Chelsea through to FA Cup fourth round with win over Preston, Maidstone stun Stevenage

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Joined: Nov 2016

Chelsea cruised into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Preston North End at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues were made to work hard for their win as The Lilywhites went in level at the interval, but the hosts’ quality told as the visitors tired.

Armando Broja’s glancing header put Mauricio Pochettino’s men ahead on 58 minutes, before substitute Thiago Silva doubled the advantage as he powered home from a corner at the near post eight minutes later.

Broja grazed the top of the bar with another flicked header a few minutes later, and the Albanian striker had another effort cleared off the line by a desperate Andrew Hughes with 20 minutes to go.

Raheem Sterling’s exquisite free kick made it three soon after, as The Blues put the game beyond all doubt.

Enzo Fernandez notched Chelsea’s fourth – and his fourth goal of the season – five minutes from time after neat interplay from Sterling and Moises Caicedo, and the Argentine swept the ball home as it ricocheted to him.

The biggest shock of the third round so far was in Kent, where Maidstone United, of the National League South, stunned League One high-flyers Stevenage 1-0 at the Gallagher Stadium.

Sam Corne’s first-half penalty was enough for Maidstone, managed by former Wolves defender George Elokobi, to progress to the fourth round. They are the lowest-ranked side left in the competition.

Elsewhere, there was no shock at Plough Lane as AFC Wimbledon went toe-to-toe with Ipswich in an end-to-end encounter, but the Championship promotion hopefuls’ quality shone through, with The Tractor Boys running out 3-1 winners after Harry Pell had seen red for the hosts.

Championship table-toppers Leicester City snuck by Millwall as they edged out a thriller 3-2 at the Den, with Tom Cannon striking the winning goal just after the hour, while Bournemouth avoided an upset by coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against a spirited QPR at Loftus Road.

Brighton and Hove Albion also came from behind to beat Stoke City in a banana skin tie, but Roberto de Zerbi’s side showed their class when it mattered, running out 4-2 winners, with goals from Pervis Estupinan, Lewis Dunk, and a brace from Joao Pedro.

Sheffield United ensured that they would not become the FA Cup’s latest Premier League casualty as they professionally swept aside Gillingham 4-0 at Priestfield, as Ben Brereton Diaz, the new signing from Villarreal, made his debut off the bench after arriving the day before.

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