Fifth round sparklers

The dream of lifting the FA Cup becomes a big possibility when a team reaches the fifth round with only 15 other clubs still in contention to win the world’s oldest football tournament.

In recent years, Chelsea have enjoyed much success in reaching this stage with 20 fifth-round appearances in the past 23 seasons.

As we welcome Hull City to Stamford Bridge on Friday in our latest FA Cup campaign, here is a look at five of the most memorable fifth round goals scored by the Blues in the recent past.

Peter Rhoades-Brown

1982 - Liverpool, Stamford Bridge

English football was very different in February 1982 with Chelsea stuck in mid-table in the Second Division and reigning European champions Liverpool on course to claiming the First Division title for the fifth time in seven seasons.

The Reds were unbeaten in 11 games when they arrived at the Bridge but they were undone after eight minutes by the endeavour of Peter Rhoades-Brown. The left winger stole possession from Terry McDermott on the halfway line and received a quick return pass from Colin Lee before bursting clear of the Liverpool defence and sliding a low shot past Bruce Grobbelaar to give us the lead in a surprise 2-0 win.

Roberto Di Matteo

1997 – Leicester City, Filbert Street

Roberto Di Matteo famously opened the scoring after 43 seconds in our 1997 FA Cup final victory against Middlesbrough with a stunning long-range effort. However, his other goal in our memorable run that year was just as impressive as he broke the deadlock in our fifth-round tie at Leicester.

Receiving the ball near the left touchline, the Italian surged past two defenders as he cut inside the Leicester box before launching a right-footed effort which left goalkeeper Kasey Keller helpless, dipping over three defenders and finding the far corner of the net. The match ended 2-2 but Chelsea won 1-0 in the replay en route to lifting the FA Cup for the first time in 27 years.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

2001 – Arsenal, Highbury

Few players could strike the ball as sweetly or as powerfully as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who amassed 87 goals in 177 games while playing for the Blues from 2000 to 2004. He showcased his ability by conjuring a goal of exquisite quality on our visit to Highbury in February 2001.

Receiving the ball from Gustavo Poyet on the left edge of the Arsenal box, the Dutchman appeared to have no realistic path to goal with Lee Dixon and Oleg Luzhny standing in front of him. However, he took one touch before unleashing a magnificent right-footed blast which flew past David Seaman into the top corner of the net to level the score. Unfortunately, the Gunners scored twice in the closing minutes to secure a 3-1 win.

Nicolas Anelka

2009 – Watford, Vicarage Road

Chelsea appeared to be in big trouble in the fifth round of the FA Cup after falling behind to a 69th-minute goal against Watford, but a remarkable individual performance by Nicolas Anelka turned things around in dramatic fashion at Vicarage Road.

With 15 minutes left, Frank Lampard’s corner from the left was flicked on by Branislav Ivanovic towards the far post where the Frenchman with his back to goal, flung himself backwards and hooked the ball into the net with a bicycle kick. Anelka then put the Blues ahead with a header less than two minutes later before completing his hat-trick with a low drive in stoppage time as we won 3-1 and went on to lift the FA Cup for the fifth time.


2017 – Wolverhampton Wanderers, Molineux

Wolves were struggling near the foot of the Championship when we visited Molineux last season but they held out against the Premier League leaders for 65 minutes until a fine team effort finally broke their resistance.

A long ball over the Wolves defence found Diego Costa on the right of the box and the centre-forward played it back from the touchline for Eden Hazard who laid it off in turn for Willian. The home defence had retreated with seven of their players overloading on the right and focussed on the Brazilian as he took possession. However, nobody noticed the diminutive Pedro as he snuck behind the defenders and rose unchallenged at the far post to nod in Willian’s inviting cross to give us the lead in a 2-0 win.