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Chelsea’s cup clashes with fourth-tier opponents

It has been a pretty good omen for Chelsea when we have been drawn against teams from England’s fourth tier in the domestic cup competitions over the past 20 years.

Since 1999, we have met teams from League Two or the old Division Three in cup ties on six occasions, winning all of the matches and lifting the trophy in four of those campaigns.

With the Blues trying to keep that run going against Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup tonight, here is a look at our other recent cup clashes against teams from the fourth level of English football...

Hull City – FA Cup 1999/2000

Chelsea’s last FA Cup match of the 20th Century saw us travel to Boothferry Park in December 1999 for a third-round tie against Hull City, who had just escaped relegation to the Conference the previous season.

The Tigers kept things close at half-time as David Brown narrowed the deficit to 2-1 after Gustavo Poyet and Chris Sutton had scored for the Blues. However, Poyet added two more after the interval for his hat-trick and Roberto Di Matteo and Dennis Wise each got a goal in a 6-1 rout as Chelsea began a run which culminated in victory over Aston Villa in the last final at the old Wembley.

 

Shrewsbury Town – FA Cup 2002/03

In the 2002/03 season, Shrewsbury Town suffered relegation to the Conference after they finished bottom of Division Three but they produced a huge shock in the FA Cup by beating Everton 2-1.

Chelsea travelled to Gay Meadow in the fourth round but there would be no second shock win for the Shrews as a brace by Gianfranco Zola, including a sublime chip which drew applause from the home fans, and a goal apiece by Carlton Cole and Jody Morris ensured the Blues cruised to a 4-0 win.

 

Scunthorpe United – FA Cup 2004/05

Chelsea were top of the Premier League in January 2005 but Scunthorpe United threatened a major shock in the FA Cup when Paul Hayes put the visitors ahead at the Bridge after just seven minutes.

Mateja Kezman restored parity with a thumping volley and Scunthorpe’s Andy Crosby deflected Didier Drogba’s effort into his own net to give us the lead. The Irons nearly drew level when Cleveland Taylor headed against the post but Eidur Gudjohnsen made it 3-1 five minutes from time when he scored at the third attempt after Scunthope’s goalkeeper had denied Arjen Robben and Joe Cole.

 

 

Macclesfield Town – FA Cup 2006/07

Frank Lampard scored the first of his five Chelsea hat-tricks in an FA Cup third-round tie against Macclesfield Town in January 2006. After opening the scoring, he restored our lead in the 41st minute, shortly after Macclesfield had grabbed a surprise equaliser, and converted a penalty to make it 3-1 early in the second half.

Shaun Wright-Phillips, John Mikel Obi and Ricardo Carvalho also scored as the Blues won 6-1 en route to lifting the Cup with victory over Manchester United in the first final at the new Wembley.

 

Wycombe Wanderers – League Cup 2006/07

Four days after hosting Macclesfield, we faced another League Two side when we came up against giant-killers Wycombe Wanderers in the semi-finals of the League Cup.

The Chairboys eliminated Premier League sides Fulham and Charlton on their run to the last four and held the Blues to a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Adams Park as Jermaine Easter cancelled out Wayne Bridge’s opener.

However, the Blues proved too strong in the return game at the Bridge as two goals apiece by Andriy Shevchenko and Frank Lampard secured a 5-1 aggregate triumph and sent us through to the final, where we beat Arsenal.

 

Shrewsbury Town – League Cup 2014/15

Shrewsbury were back in the fourth tier in 2014/15 when they hosted the Blues in the fourth round of the League Cup after eliminating Premier League side Leicester City and Championship outfit Norwich in earlier rounds.

Didier Drogba gave the Blues the lead early in the second half but Shrewsbury equalised 13 minutes from time when substitute Andy Mangan turned the ball in during a goalmouth scramble following a corner.

However, their joy was short-lived as Jermaine Grandison inadvertently turned in Willian's cross while trying to fend off Drogba to give Chelsea a 2-1 win en route to lifting the trophy for a fifth time.

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