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Sunday 4 December 2016

Clark goal helps save Villa bacon

FA Cup round-up

Ciaran Clark celebrates scoring the first goal for Aston Villa
Ciaran Clark celebrates scoring the first goal for Aston Villa

Late goals from Ciaran Clark and Idrissa Gana spared Aston Villa's blushes for a second time as the Premier League strugglers overcame Wycombe 2-0 in their FA Cup third-round replay.

The League Two promotion hopefuls had more than held their own against a much-changed, but still strong, Villa team and created the better chances before Clark headed home with 15 minutes remaining.

Substitute Gana sealed a fourth-round home tie against Manchester City at the end of the month with a second goal in the final minute.

Villa came into the game buoyed by taking four points from the two Premier League games since the original tie at Adams Park.

But the seemingly uphill battle for top flight survival remains Garde's priority and that was reflected in the Frenchman's team selection as he made nine changes. Only Ashley Westwood and Jordan Ayew remained from the team that started against the Foxes.

The decision to swap so many players made picking up that momentum difficult and Villa, with teenage midfielder Jordan Lyden making his full debut, were largely kept at arm's length by Wycombe until late on.

West Bromwich Albion, the only other Premier League team in action on the night, were also made to battle for victory over lower league opposition, seeing off Championship strugglers Bristol City 1-0 at Ashton Gate.

The home side, who sacked manager Steve Cotterill last week, kept the Baggies out until the 52nd minute when Venezuela international Salomon Rondon, West Brom's record £12.0m signing, trapped the ball on his chest before sweeping it home.

West Brom will face third tier Peterborough United at home in the next round.

Non-league Eastleigh's FA Cup journey ended in a 3-2 loss at Bolton as captain Darren Pratley's second-half winner eliminated a club 53 places below Wanderers in the football pyramid.

MK Dons claimed the prize of a home fourth round tie against Chelsea after inflicting a 3-0 replay defeat on Northampton.

Midfielder Ben Reeves netted the opener from the penalty spot then released substitute Josh Murphy nine minutes later. Simon Church rounded off the scoring with a 90th minute spot kick.

Portsmouth saw off Mick McCarthy's Ipswich on a 2-1 scoreline.

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