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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 18:11 GMT
FA Cup as it happened
RESULTS:
Preston 0-1 Portsmouth

Sheffield Utd 0-0 Middlesbrough

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

606: DEBATE
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Chris Bevan

1807: Well, that is about it from me - thanks for keeping me company while we waited for the goals to, er, fly in. We got one in the end I suppose. Sheffield United and Middlesbrough will have to do it all over again but I cannot help but feel sorry for Preston - they definitely deserved a replay against Portsmouth but instead it is back to a relegation struggle at the bottom of the Championship for them.

Don't forget that you can find out who Barnsley, Bristol Rovers and the rest will play in the last-eight when the draw for the quarter-finals is made at 1325 GMT on Monday. You can watch it live on BBC Two as well.

1802: PLAYER RATER
Portsmouth goalkeeper David James earns top marks of 7.85 at full-time, while Preston subsitute Richard Chaplow is bringing up the rear with 5.69.

1800: "HEARTBREAK PNE!!!"
Stumpedİ on 606

1758: "very, very cruel. Preston deserve so much more nd they really payed the ultimate penalty."
mrspurs85 on 606

1755: FULL-TIME Preston 0-1 Portsmouth So, we got a goal in the end...I think we had waited long enough. Portsmouth have David James to thank for saving a Simon Whaley penalty before Darren Carter's own goal sends Pompey into the quarter-finals. That, as they say, is football.

1754: GOAL Preston 0-1 Portsmouth
Would you believe it? Deep into injury-time, Darren Carter tries to clear a Portsmouth corner but only succeeds in smashing the ball into the roof of his own net for a rather tragic own goal. Oh dear.

1753: Portsmouth will probably be happy with the draw after this second half but they still have time for one last attack themselves. Kanu rises to meet the ball at the far post but his header bounces down and into the hands of Andy Lonergan.

1748: Into the final few minutes now and the Preston fans have not given up on this one. Brett Ormerod and Richard Chaplow have been brought off the bench for the home team now too.

1747: "Is Neil Mellor still fat? His ability to play football with his extra bulk inspired me."
Larry-the-lamb on 606

Mellor is definitely carrying a few pounds but Mido would probably win that heavyweight contest at the weigh-in.

1745: Preston have not given up yet and they are still full of running. North End move forward en masse but a stray ball by Darren Carter sees the move break down.

1743: "I know someone who lost contact with his mates in Lens (Europe away leg) many moons ago."
Cen, via text

Nice try Cen but I preferred Jamie's effort to be honest!

1740: John Utaka tries his luck for Pompey - their first effort for a while - but Andy Lonergan gets down to save solidly. Ten minutes left to get us a goal guys...surely time for one final push?

1738: "I have a funny contact lens story. I just took mine out so I don't need to watch anymore boring football today."
Jamie_B_1985 on 606

Jamie, not sure whether you can read this but things have livened up in the last few minutes. Put them back in mate, trust me!

1736: Chris Sedgwick is the latest Preston player to try his luck. He makes space for himself 25 yards out and gets plenty behind his shot too but it flies just over the bar. Unlucky.

1735: We are not going to see that Sulley Muntari left foot again either...he has just been taken off by Pompey boss Harry Redknapp and replaced by Milan Baros.

1733: Blimey, that was close. Mellor does not hang around after coming on and curls a beauty towards the top corner from the edge of the area. It looks a goal all ends up but David James reckons otherwise and flings himself across to tip it round the post at full stretch. A great stop.

1730: Preston make their first change and bring on Neil Mellor for Karl Hawley.

1727: "Calum Davidson losing his contact lens reminds me of a time where the ref in a game I was in lost his. Whilst he was asking the linesman to get another one from his bag, a mate of mine took advantage and kicked one of their players who had constantly gone on at him, and he got away with it!"
mapleleafsfan07 on 606

Very opportunistic, that. Any other amusing 'lost contact lens' stories? In a football context preferably...

1725: It has taken a while but this one has finally livened up. First Nico Kranjcar sends a shot just wide of the post for Portsmouth then, at the other end, Chris Sedgewick takes an age to dig the ball out from under his feet before prodding his effort wide from the edge of the six-yard-box. This is much, much better...

1723: Another chance for Preston. This time it all opens up for Darren Carter on the edge of the area but he scuffs his shot and David James dives to his left to collect the ball.

