League Two side Cheltenham almost stun Manchester City in FA Cup


Manchester City produced a late turnaround to avoid humiliation at the hands of League Two side Cheltenham Town and claim a 3-1 win in the FA Cup fourth round.

Given the crowded fixture list all Premier League clubs are having to cope with amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pep Guardiola understandably shuffled his pack for the trip to Gloucestershire.

A youthful City side looked set to pay the price for profligacy after Alfie May gave the fourth-tier side a 59th-minute lead.

However, Phil Foden levelled matters nine minutes from time before Gabriel Jesus struck with six minutes remaining.

Ferran Torres then tapped in a last-gasp third as City overcame a tricky hurdle to keep their quadruple hopes alive.

A City side featuring 10 changes almost had the lead 22 seconds in when Jesus latched on to an excellent ball from Riyad Mahrez, his lofted strike forcing Joshua Griffiths into an early save.

Cheltenham were positive and showed no fear in going forward, but they required heroics from captain Ben Tozer to preserve parity, the skipper's outstanding header on the line keeping out Benjamin Mendy's drive.

Griffiths' smart low save denied Torres and, though City were not quite able to produce fireworks on the pitch, some pyrotechnics within the vicinity of the Jonny-Rocks Stadium forced a stoppage in play towards the end of the first half, leading to six minutes of stoppage time.

Jesus saw another chance go begging in the 53rd minute when he clipped the post from Foden's throughball and six minutes later City were punished as Tozer's long throw into the box found its way through a crowd and into the path of May to prod home.

Mahrez could only shoot straight at Griffiths following another excellent pass from Foden, who took it upon himself to erase the deficit when he turned home substitute Joao Cancelo's cross at the far post.

And Cheltenham were unable to cling on for extra time as Jesus atoned for his previous wastefulness, firing home on the turn from Fernandinho's pinpoint pass into the box.

With home hearts broken, Torres applied late gloss to the scoreline with a simple finish from Ilkay Gundogan's pull-back.

Source Omnisport