NPL Sports, 28th Jan: Jay Rodriguez scored twice as West Brom stunned Liverpool with a 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round win at Anfield on Saturday in a tie overshadowed by the Video Assistant Referee, after Harry Kane spared Tottenham a shock defeat by lowly Newport.
A remarkable first half on Merseyside saw the Baggies, second-bottom in the top flight, race into a 2-1 lead inside 11 minutes against a Liverpool team pushing for a place in the Champions League.
Roberto Firmino put Liverpool ahead in the fifth minute after a mix-up, only for Roddriguez to hit back with two well-taken goals.
VAR, being trialled in English cup competitions this season, then took centre stage.
Referee Craig Pawson denied West Brom a third goal after ruling out Craig Dawson’s effort by using VAR to determine that Gareth Barry was offside.
Pawson then become the first English referee to consult a touchline monitor himself before awarding Liverpool a penalty for a foul on Mohamed Salah by Jake Livermore.
That prompted furious protests by the visitors, with Barry booked for dissent, only for Firmino’s spot-kick to hit the crossbar.
There was yet another VAR review prior to the break, before a Joel Matip own goal that put West Brom 3-1 up on the stroke of half-time was allowed.
Egypt striker Salah gave seven-time FA Cup winners Liverpool hope in the 78th minute with his 25th goal in just 32 appearances for the Reds, but Alan Pardew’s Premier League strugglers still booked their place in the last 16.
Earlier, fourth-tier Newport put themselves in sight of one of the all-time great upsets against eight-time FA Cup winners Tottenham thanks to Padraig Amond’s first-half goal.
But eight minutes from time, in-form England striker Kane equalised when he tapped in from close range following Son Heung-Min’s flick-on for his 30th goal this season.
And 1-1 was how it finished as League Two Newport survived four minutes of injury-time to hold out for a lucrative replay at Wembley, Spurs’ temporary home.
Welsh side Newport, a massive 72 places behind a Spurs side who are fifth in the Premier League, sparked delirious scenes at Rodney Parade when Amond gave them a 38th-minute lead.
Ben Tozer’s long throw into the box caused consternation in Spurs’ defence and Robbie Willmott’s clip across to the back post was nodded in by Amond.
But with County in sight of the last 16, boyhood Spurs fan Kane spared his side from defeat.
“I’m gutted… We were nearly there,” Newport manager Mike Flynn told the BBC.
“We could taste it but we switched off one minute and Harry Kane scored.”
Earlier, West Ham manager David Moyes labelled Arthur Masuaku “despicable” after the midfielder was sent off for spitting in a 2-0 defeat by Wigan.
Premier League West Ham, already 1-0 down to the first of two goals from Will Grigg, were reduced to 10 men four minutes into the second half when Masuaku saw red for spitting at third-tier Wigan’s Nick Powell.
“It was despicable,” said Moyes after the loss to 2013 Cup winners Wigan. “If you do that, then you’re going to get the punishment in any walk of life.”
Struggling Premier League sides Swansea and Huddersfield played out 1-1 draws with lower-division Notts County and Birmingham respectively.
Top-flight Brighton were also on the verge of a replay until Glenn Murray’s 90th-minute winner sunk Championship side Middlesbrough 1-0 but there was no such scare for Leicester, who saw Fousseni Diabate score twice on debut in a 5-1 win at Peterborough.
Nottingham Forest’s FA Cup run ended just one round after they knocked out holders Arsenal courtesy of a 2-1 defeat by Championship rivals Hull.
Southampton beat Watford 1-0 as Jack Stephens marked his 24th birthday with a goal to ensure Javi Gracia’s reign as Hornets manager started with a defeat.
Chelsea face Newcastle in another all top-flight clash on Sunday when league leaders Manchester City continue their bid for an unprecedented ‘quadruple’ away to second-tier Cardiff.
Manchester United eased into the fourth round on Friday, with new signing Alexis Sanchez impressing on debut in a 4-0 win at lowly Yeovil.