1722: "James has just proved he should be England No.1"
ZZTop on 606

I'm assuming ZZTop is referring to 1719, not 1721...

1721: James almost goes from hero to zero - a poor goal kick lands straight at the feet of Chris Brown, who instantly fires in a shot, but James recovers to make a fine save.

1719: MISSED PENALTY
Oh dear. I don't think we are ever going to get a goal are we. Simon Whaley steps up for Preston but his spot-kick is way too close to David James and the England international makes the stop. Still 0-0.

1718: PENALTY
Sylvan Distin clips Billy Jones in the area and Preston have a golden chance to break the deadlock.

1718: Good news for Callum Davidson - he has sorted out his lens problem and can now see out of both eyes...which will be handy.

1717: Callum Davidson has lost a contact lens. He has to wait until a Pompey free-kick is cleared before he can go and get another one though.

Portsmouth attack again and Youl Mawene almost puts through his own net when he tries to block a Niko Kranjcar cross.

1714: "I expected to come home from work and see the score and watch the football and be entertained...maybe I'll go back to work."
jamesYNWA on 606

1712: "Hey Chris, just wondering whether there has been an instance in the FA Cup when no Premier League teams have reached the semi-finals."
lnsomniac on 606

Off the top of my head - no. But I can't be sure. Can anyone clear this up...

1711: Pompey are getting closer. Glen Johnson breaks forward and lets fly from the edge of the area - but his shot goes straight at Andy Lonergan.

1709: "Massive hangover. Bore draw with the Blades doesnt help and yet another boring game. Never mind - 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger' is on."
Anonymous, via text

Good film, that.

1707: First chance of the second-half goes to Pompey. Kanu plays in Papa Bouba Diop who runs into the area but his low ball across goal is too far in front of any of his team-mates.

1706: "Whatever happens I don't want another goalless draw. Not two 0-0 matches in a day. Please can somebody do me a favour and score. Doesn't matter if it's an own goal."
lnsomniac on 606

You and me both Insomniac...although if you were looking for something to send you to sleep, you have picked a good game.

1704: Preston get the second half going and this game has just over 45 minutes to deliver us a goal. Will we get one today, or am I being optimistic?

1703: "GCSE maths coursework is boring me to a painful death. Today's footy isn't doing much better."
Proraval on 606

I am happy to help if I can Proval. I was about to ask if Pippa still has any work to do in her loft (see 1457) during the second half.

1700: "Hmm, Preston v Portsmouth Or GCSE Oliver Twist essay? At the moment neither are enjoyable - certainly not a case of "please sir, can i have some more?"
boringoldblue on 606

Very true boringoldblue...I am sure Preston or Portsmouth could do with being able to bring on the Artful Dodger from the bench though.

1656: "Utd thrash L'arse and the boyfriend proposes. Not sure this weekend can get any better... "
Belle, Telford, via text

I don't think Belle is watching the Preston-Portsmouth match...

1654: "Hmm, Preston v Portsmouth or GCSE Oliver Twist essay? At The Moment Neither Are Enjoyable"
zainlin (martin laursen= puckas!) on 606

I think that is a tough one for all of us, even if we don't HAVE to write a GCSE Oliver Twist essay...this game has not been much of a spectacle has it?

1653: PLAYER RATER
Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan is your top-man so far with 7.13 at half-time, while his team-mate Billy Jones is much less impressive on 5.50.

1649: "As the half wore on, I always thought Pompey would have the better of it and they will look to continue stepping things up in the second half."
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Armfield on BBC Radio Five Live.

1647: HALF-TIME Preston 0-0 Portsmouth Not much to shout about here - and no goals yet either. Pompey have had the best of it, and Sulley Muntari's free-kick is the best effort we have seen so far. Can somebody please score me a goal in the second half. Go on...just one?

1646: "A late left-footed drive from Sulley Muntari to win this game"
ZZTop on 606

As long as we get a goal, I don't care who scores it!

1643: It is Nico Kranjcar's turn to whip in a free-kick for Portsmouth and Calum Davidson does brilliantly to clear from virtually under his own crossbar with Papa Bouba Diop lurking. This is what you call 'pressure' I think!

1642: Another chance for Pompey as Hermann Hreidarsson breaks into the box and spots a shooting chance. He can only find the side netting though, and slips too land on his backside as he lets fly for good measure.

