When somebody mentions “The Road to Wembley” you wouldn’t be mistaken for assuming they’re talking about the FA Cup, and with the majority of the media hype surrounding the top clubs these days, teams in Leagues 1 and 2 often get forgotten about. The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy gives these clubs a great chance to get to Wembley and the opportunity to gain some trophy glory for themselves! This week saw the Area Quarter finals of the tournament, with four games in the northern region and four in the southern.
In the northern section, Oldham came out at the weeks biggest winners with a 5-1 thrashing of Notts County. James Tarkowski equalised for the away side after Ronan Murray had put the Latics ahead, but two goals from Tony Phililskirk and one each from James Dayton and Jonson Clarke-Harris made it a comfortable evening for the home side. Both teams were reduced to 10 men with Dean Leacock and Jordan Bove seeing red.
Chesterfield and Kidderminster also managed home wins to see them through, the former beating Rochdale 3-0 and the latter claiming their third League One scalp of the competition with a 2-0 win against Carlisle at Highbury. The only away winners in the northern region of the trophy were Rotherham with a deflected winner from Agard in the 44th minute giving the Millers a 2-1 away win and putting them into the next round despite the home side dominating the chances.
It was very much the same in the southern quarter finals, with all the home teams progressing. Newport County v Portsmouth would have been a huge fixture only a few years ago, but with the changes in fortunes at both these clubs the fact that Newport brushed Portsmouth aside with a 3-0 victory came as no real shock to football fans. Conor Washington grabbed two goals either side of an Oshilaja tap in after Robbie Wilmott’s free-kick was palmed out.
Elsewhere, Peterborough were 1-0 winners at home to Dagenham & Redbridge and Swindon came from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory in injury time at home to Wycombe to avoid the need for a penalty shoot-out. Stevenage also went through in dramatic fashion with five goals, two penalties and a sending off in the first halt. However they managed to survive going down to 10 men after Roarie Deacon was sent off for tugging back Shaun Back, and finished the game as 3-2 winners.
The draw for the Area Semi-Finals will be made on Soccer AM on Saturday.