League Cup, Ipswich, Hartlepool, Burton
Swans down Bantams at Wembley
Swansea City won the League Cup final against Bradford City by a record 5-0 scoreline. "A win for Wales and a win for the Premier League," Match of the Day commentator Guy Mowbray said, in his post-match analysis on the BBC Sport website. The fourth-tier team rarely looked like troubling opponents who were never going to take the occasion lightly and it was over as a contest as soon as Nathan Dyer scored his second and Swansea's third a few minutes after half time.
Both Leon Britton and club captain Garry Monk have played in all four divisions for the Swans. Britton said: "I know we keep harping on about it but ten years ago we were fighting to stay in the Football League and look where we are today – in the Premier League and winning our first major honour. We've got to give credit to everyone at the football club. They are an example of how football clubs should be run. Great days like today is what happens if you run the club well."
The Sun went for Capital Swan Strop as their Monday-morning backpage headline, brushing over a first major trophy in a 100-year history – and the first fourth-tier team in a major final since 1962 – in favour of a minor incident where Dyer would have quite liked to score a hat-trick but in the end didn't.
McCarthy not sorry for drawing away
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy said he "wouldn't have bothered getting on the bus" if he had been offered a draw at Huddersfield before the match. Almost 1,000 fans did travel to West Yorkshire and witnessed a 0-0 draw between relegation rivals. "I apologise for the shit standard of game that they've just all watched, but I'm not going to apologise for getting a point away from home – no way. It was important we didn't lose two on the bounce. If we stay up with one point we'll be looking back on this as a great result. I'm a pragmatist, I'm a realist – let's just stay in the league." The result leaves Ipswich 19th, one place and one point above Huddersfield and four points ahead of Wolves in the Championship relegation zone.
The importance of Ipswich staying up this season was underlined by chairman Marcus Evans in his column for the East Anglian Daily Times. "Ipswich is one of the clubs in the Championship that based upon historic figures, have been spending in excess of the soon to be introduced FFP rules," he said. The content of the column has been criticised in the Ipswich fanzine Turnstile Blues.
Hope for Hartlepool in League One
Hartlepool United have somehow given themselves hope of avoiding relegation this season. With just nine points by Boxing Day, all looked over for Pools but four wins and two draws from their last six games, including a 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe on Saturday, have put them a mere eight points from safety. They are second in the form table – behind promotion-chasing Yeovil Town – and three of their next four games are at home. Manager John Hughes said: "I'm delighted about the result, that's us unbeaten in six and we're giving ourselves a real fighting chance. And you can see the supporters, they're starting to believe or they've got a bit of pride back in their club and that's all credit to the players."
Burton unhappy at win
Despite his team winning 4-2 against Exeter City to maintain their automatic promotion place, Burton assistant manager Kevin Summerfield was annoyed by his team's performance. The Brewers were 4-0 up after an hour and are unbeaten in six but Summerfield said: "I would hope we play a little bit more like ourselves on Tuesday. The standards we're setting ourselves, we weren't happy at 3-0. We were saying 'this isn't working', 'that isn't happening' and 'they're not doing this, that or the other'. Hopefully we can get back to that on Tuesday night."
Telford woe continues
Another defeat for Telford United, this time at the hands of Newport County, leaves them rooted to the bottom of the Conference. Having played 35 games, more than anyone else in the division (Ebbsfleet a point above them have played 30), Telford have not won since a 4-1 victory at Dartford on October 9. Manager Mark Cooper said: "The players need to give themselves a chance in a game because I can't do it for them. I can show them the best possible way to get a result, but if they keep conceding goals where the opposition haven't got to work for it, we'll never win a game. There's not too much I can say to the players after that because it's all been said before. It's time for the talking to stop. We can't keep making the same mistakes." Next up are the form team in the division, Mansfield, away. Tom Hocking