1641: Pompey are definitely on top now and Chris Brown concedes a needless free-kick 30 yards out with a push on Sol Campbell. This time, however, Sulley Muntari chooses to cross the ball and it is easy for Preston to clear - he should definitely stick to shooting!

1640: "Why do I get the feeling this game will finish 0-0? What a boring Sunday afternoon of football."
zainlin (martin laursen= puckas!) on 606

I know what you mean Zainlin but stick with this one - I can' t promise a goal but I want one as much as you do!

1639: There is that Sulley Muntari left foot we were talking about earlier. He fires in a vicious free-kick from 25 yards and Andy Lonergan does well to tip it over.

Pompey threaten again from the resulting corner but Kanu's shot from inside the area cannons back off Preston defender Youl Mawene and the chance has gone.

1636: Another Preston corner reaches Simon Whaley at the near post and he unleashes a ferocious volley...but unfortunately when that ball comes back down there is going to be snow on it.

1632: "I think all Championship sides want Chelsea and Man Utd to play each other!"
Nick (Baggies fan!), via text

1630: A good chance for Pompey goes begging - probably their best yet. Niko Kranjcar appears to be offside as he ghosts into the box to meet a ball over the top. There is no linesman's flag but the Croatian does not trouble PNE keeper Andy Lonergan with what turns out to be a gentle flicked header.

1629: "I'd be happy to help give Man Utd a warm welcome to the Bridge. Would be good to knock them out early to save the formality of beating them in the final."
boringoldblue on 606

1628: Former Preston boss and current Everton supremo David Moyes is also in the crowd at Deepdale. No doubt he is enjoying the hospitality at his old club but he is also here on business - the Toffees play Pompey on 2 March.

1627: "Maybe Barnsley will draw Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and produce another Cupset... Keep your fingers crossed. You never know..."
Insomniac on 606

Now THAT would be worth watching...

1626: Preston are having a lot of joy down the left flank but their final ball is letting them down at the moment. Quite badly too. As for Portsmouth? Well they have not really got going yet. It is early doors though, only 25 minutes gone.

1625: "I think Preston will really miss Sean St Ledger today"
ZZTop on 606

St Ledger is suspended by the way...and he is sitting next to Nugent in the stands.

1623: Half a chance for Preston when the ball comes out to Simon Whaley on the left. His first shot is blocked, however, and the whistle is blown by referee Mike Dean when the rebound appears to hit Whaley on the arm. Shame.

1621: "Alright bud, when's the draw for the next round, burstin tae find oot who Barnsley get next!"
Fae Smoothbob in scotchland, via text

Barnsley, Bristol Rovers and the rest will all be in the hat when the quarter-finals draw is made at 1330 GMT on Monday. You can watch it live on BBC Two too. Am I the only one hoping Chelsea and Manchester United get each other next?

1619: "I hope Sulley Muntari came back from Ghana with that howitzer of a left foot. He scored some amazing goals at the ACON."
redandblackT1899(Maldini's final year ends in Moscow) on 606

He has not had much of a chance to show us yet...

1617: "Any ideas as to why we have a three-quarters full stadium at Preston? I would have thought the punters would be flocking to the game."
CycloneArmageddon on 606

No clues here CA. North End have not had the best of seasons in the Championship so I agree, you would have thought they would have welcomed a bit of Cup football as a break from all of that. Obviously not.

1614: Oops, Pape Bouba Diop won't enjoy watching that one again. He completely mis-kicks a clearance on the edge of the area and ends up conceding a corner. David James makes a bit of a hash of it when the ball comes across but Pompey survive to clear their lines.

1612: PLAYER RATER
Sheffield United winger Lee Martin was Top of the Pops with 7.10 at full-time, while Middlesbrough's Fabio Rochemback is bottom of the class with 5.68.

1609:"There are no balloons at Preston."
walkerdarke on 606

Bryan Robson will be disappointed by that news...

1607: Pompey create their first chance of note. John Utaka lets fly from a tight angle and his ball fizzes just over the bar - definitely worth a go.

1606: A bit of match-reaction from Sheffield United boss Kevin Blackwell, who seems quite happy with the outcome of today's earlier match: "The lads have given me everything today, so I'm very pleased. I thought we worked exceptionally hard and it was one hell of a Cup tie in terms of effort and spirit."

