Villa sneak past Middlesbrough with late Cash-out

January 7, 2024 6:07 am

[Source: Reuters]

Matty Cash’s last-gasp goal sent Aston Villa into the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in eight years with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough this morning.

The sides appeared destined for a replay before Cash broke the deadlock in the 87th minute with his fourth goal of the season, a powerful shot from just outside the 18-yard box that deflected in off Middlesbrough’s Emmanuel Latte Lath.

“A goal is a goal, so I am buzzing with it,” the defender told the BBC. “I have worked on it in training outside the box to finish, we have worked on having three around the edge and my instinct was to shoot.”

Article continues after advertisement

Villa, who have won the FA Cup seven times but not since 1957, had not reached the fourth round since 2016.

“The manager had made it clear in the hotel that we had not done well in this competition,” Cash said. “It is nice to finally do that (advance past the third round) tonight.

“The manager is so good at that and whatever competition we are in we go out and do our best to get the result,” he added.

“In Europe we are doing well and the league and tonight as well.”

Villa manager Unai Emery must be relieved to avoid a replay after his team played eight games in a hectic December schedule. They are in the thick of the Premier League title race in second place, three points behind leaders Liverpool.

The visitors had numerous chances at the Riverside Stadium, including early in the second half when Jhon Duran rose to meet a corner but glanced his header off the far post and Nicolo Zaniolo sent a long-range shot just wide.

Emery pushed for the winner in the final 20 minutes by sending on Zaniolo, Douglas Luiz, Ollie Watkins and Moussa Diaby, who have scored 28 goals between them this season.

Championship (second tier) side Middlesbrough were FA Cup runners-up in the 1996-97 season.

“Hugely proud,” Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick said. “The disappointment the lads are feeling shows how well we performed in the game. It was not easy against such a good team.”