did get the ball in the net, but he was clearly offside.

1407: Birmingham are looking the better side at the moment, and they are almost in front. Seb Larsson swings in a corner, David Murphy gets the touch but Chung Yong Lee is on the back post to hack the ball clear off the line.

1405: A double change by Bolton boss Owen Coyle. Mark Davies and Chung Yong Lee are coming on, Ivan Klasnic and Fabrice Muamba are going off.

1404: A huge decision for referee Phil Dowd. Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen dashes off his line to close down Cameron Jerome as he runs on to Nathan Redmond's through-ball and appears to send Jerome tumbling in the right-hand corner of the area. Birmingham want a penalty but Dowd (and his linesman) say no. Replays show he is right, too, because Jaaskelainen got his toe on the ball first.

1401: Liam Ridgewell is down on the floor because he just got Ivan Klasnic's arm in his face. No intent by the Bolton striker, though, and Ridgewell is fine to continue.

1359: Step-overs from Nathan Redmond this time, and he sends over a lovely cross from the right too. Cameron Jerome tries to get on the end of it but only succeeds in running into Gary Cahill.

1357: A big shout for a penalty for Bolton when Curtis Davies handles a dropping ball in the box. No doubt about the handball, but referee Phil Dowd reckons Wanderers defender Gary Gahill caused it by pushing his Blues counterpart... and gives a free-kick the other way. Bolton boss Owen Coyle makes his feelings on the decision clear and Dowd has to run over to calm him down.

pedro_blanco on Twitter: "James could have the reception at the Wembley Arena too."

1355: I like the look of Nathan Redmond, Birmingham's teenage midfielder, who is not afraid to run at defenders. The 17-year-old gets down the right-hand side of the box here and reaches the by-line but his cross into a crowded box is blocked and cleared.

LEEDS v IPSWICH (1500 GMT)
Sam Lyon reports:
"The last time Ipswich visited Elland Road they came away with a draw that all but relegated Leeds to League One. Today they return with United three points off the Championship's automatic promotion spots and Town still looking over their shoulder at the drop zone despite an upturn in fortunes since Paul Jewell's arrival. Kieron Dyer's Ipswich return provides a neat sub-plot, but today's main interest surrounds Leeds' push for a second successive promotion - and as the Championship's top scorers and form home team, they start the game as firm favourites. Expect goals."

QPR v CRYSTAL PALACE (1500 GMT)
Marc Vesty reports:
"With 10 Championship games to go, these two London sides have two very different concerns. QPR can almost smell the delights on offer at the top table of English football. The season-long table-toppers are seven points clear of third-placed Norwich and are unbeaten in seven home games. In contrast, Crystal Palace are four points off the relegation zone and have not won away in 12 attempts. It's the league's best home record against the worst away one. Foregone conclusion? Not a bit."

Leaver17 on Twitter: "I think James should get married at half-time at Wembley... best of both worlds then."

1351: More direct football folks. Kevin Phillips hoofs the ball upfield but David Wheater deals with the bouncing ball very calmly on the edge of his own area as Blues striker Cameron Jerome bears down on him.

Whistle
1349: Birmingham get the second-half started.

From James in Solihull, via text: "I'm kind of worried about Blues doing well in the FA Cup. Part of me thinks we need to concentrate on the league and part of me is concerned that stupidly I'm getting married on Cup final day. Don't think I'd get away with a trip to Wembley that day! But then again... "


Poor planning there James. Not sure how you would get out of that one... anyone got any ideas?

JRAsh1 on Twitter: "Hope it stays 1-1. With the threat of replays being scrapped, this could be the last chance! Let's have four quarter-final ones!"


I think there are at least eight managers who would definitely disagree with that wish...

1341: Right, so our first FA Cup quarter-final of the weekend is firmly in the balance at the break. By the way, if you have been trying to use the Twitter link on the right of this page, I am the REAL Chris Bevan! Not sure who that other guy is...

OptaJoe on Twitter: "1 - Birmingham City have won just one of the previous seven games that Cameron Jerome has scored in. Hex."

Half time
1333: HALF-TIME Birmingham 1-1 Bolton
Mandeep Sanghera's HT snapshot: "If there's one thing this season is proving, it's that you just can't write Birmingham off. Their patched up side have fought back to level terms against a Bolton side who aren't showing much of the passing game they have developed under boss Owen Coyle."

1331: We will have two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half at St Andrew's.

1331: Kevin Davies collects a long ball and tries to run at the Birmingham defence, but again the ball bobbles away from him. It is Birmingham who are looking more dangerous at the moment and David Murphy almost found Jean Beausejour with a whipped cross from the left.

Adam_Clatworthy on Twitter: "Good finish by Cameron Jerome... I can't believe I just typed that!"