1605: Both teams are struggling to keep hold of the ball in the early stages but by the looks of things Preston are going to have a right go at this one. And why not!

"I can't see Portsmouth slipping up at Preston they have only lost four away games all season!"
reds4ever08 on 606

1602: We are under way at Deepdale. David Nugent is watching in the stands - fair to say he has not had the best of times since swapping Preston for Portsmouth in the summer...

1600: Right then, let's switch our focus to Deepdale and Preston v Pompey.

Preston have not reached the quarter-finals of the Cup since 1966 but they don't seem to mind their underdog status. "We are not expected to win it so we can just go out and play. It is 90 minutes, it's the FA Cup and we all know what can happen," says assistant manager Rob Kelly.

1553: FULL-TIME Sheffield United 0-0 Middlesbrough Phew! I am not sure how that ended up goalless but we will have to do it all over again in a replay at The Riverside. The Blades had the best of the first half and Middlesbrough had a flurry of chances after the break so perhaps a draw is the right result.

1551: How did that one stay out? Stewart Downing curls in a great corner and Emanuel Pogatetz powers in a header from inside the six-yard box but Blades defender Gary Naysmith is in the right place to block on the line.

1550: George Boateng kicks an attempted clearance against his own hand in his own penalty area. Penalty? Well, I have seen them given - and the Sheffield United fans certainly think it should have been a spot-kick - but Middlesbrough survive.

1548: Some dogged defending by Sheffield United holds off Boro but they are having no joy going forward. It has been an awfully long time since their last decent effort on goal.

1546: "Thanks Chris you jinxed it. Now Hulse will score"
middlesbrough17 on 606

1545: "This one's got replay all over it - unless we get a final burst from Balloon A."
lyonnext on 606

1544: Seven minutes left of normal time. Is anyone going to give me a goal?

1543: "Come on MIDDLESBROUGH! FOCUS AND SCORE!"
Elizabeth May Pink, via text

Sounds like a Bryan Robson team-talk that one...

1541: Another change for Sheffield United. Rob Hulse is on for James Beattie. Hulse is yet to score this season apparently...I know what you are thinking.

1540: "Lets see if Alves can make an impact today..."
the voice of reason on 606

1538: TEAM NEWS Preston v Portsmouth
Preston: Lonergan, Jones, Mawene, Chilvers, Davidson, Sedgwick, McKenna, Carter, Whaley, Brown, Hawley.
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Utaka, Diarra, Diop, Muntari, Kranjcar, Kanu.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Youl Mawene replaces suspended Sean St Ledger in the only change to the Preston team which lost at Colchester in midweek.
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp makes five changes to the team which beat Bolton, with Glen Johnson, Sylvain Distin, John Utaka, Sulley Muntari and Kanu all starting.

1536: Another well-worked set-piece sees Michael Tonge shoot on the turn as Stephen Quinn shapes to take the free-kick. The ball comes out to Chris Armstrong who fires just over. Nice.

The Blades bring on David Carney for Jon Stead, while we have another Brazilian on the field - Afonso Alves has just come on for Mido.

1534: Another free-kick for Sheffield United after Billy Sharp is fouled right on the edge of the Boro penalty area. Will they try another cheeky one?

1533: "Rochemback cannot be Brazilian!"
trevofstanley(formerly the writer known as trandli) on 606

1532: "Bevan criticised us for giving Mido stick. He's obviously never supported one of the teams Mido has played for (as difficult as that is, given there are troglodytes in Himalayan caves who support teams that signed the ubiquitous Mido)."
CycloneArmageddon on 606

You misunderstand CycloneArmageddon, I wasn't criticising anybody! I was just as shocked as you to see Mido try an overhead kick - he didn't look as though he could get off the ground...

1529: A few nasty challenges flying about. Luke Young on Billy Sharp and Fabio Rochemback on Stephen Quinn. Everyone seems to be ok but this one is getting tasty...

1527: Middlesbrough bring on George Boateng for Julio Arca and Sheffield United replace Lee Martin with Chris Armstrong.

