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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 01:00 GMT
Arsenal cruise through
Arsenal players (from left) Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell and Francis Jeffers celebrate Campbell's opener
Pires and Vieira congratulate scorers Campbell and Jeffers
Farnborough 1-5 Arsenal

Farnborough's FA Cup dream was wrecked in nine first-half minutes at Highbury.

After a week spent training in the warmth of the La Manga sunshine and revelling in the glow of the media spotlight, the harsh reality of football quickly bit for Farnborough.

Goals from Sol Campbell and Francis Jeffers ripped up the game plan for Farnborough, who were further hampered by a red card for defender Christian Lee on 28 minutes.

That provided the platform for Arsenal to build on, with further goals from Jeffers, substitute Dennis Bergkamp and, finally, Lauren sealing a 5-1 win.

But the non-league side deserved enormous credit for not collapsing under the increasing strain.

And the underdogs returned from Highbury with one very notable souvenir courtesy of Rocky Baptiste's second-half goal.

Farnborough survived 19 minutes of tentative Arsenal pressure before the double winners cracked the tie open courtesy of Campbell's powerful header.

The England defender charged through a crowd of players to crash home Giovanni van Bronkhorst's expertly delivered corner.

Jeffers doubled the Arsenal lead four minutes later, side-footing home after Farnborough's back line had failed to deal with Kolo Toure's low cross.

And Farnborough's hopes of damage limitation were looking slim when Lee saw red for tugging Jeffers back just as the Arsenal striker appeared set to score his second.

The decision was hardly in the spirit of the game, but the letter of the law gave referee Alan Wiley little choice.

Realistically, any Farnborough hopes of causing the biggest shock in FA Cup history had disappeared before the game even kicked off.

Van Bronckhorst runs clear of Holloway
Van Bronckhorst runs clear of Holloway
Their decision to switch the tie to Highbury for financial reasons was understandable, however, and Boro could at least say they had tackled some of the world's best players as Arsenal fielded the likes of Robert Pires in their starting line-up.

And if Farnborough's flagging players were relieved to see the back of Pires midway through the second half, they would have had mixed emotions by the arrival of substitutes Dennis Bergkamp and Sylvain Wiltord.

Wiltord was involved in creating Jeffers' second on 68 minutes, teeing Van Bronckhorst up for a cross that was easily headed home by the unmarked striker.

But Farnborough's moment finally arrived 19 minutes from time.

Baptiste ran clear of Arsenal's previously untested defence and, though Stuart Taylor saved his initial shot, Baptiste was alert enough to poke home the rebound.

The strike was Baptiste's seventh of the campaign, making him the leading scorer in this year's competition.

But while his consolation goal gave Farnborough something to cheer, it also served to spike Arsenal back into life.

And normal service was quickly resumed when Van Bronckorst again supplied the inviting cross, substitute Bergkamp this time providing the easy finish.

Farnborough: Pennock, Warner, Gregory, Bunce, Annon, Watson, Lee, Carroll (Lenny Piper 86), Holloway (Chris Piper 76), Charlery (Butterworth 80), Baptiste.
Subs not used: Vansittart, Taggart.
Sent off: Lee

Booked: Carroll, Charlery.

Arsenal: Taylor, Lauren, Campbell, Cygan, van Bronckhorst, Vieira, Pires (Bergkamp 66), Parlour, Toure (Wiltord 66), Jeffers, Kanu (Edu 76).
Subs not used: Seaman, Luzhny.

Attendance: 35,108

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

BBC football correspondent Mike Ingham
"Arsenal's ablity shone through"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"It was important to start well and score first"

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