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Birmingham goal: Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was lucky to get away with a pointless dash from his line to cut out a long ball a few moments ago, but he can do nothing about this. Cameron Jerome gets up to flick on a long ball and, when David Wheater can only hack the ball straight back to his feet, Jerome buries a low shot between Jaaskelainen and his right-hand post. We are all-square again.

1324: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-1 Bolton (Jerome)

chris1ian on Twitter: "Bolton need to tie Elmander down with a new contract asap. Massive player for them."

1322: Other than the goal, there hasn't been a lot of quality in this game - too many long balls and furious midfield battles for much to shine through. About 10 minutes to go until the break, and Bolton still lead 1-0.

1320: A clever turn by Kevin Phillips starts a dangerous-looking Birmingham attack and he feeds Jean Beausejour out on the left, who sees his shot deflected out for a corner... which Bolton clear.

OptaJoe on Twitter: "2 - Bolton Wanderers have won both of the two FA Cup games that Johan Elmander has scored in before today. Treble?"

1316: Nope, Barry Ferguson is coming off now too. Nathan Redmond, who has just turned 17, is on instead. Fair to say the first half-hour of this game could have gone a lot better for Birmingham.

1315: Liam Ridgewell does not take long to make an impact - almost a disastrous one. He barges into Kevin Davies in the box, and that coule easily have been a penalty, a point Davies makes to referee Phil Dowd.

1314: But the Blues have been forced into a change. Martin Jiranek, who picked up an ankle injury earlier, is having to come off. Liam Ridgewell is on instead.

1312: It looks like Barry Ferguson is going to carry on, for now.

1310: More problems for Birmingham. Barry Ferguson, who is playing despite a broken rib, is off and having treatment on his right knee. Play continues though.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Bolton goal: A fairly simple one this. Fabrice Muamba wins the header, Ivan Klasnic flicks it on, and Johan Elmander slams home a fierce drive from the edge of the area. A great finish.

1307: GOALFLASH Birmingham 0-1 Bolton (Elmander)

Yellow card
1306: Our first booking of the afternoon. Birmingham try to break through Kevin Phillips, but he is fouled by Gretar Steinsson.

1305: Bolton's best move of the mach so far. Stuart Holden surges forward and plays a one-two with Ivan Klasnic outside the box. Holden collects the return and he is through on goal, but his control is poor and the ball runs through to Ben Foster.

1304: A sight of goal for Bolton too, with Martin Petrov slamming a first-time shot against Stuart Parnaby after the ball bounces into his path on the edge of the area. There are shouts for handball from Wanderers fans, but Parnaby had turned his back on the ball and could not exactly get out of the way of it, even if it did hit his arm.

1301: Better from Birmingham, who at least try to knock it about neatly near the right-hand side of the Bolton penalty area but they are not really getting anywhere and, when Stuart Parnably's dummy catches team-mate Cameron Jerome unaware, Wanderers are able to clear.

1300: Re 1250, I don't think this pitch is going to help anyone who wants to pass the ball either. Which is possibly why both sides are lumping it forward at every opportunity.

1258: Birmingham have a free-kick after Jean Beausejour is fouled out on the left. Seb Larsson whips it in and Curtis Davies is up to try to get on the end of it, but Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen collects comfortably.

1255: Another corner for Birmingham. Seb Larsson bends it in, but Bolton clear their lines without ever looking like they were going to counter-attack with any purpose. We have had a scrappy old start to this one.

1253: The last thing Birmingham need is another injury. Lucky then that Martin Jiranek is back on his feet after lengthy treatment, and able to continue.

1250: Fabrice Muamba has a pop from the edge of the area, but doesn't really get hold of it. Still, it bobbles goalwards and Blues keeper Ben Foster has to make an awkward-looking save. This pitch is not going to help either goalkeeper today.

1249: A couple of corners for Birmingham, one crossed in and one played short. Bolton clear both. If you are at St Andrew's did you bring your bucket and spade? There more sand on this pitch than some beaches.

1248: Bolton keeper Jussi Jaskelainen boots a clearance up field and it is flicked on, twice, into the path of Martin Petrov on the edge of the area. He swings that left foot of his at it, but Birmingham have got enough players back to clear the danger.

Whistle
1246: Here we go. Bolton get us started.

From Lee, Bolton fan at work, via text: "Stuck in the office, sun shining, Owen Coyle's got this one covered! Man Utd in final, come on you Whites!"

1242: Right, here come the players... emerging from the tunnel at a very noisy St Andrew's. There are a fair few empty seats there too, though.

From anonymous Bolton fan, via text: "Been a Bolton fan too long to be over-confident but dreaming of doing it for Sir Nat."


