And Roy­als march on to quar­ter-fi­nals

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Alec Fenn

GARY Bowyer said Josh King’s shoot­ing prac­tice had at last paid off af­ter his stunning hat-trick sent Black­burn Rovers into the sixth round of the FA Cup with a stunning 4-1 win over ten-man Stoke.

The striker notched his first of the af­ter­noon on 35 min­utes with a close range header to make it 1-1 af­ter Peter Crouch had given the vis­i­tors a tenth-minute lead.

King then won a penalty in firsthalf in­jury-time when he was hauled down by Ge­off Cameron, who was sub­se­quently sent off, and Rudy Gest­ede slot­ted home from the spot.

The af­ter­noon be­longed to for­mer Manch­ester United trainee King, though, as he twice sped in be­hind the Stoke de­fence at the start of the sec­ond half be­fore slot­ting calmly be­yond Jack But­land.

“Josh showed fan­tas­tic pace and the pleas­ing thing was the one-on-one chances he tucked away,” Bowyer said.

“He had a long way to go and had a lot go­ing through his head but he man­aged to keep his com­po­sure. He works hard to im­prove his shoot­ing on the train­ing ground and it’s paid off.

“He won the penalty in the first half and he could’ve had an­other early on when he was brought down.” Black­burn have now beaten Pre­mier League op­po­si­tion in each of the last two rounds, hav­ing seen off Swansea City in the fourth round, and Bowyer said his play­ers should at last get the credit they de­serve. “They didn’t get enough recog­ni­tion af­ter the last round. Josh will get the head­lines but we were out­stand­ing, ev­ery man. We made it a real cup-tie and I’m de­lighted,” he added.

Stoke dom­i­nated the early ex­changes and took the lead when Crouch fired into the roof of the net on the end of a Vic­tor Moses cor­ner.

Mame Bi­ram Diouf then fed Marko Ar­nau­tovic in­side the box but he found the side-netting rather than the back of the net. The game turned on that chance. Stoke failed to deal with Craig Con­way’s cor­ner-kick on 35 min­utes and King nod­ded home Shane Duffy’s down­ward header to equalise.

The striker was then dragged to the floor by Cameron as he ran onto Gest­ede’s hooked ball over the top and ref­eree An­thony Tay­lor pointed to the spot and showed the de­fender a red card, with Gest­ede mak­ing no mis­take from the spot right on half-time.

Stoke had no an­swer to King’s pace in the sec­ond pe­riod and he first ran onto Con­way’s through ball and fin­ished un­der­neath But­land be­fore re­peat­ing the trick on the end of a Gest­ede pass.

De­fender Marc Mu­niesa pulled his ham­string try­ing to keep up with the striker for his sec­ond and Stoke manager Mark Hughes ad­mit­ted King’s speed was their un­do­ing.

The ex-Rovers boss said: “We didn’t deal with their attack, they had lots of pace and an aerial threat and we didn’t pick up first and sec­ond balls. If you try and go with King in a foot race, the boy is prob­a­bly go­ing to beat you.

“It was a dif­fer­ent sort of threat to the Pre­mier League but we’ve faced plenty of play­ers who are good in the air and run in be­hind, we just didn’t deal with that.

“I won’t hide be­hind the penalty, you’ve seen them given, but we just didn’t re­spond well to go­ing down to ten men.

“We won’t hide be­hind the red card, the bet­ter team won and I wish Black­burn well in the next round.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

CLASS ACT: Black­burn’s Josh King scores the fourth goal, and seals his hat-trick, in the 4-1 FA Cup romp against Stoke

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

HAT-TRICK HERO: Black­burn’s Josh King scores the fourth goal to put the ic­ing on the cake

a penalty CLIN­I­CAL: Gest­ede notches

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