1524: "Who's fatter, Mido or Ronaldo (Brazilian)?"
Swansea_United_Champion_08 on 606

Hmmm, I think it would be tricky to get them on a pair of scales but the state Ronaldo is in at the moment, I couldn't see him trying any overhead kicks.
kingofkings07 on 606

1523: Yet another effort by Boro sees Emanuel Pogatetz drill a low shot wide of Paddy Kenny's post. That is four shots in four minutes and I am struggling to keep up - give it a rest Boro!

1522: Mido has been getting a lot of stick from you lot on 606 but he is involved again as Boro keep up the pressure. The Egyptian swings across a lovely ball for Stewart Downing, who slams a delicious volley just wide of the post. Now that would have been one heck of a goal...

1521: "I predict a late winner for Sheffield United with the aid of a few balloons and then their star striker, Balloon A will put the ball into the top corner."
kingofkings07 on 606

I think we have missed a trick by not including Balloon A on the player-rater.

1519: Boro have just woken up. First an acrobatic Mido overhead kick (yes, honestly) from the edge of the area is tipped over the bar by Paddy Kenny, who then keeps out a David Wheater header from the resulting corner. Phew, where did that come from?

1517: Matt Kilgallon escapes Mido at the far post to meet Lee Martin's free-kick but his header lands in the side-netting.

1515: "No-one is supporting the Boro! What's going on? Premier League class and form will prove true. C'mon Boro! 2-0 at full time."
Gilesy in Coventry, via text

1512: This game is still wide open and both sides are getting forward as much as possible. Sheffield United's Jon Stead fires in a low shot from the edge of the area but Mark Schwarzer scrambles across his goal to gather.

"I just do not see the attraction. It is an 'end to end' game played with minimal skill that I could have watched at my local park. If the stats showed misplaced passes and lack of control on the first touch they would far outweigh anything else."
Rabster on 606

Rabster, it may be a bit haphazard but this is what the FA Cup is all about mate.

1509: Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny is almost taken out by Emanuel Pogatetz as he launches a quick counter-attack with a throw. Kenny is a big lad but he flies quite far out of his area - no harm done though.

1507: "Did you just see that? The balloons are back!!!"
dimitarberbatov on 606

Has anyone got Bryan Robson's number?

1505: The Blades get the second half started as 'The Greasy Chip Butty' song echoes around Bramall Lane. Great tune that...

1503: "Scrappy. Sheffield United the much better team. David Wheater's very lucky to be on the pitch and I think this will be settled by just one goal. Probably for United."
Abroad_magpie on 606

"Final score prediction Chris? Im going for 1-0 to the Blades...."
hairybattery on 606

Well, I don't really do predictions but...for me this has got a late Boro winner written all over it, despite the Blades having much the better of things so far.

1459: Sorry to bring this up again Liverpool fans, but Barnsley's match-winner Brian Howard is at Bramall Lane and has just discussed his Anfield heroics in front of the BBC cameras. "I must have watched Match of the Day about 20 times last night," Howard said - and who can blame him?

1457: "Just cleared my loft, 18 years of memories, two skips and a few tears, but it still feels good!"
Pippa, via text

Pippa, you mean to tell me you chose to clear out your loft rather than watch the first half of Sheffield United v Middlesbrough? What were you thinking?

1453: PLAYER RATER
Sheffield United winger Lee Martin leads the way with 7.40 at half-time, while Middlesbrough striker Mido is bottom of the class with 5.05.

1451: "Giggsy and Scholesy used that bumping into each other trick a couple of years back!"
gstonesunited on 606

1450: "Sheffield United have been the better side and have had the better of the chances too."
BBC Sport pundit Alan Hansen

1449: HALF-TIME Sheffield United 0-0 Middlesbrough Lots of action at Bramall Lane but no goals yet. It has certainly not been dull though. Sheffield United have had the best effort - Beattie's clever free-kick - but Boro have threatened too. More of the same in the second-half please lads.

1448: Another free-kick for the Blades on the edge of the area when Stephen Quinn is brought down. James Beattie and Michael Tonge pretend to bump into each other as they shape up to take it - then Beattie slams a shot against the post. Cheeky stuff - and it nearly worked.

1446: The tackles are flying in again from all angles and this half is ending the same way it began - in frantic fashion.

1444: David Wheater hauls down Billy Sharp on the edge of the area as he bears down on goal. Only a yellow card though - Wheater is a very lucky boy. Michael Tonge hammers the resultant free-kick into the Boro wall.

