Brighton and Crawley land dream ties in the FA Cup last sixteen

By Jamie Spoor

As a fan of a team perennially involved in the battle for the Premier League title, the FA Cup does not mean a great deal to me, proving more of an unwelcome distraction.

While most of the other big names in the top flight feel the same, the magic of the Cup is alive and kicking in Sussex after plum fifth-round draws for both of the county’s professional sides.

The last 16 draw may be missing the Premier League Red Devils, but League Two namesakes Crawley were rewarded for their superb win at Hull with a tie at home to last year’s finalists Stoke.

Brighton, who knocked out top-flight Newcastle, were handed a daunting but winnable tie at misfiring Liverpool in a role reversal of the Carling Cup tie in October.

The tie will evoke memories of Brighton’s famous run to the 1983 final, where they triumphed over the top flight side out en route to Wembley,

Both Sussex sides also reached the same stage last year where Crawley, then a non-league side, lost narrowly at Old Trafford and Albion were beaten 3-0 at Tony Pulis’ Potters.

After successful promotions for both since then and continued progress so far this term, the two Sussex clubs will be confident of shocks in the money- spinning ties.

Stoke are renowned for their rough-and ready approach as the Seagulls found to their cost in that match last season, but with the encounter at Crawley’s Broadfield Stadium they will be relishing the chance of an upset.

Chairman Vic Marley described the tie as “the biggest home game in the club’s history”.

He said: “It’s a brilliant draw for us, whichever way you look at it, you can’t ask for anything more against a Premier League club.

“They’re the best team we’ve had coming to us, it’ll be a fantastic day and we look forward to seeing them here.

“I don’t think Tony Pulis will relish playing here, and he won’t be looking at it as though they’re playing a League Two side.

“We’ll be ready for them and shocks can happen in the Cup.”

The fifth round ties will be played over the weekend of 18/19

Full FA Cup draw:

Liverpool v Brighton&Hove Albion
Everton v Blackpool or Sheffield Wednesday
Chelsea v Birmingham
Crawley Town v Stoke
Stevenage v Tottenham
Norwich v Leicester
Sunderland or Middlesbrough v Arsenal
Millwall or Southampton v Bolton


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