Yep, Bolton reaching Wembley would be a fitting tribute to Trotters legend Nat Lofthouse, who died aged 85 in January. Lofthouse led the line when Wanderers last won the Cup, in 1958, when he famously shoulder-barged Manchester United keeper Harry Gregg over the line for his side's second goal in a 2-0 win.

Milton_OG on Twitter: "Re 1211. Please leave the FA Cup as it is!"

Bolton boss Owen Coyle on his side's prospects in their FA Cup quarter-final against Birmingham: "We are away from home but we come here feeling very positive. We have a real go at everything and we always look to attack. We have to do that again today, against a very good side. It's going to be tough but we are looking forward to it. We love the FA Cup, which is the best national cup competition in the world, and we want to go as far as possible in it."

1233: Just over 10 minutes until kick-off at St Andrew's. Not heard much from Bolton fans yet - 4,000 of you have travelled to the midlands... how are you feeling? Confident?

Denning52 on Twitter: "Blues let us down in the FA Cup quarter-finals last season, surely this year will be the one year we get it right."

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish on the changes he has made for today's FA Cup quarter-final: "I can't take risks and everyone out today has got a genuine complaint. I could not have played them because I cannot risk being without people like Roger Johnson for six or seven games with muscle injuries. Today is a test of strength of my squad - but these players showed spirit in early rounds of the Carling Cup when they came in and that is why I am really positive about our chances."

BIRMINGHAM v BOLTON TEAM NEWS
Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Birmingham make five changes from the midweek league draw at Everton. Veteran striker Kevin Phillips and midfielder Barry Ferguson, who was a doubt with a rib injury, start, along with defenders Stuart Parnaby, Curtis Davies and David Murphy. Bolton make just one change from the win over Aston Villa last time out as striker Ivan Klasnic replaces the cup-tied Daniel Sturridge."

dandelacour on Twitter: "I feel a Bolton win coming, Birmingham players will have one eye on relegation worries which will disrupt their chances"

OptaJoe on Twitter: "3 - Birmingham City have lost their last three FA Cup QF ties, losing their last at St Andrews 0-7 to Liverpool in March 2006. Scarred."

1218: A popular suggestion for reviving the Cup is to hand out a Champions League place to the winner. There are plenty of reasons why this seems a good idea - it would get the interest of every Premier League manager for a start - but there is a big potential drawback. If a weaker top-flight team does qualify for Europe through that route and is knocked out early, it would reduce England's coefficient for the competition and (if it happened repeatedly) possibly see the Premier League lose one of its four CL places. Your thoughts?

1216: You lot need to play your part today too of course. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, ask me a question direct @chrisbevan_bbc or text me via 81111 (UK).

1214: If you are in the UK, give this page a manual refresh because Football Focus is about to start. Ex-Birmingham midfielder Robbie Savage is on this week, presenting a feature on his old club.

BIRMINGHAM v BOLTON (1245 GMT)
Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Birmingham are showing a penchant for knockout football this season. They've already celebrated Carling Cup glory and of four wins in the last seven at home, three of those victories have been in cup matches. Whether they can continue their cup form will be tested as they nurse a lengthy injury list and have a Premier League relegation fight on their minds. An in-form Bolton will be hoping to capitalise. The four-times FA Cup winners last lifted the trophy in 1958 and have won four of their last five games."

1211: We may as well get used to FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley - they are signed up until 2036 after all - but there is plenty of debate at the moment about what changes can be made to the world's oldest knockout competition (TM), with the Football Association themselves floating a few ideas about. How does scrapping replays, introducing seedings and having midweek rounds sound to you?

Birmingham v Bolton line-ups
Birmingham: Foster, Parnaby, Davies, Jiranek, Murphy, Larsson, Ferguson, Mutch, Beausejour, Phillips, Jerome. Subs: Doyle, Ridgewell, Gardner, Derbyshire, Redmond, Ozturk.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Wheater, Robinson, Elmander, Holden, Muamba, Petrov, Kevin Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Bogdan, Taylor, Mark Davies, Moreno, Blake, Alonso, Lee.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1207: Birmingham versus Bolton (at 1245 GMT) and Manchester United against Arsenal (1715 GMT) are our two last-eight games today, as well as a job-lot of Football League action at 1500 GMT when the absence of Premier League/Cup games will allow us to take a closer look at a few Championship fixtures - how does QPR v Crystal Palace, Leeds v Ipswich and Derby v Swansea sound to you? Football League Macca will be across everything else. And I mean everything.

1202: Afternoon all. So, are you up for the FA Cup? I bloomin' well hope so. It's quarter-final weekend, meaning - that as wrong as it sounds - Wembley is just one win away.



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The FA Cup results

12 Mar 2011 23:59 UK


see also
Saturday's football photos
12 Mar 11 |  Football


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