1443: "As an Arsenal fan who has witnessed several of Aliadiere's "performances" I can say with certainty that the phrase "only scored three goals this season" is surprising only in that it is as many as three."
WhereThoughtsAreFrom on 606

1441: "Two of Jeremie Aliadiare's three goals have come in his last three games, so he is on a career best run of form..."
the voice of reason on 606

True, he has upped his game since Afonso Alves arrived, hasn't he?

1439: The tempo has dropped slightly after an absolutely hectic opening. They cannot have run out of steam yet, surely?

1438:: "Robson was the ideal candidate you'd have thought. He's got loads of managerial bubble-bursts on his CV."
Cen, via text

1436: "I can exclusively reveal that Bryan Robson turned down the Director of Balloon Popping job."
eldeano on 606

In this day and age, such a post probably does exist, somewhere.

1434: "Re 1418: To do it, they'll need a sharp edge to their game."
CycloneArmageddon on 606

1432: "I'm trying to do an essay here but Boro are the last piece in my £400 accumulator. "
Joe, Brighton, via text

1430: Jeremie Aliadiere is looking lively, especially for someone who has only scored three goals this season. He makes headway into the United area again and fires in a low shot that Paddy Kenny collects at his near post.

1428: Jon Stead's turn to miss out in front of goal. He reaches a Lee Martin corner at the near post but his header flies wide when he really should have put the Blades ahead.

1426: A great chance for Boro but Mido wastes it. Horribly. He and Gary O'Neil bear down on goal with only Chris Morgan to stop them but the Egyptian's attempted pass flies straight out for a goal-kick. He will try to blame a bobble on the pitch for that one but it won't wash. Not with me anyway.

1425: "I can see Sheff Utd now have a permanent balloon popper on the staff."
redandblackT1899 on 606

Do you think that was the job they offered Bryan Robson?

1424: Another super run by Jeremie Aliadiere down the left. He makes his way into the penalty area but runs out of pitch and the chance is gone.

1423: "Blades look the Premier League team at the moment!"
Gilson, Plymouth, via text

1421: Sheffield United captain Chris Morgan makes sure Jeremie Aliadiere eats turf after he breaks down the left flank. Straight in the book for that one.

1419: Jon Stead has a pop from distance for the Blades, but he won't be happy with that. He almost manages to get the ball out of the stadium - better luck next time!

1418: "Let's see if Sheffield United can steel a win against 'Boro. I'm here all week..."
AfterDeath on 606

Surely someone can do better than that?

1415: More balloons on the pitch at Bramall Lane - maybe they are part of Kevin Blackwell's tactics? Mido tests Paddy Kenny with a snap-shot from the edge of the area.

1413: "Why oh why did I not wash the car before this match started?!"
Lancashire_United_Fan on 606

Too late for that now. This is shaping up to be a cracker.

1411: Sheffield United are pushing again and an enticing Derek Geary ball into the area just evades Billy Sharp after Boro defender Emanuel Pogatetz decides to allow the ball to run past him. Almost a very costly decision that.

1410: "Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we're going to Wemberleey que sera sera!! 1-0 to Sheffield United."
thyra7 on 606

I admire your optimism thyra7. This game is certainly up for grabs though.

1408: It is end-to-end stuff at the moment. Boro are going for it too and Stewart Downing is seeing plenty of the ball on the left.

1405: A close call for Boro. Matt Kilgallon's hooked shot from the left is pushed away by Mark Schwarzer and the rebound only just evades Lee Martin. Good stuff this from the Blades.

1403: Phew. We have had quite a frenetic start and Sheff Utd have had the better of it so far. Boro haven't been troubled too much though.

1402: "I wonder what the odds are on a hat-trick from a balloon?"
tom_hayward91 on 606

The Bramall Lane balloons are better at assists than actually scoring - but you never know.

1400: Right then. Boro kick off to get the game under way.

1358: "Sheffield United and Preston to win today. Manchester United drawn against Chelsea, then who knows what could happen? Do I dare say that with a lucky draw tomorrow then a fantastic performance in the semis, Bristol Rovers - a League One side - could be in the FA Cup Final? No, I daren't."
Liverpool Gas on 606

1357: The teams are out on the pitch at Bramall Lane. It's not a full house but it doesn't look far off it.

