Cardiff City 0 Manchester City 2
As everyone who knows football will be aware, the strongly fancied Accrington Stanley will play no part in the 2018 FA Cup, writes Stanley Acrimonious, having held Guiseley, a small team who inhabit a field just outside Leeds, to a goalless draw on Bonfire Night. The first round also included such worthies as Boreham Wood, Truro City and ‘Shaw Lane Association.’
In the replay the following week Tuesday night, the result between Stanley and some small field dwellers was an inconclusive 1-1 after extra time, and the teams went into that thrilling spectacle of a penalty shootout. I often wish that we could dispense with some of the nonsense once we realise that a game is going nowhere fast, and do the shootout and get home to our bonfire parties. I’m saying very little more about this, except that the gallant lads from Mansfield despatched Guiseley 3-0 in the next round, as we should have done. Thus Mansfield carried the Torch of Stanley into the third round, merely to have its light extinguished by the demonic Cardiff City. Again the torch was a lucky omen in the away game, 0-0 but when Mansfield got their opponents home, they shipped goals to the men from Tiger Bay and the torch felt very sad indeed. To lose 4-1 at home is a right Leeds United / Scotland / Shaw Lane Association trick. Even the Shaw Lane chaps had lost only 3-1, and that had been to future Torch Bearers Mansfield in the first round. Thus the demonic Welshmen were at home to Manchester City in the fourth round.
Citeh! Carrying the scalp of the ludicrous Burnley, Mighty City, with the financial support of the whole economic system from here to Abu Dhabi, went to contest the Torch of Stanley, the Chest Hair of Mansfield and the divots of Guiseley, not to mention the Eye of the Tiger-Bay (I said *not* to mention the Eye of the Tiger-Bay) at Cardiff’s ground on Sunday. This particular lineage of the FA Cup has not been kind to home teams, and Cardiff lost 2-0; I am very glad that even though it took a team purchased not grown, coached not by a City man but by the Very Best in the World, drawn to Manchester by better weather than Barcelona or Munich, at last the Torch of Stanley is held high by a half decent team. The game itself was settled in the first half. After eight minutes a free kick was given and the demons leaped high into the air as De Bruyne took the kick, keeping it low and true, passing it under their daft legs. A second goal, from Bernardo Silva was disallowed for no good reason and then Raheem Sterling, a Liverpool player lured to City by the flapping costume and similarly flapping chequebook of the owner, nodded another in. Just before half-time, Joe Bennett crocked Leroy Sane, earning a yellow card.
This feat was repeated in the 91st minute on Brahim Diaz and Bennett ‘walked’ as they say on Match of the Day. The second half saw many more chances for City, and it could have been 4-1, if Cardiff had scored and City had bagged a couple more. That Torch will see some more exciting games this season, even if it has to sit in the stands next to the chest-hair of Mansfield, the pelts of Burnley, the divots of Guiseley and the Articles of Association from Shaw Lane. Next up: The Torch of Stanley and friends travel to Wigan for another goalless draw?
By Stanley Acrimonious