Some things from the weekend ~ 07-01-13
Luton, Oldham, Doncaster, Wimbledon
FA Cup ~ All change at Wolves after Luton defeat
Wolverhampton Wanderers sacked manager Stale Solbakken after losing 1-0 to Luton in the FA Cup third round. The Norwegian has been in the job just six months but, with Wolves lying 18th in the Championship, defeat to non-League Luton spelled the end of his tenure. The only goal of the game came from Alex Lawless just after half time to give the Hatters victory over a team 59 places above them in the league ladder. Luton will now face a trip to Norwich City in the fourth round.
Meanwhile, Wolves are set to appoint Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders as Solbakken's replacement. After the game Luton manager Paul Buckle praised the 9,638 crowd at Kenilworth Road: "I thought we deserved to go through. It was an exciting tie when it came out and certainly lived up to its expectation. Our fans were phenomenal against Wrexham here in the play-offs, it was electric, but I think this topped it. The noise levels were incredible and we just spoke about wanting more of this. This is why I’ve come to Luton, why the players have come to Luton. I didn’t have to come, the players didn’t have to come. We all came because of this."
FA Cup ~ Oldham fightback stuns Forest
Oldham Athletic turned a 1-0 half-time deficit into a 3-2 victory against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. It was Forest manager Alex McLeish's third game in charge since replacing Sean O'Driscoll but he has yet to win. Things were going well when Oldham's Matt Smith turned the ball into his own net on 13 minutes but two second-half goals from Robbie Simpson and a Jose Baxter free-kick sent Oldham through, despite a late Billy Sharp consolation goal. Oldham, lying 19th in League One, will now welcome Liverpool to Boundary Park in the fourth round.
After the match McLeish said: "We were woeful in the second half. We were sloppy in everything we did and paid the penalty for it. We warned the players at half time that they had to be professional in the second half but we had to be a lot better than that. We gave the ball away cheaply, didn't close them down quickly enough and it was all very half-hearted. Their big lad up front [Smith] caused mayhem in the second half and we didn't deal with it. Our centre-halves had to be ugly and rugged to deal with the threat."
League One ~ Doncaster win but lose Saunders
Doncaster Rovers made the most of their game in hand over Sheffield United to move into second place, level on points with leaders Tranmere. Rovers left it late against Colchester United at the Keepmoat stadium, with David Cotterill scoring the only goal of the game in the 84th minute. The defeat was Colchester's eighth in a row in the league, equalling a club record and leaving them just one point above the relegation zone. Doncaster, meanwhile, have lost once in ten matches and whoever they get in to replace the departing Dean Saunders will be eyeing automatic promotion.
In his final post-match interview as Doncaster manager, Saunders said: "Last week's game [against Sheffield United] emotionally and physically took its toll on the players and you could see that today we were a yard short. That's four games without the opposition having even half a chance against us, without scoring a goal they've not had a half chance against us, only long-range shots. That's the Preston game, Sheffield United, who scored from a penalty and a goalmouth scramble and Oldham they didn't get a chance either. So we're defending great and when we don't string it together like today we kept a clean sheet and stayed in the game."
League Two ~ Wimbledon out of the relegation zone
AFC Wimbledon won their second away game in a row and in doing so moved above Plymouth Argyle and out of the relegation zone. The team picked up just two points from their final six league games of 2012 but started 2013 with a 3-2 victory over Torquay United. They followed this up on Saturday with a 1-0 win at Rochdale – their first back to back league wins of the season. Paul McCallum scored the goal after 56 minutes. Rochdale later had Joe Rafferty sent off for two bookings.
Wimbledon manager Neil Ardley said: "With two away games on the trot you'd be happy with four points let alone six. We had a game plan and we worked hard at it. We had a 20-minute spell where the quality flowed and we took our chances. We did it, we got that goal and our fortunes favoured better quality on the ball."
Conference ~ Cambridge continue their climb
Cambridge United extended their unbeaten run to nine league games with a comfortable 4-1 home win against Stockport County. Richard Money's side started December in the relegation zone but they haven't lost in the Conference since a 6-2 mauling at Newport on November 6. Liam Hughes scored twice, his first goals since November 2011, before top-scorer Tom Elliott completed the scoring against his old club with his 13th goal of the season.
Speaking after the win that lifts his side to just three points outside the play-offs, Money commented: "I said on Tuesday you need different types of performances to be successful in this league. Tuesday [a 1-0 win against Braintree] was one, because we had to stand up to a team that was very aggressive and get the all-important goal. Today we thought was going to be a bit more of a football match and that enables us to play our football as well, and when we get it rolling like that we're a handful." Tom Hocking & Matt Ramsay