1354: "Being a Manchester United fan, I can personally say I love this Cup, and a United-Barnsley final is on the cards methinks."
Dan_Partington on 606

That would guarantee Barnsley a place in the Uefa Cup wouldn't it?

1351: "When Boro reached the Final in 1997 (against Chelsea) they did not play against a top flight side until the final, could history be about to repeat itself?"
the voice of reason on 606

Hmmm, they have to get there first. And I seem to recall that in 1997 Boro were extremely lucky to get past Chesterfield of League One in the semi-finals. Nothing is straightforward in this game...

1348: "Chris Bevan, you are one proper comedian. Blackwell taking Sheff Utd to the final, when he can't even help Luton out of relegation in League One? Be one great final that. Mind usually I'm eating my words by the end of rants like that...."
ravpatel on 606

1346: "The FA Cup is like dunking a cookie in a cup of tea! An absolute dream!"
Chris from Portsmouth, via text

Chris, you have gone awfully early there mate. Assuming you are a Pompey fan of course!? Will you feel the same way if Preston beat your boys I wonder?

1344: Under previous boss Bryan Robson, Sheffield United have already knocked two Premier League teams in the Cup this season - Bolton and Manchester City. Will Boro be their third victims? "We will see how things develop but I can guarantee you we will give Middlesbrough a very good game," says Blackwell.

1343: "I'd have Sheffield United as my favourites over Middlesbrough today, I'd be more surprised if they lost than if they won."
gstoneunited on 606

1342: "The word is 'Cupset', not upset. I am disappointed in you Chris!"
hairybattery on 606

Sorry guys, it won't happen again.

1340: New Blades boss Kevin Blackwell has had an interesting year after all his trouble at Luton hasn't he? Has any manager ever been sacked by one team then won the FA Cup with another in the same season? Could Kev be the first? You tell me.


1338: "I'm going for a Bristol Rovers-Barnsley FA Cup Final."
stfc4evr on 606

1335: TEAM NEWS Sheff Utd v Middlesbrough
Sheff Utd: Kenny, Geary, Morgan, Kilgallon, Naysmith, Stead, Tonge, Quinn, Martin, Beattie, Sharp.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Young, Wheater, Pogatetz, Grounds, O'Neil, Rochemback, Arca, Downing, Aliadiere, Mido. Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

Kevin Blackwell makes three changes for his first game in charge of Sheffield United. Michael Tonge, Jon Stead and Billy Sharp come in for Luton Shelton, Gary Speed and David Cotterill, who is cup-tied.
Middlesbrough's record signing, Brazilian striker Afonso Alves, starts on the bench as manager Gareth Southgate opts for Jeremie Aliadiere and Mido in attack.

1330: "Wonder what the odds are now of no Premier League team to be in the final? Preston and Sheff Utd to both win 2-1."
MrDebatable on 606

"The Championship should obviously replace the Premier League as the top tier, from a Watford fan."
Anonymous, via text

Hmmm, if you are speaking as a Watford fan then no wonder you want to stay anonymous!

1326: "Come on Chris, everyone knows it's the 'big three' and Barnsley now."
***CHELSEA*** Pride of London on 606

1324: So, are we going to have any more upsets today? Are PNE or the Blades up to the task?

And can anyone from outside the 'big four' win the thing this year...it is about blinking time, isn't it!?

1320: "Re 1305. Can I reserve my judgement for after the PNE-Pompey game?"
pompeyfanrichie on 606

Again, no prizes for guessing which team pompeyfanrichie supports...

1316: Right, so we all enjoyed Barnsley's win at Anfield (apart from Liverpool fans, obviously) but that game was sooooooooo yesterday. It is all about Sunday now folks, and I have two more Cup crackers for your delectation...

First up is Sheffield United against Middlesbrough at 1400 GMT (which is live on BBC One and BBC Radio Five Live), then we have another Championship v Premier League showdown when Preston host Portsmouth at 1600 GMT. Enjoy, I know I will.

1312: "No, Chris, I hate it."
Torres' right peg on 606

I think we can guess who Torres' right peg supports...

1310: Ok, I'm not expecting Liverpool or Arsenal fans to agree with me - but everyone else does, right? Text me on 81111 or get involved on 606 - I want to hear your chat.

1305: The FA Cup. Don't you just love it?

SEE ALSO
FA Cup photos
17 Feb 08 |  FA Cup
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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