the weekend's top performers

Team of the Week

January 24, 2010
By Chris Murphy
(Archive)

Jermaine Beckford may have stolen the headlines with his brace but Casper Ankergren's first-half heroics kept Leeds United in their fourth round tie with Tottenham. The Dane had made excellent saves from Niko Kranjcar and Jermain Defoe in a frantic first five minutes before Spurs were awarded a penalty. Defoe stepped up but Ankergren flew to his left and parried away to safety. Another fine stop from Gareth Bale followed before half-time.

Jermaine Beckford, Leeds United
GettyImagesJermaine Beckford faces a big step up having played in League One last season

The first of our three goalscoring defenders is Bolton's Gretar Rafn Steinsson who helped to fire the Trotters to their first win under new boss Owen Coyle. The Icelandic international embodies the tireless work ethic demanded at the Reebok and showed he's not short of confidence in the opposition's box either after slotting home the opener from a tight angle.

Wolves have Ronald Zubar to thank for preserving their run in the FA Cup as he rescued a draw with Crystal Palace at Molineux on Saturday. The Championship side were heading for a famous victory before the Frenchman pounced on a loose ball in Palace's box and rifled an unstoppable flying volley into the roof of the net to secure a replay for the Premier League strugglers.

Matthew Etherington gave FA Cup debutant Francis Coquelin a torrid time down the left flank, and Craig Eastmond didn't fare much better once his youthful Gunners colleague was replaced. Etherington's delivery is sometimes suspect, but it was spot on against Arsenal, and epitomised by his cross for Dean Whitehead in the dying minutes that secured the win.

Southampton ended Roy Keane's FA Cup dream at St Mary's on Saturday, where full-back Wayne Thomas scored the finest goal of his FA Cup career to date. His thunderbolt from 30 yards put the Saints one up against Ipswich and laid the foundations for the League One side to dump the Championship-dwelling Tractor Boys out of the competition.

Jerome Thomas ran Newcastle ragged for the second time in a week as Roberto Di Matteo's West Brom side thrashed their Championship rivals, with a smidgeon of help from referee James Linnington. Thomas' pace troubled Ryan Taylor long before the defender hauled him down in the box to concede a penalty, then the winger sealed the game with a goal after a loose ball fell to him in the box.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's great FA Cup run continued as he added a goal against Burnley in round four to his penalty at Anfield in round three. The Reading midfielder could have scored a couple before his eventual winner in the 87th minute but he took a perfect touch before slotting coolly past Brian Jensen and completing another giant killing.

In all likelihood Zoltan Gera will never again have to visit Accrington Stanley's Crown Ground in a playing capacity; a thought that almost undoubtedly fills his Hungarian heart with joy. The Cottagers winger helped his side emerge victorious from their tricky tie in Lancashire though, with a flick on for Erik Nevland's first goal and clinched a third late in the game. Despite Darren Kempton's best efforts, he managed to walk out of the ground unaided too, after a challenge that was the very definition of "spicy."

It's no wonder Portsmouth are struggling financially if players like John Utaka are on £80,000 a week, as was rumoured this weekend. Still, he did at least add to his one solitary goal this season against Sunderland. He outmuscled Phillip Bardsley to nod Pompey an equaliser in the first-half before racing clear to seal the game with a tidy finish in the second.

Jermaine Beckford picked up at White Hart Lane where he left off at Old Trafford by ruffling the feathers of the Premier League's big boys. A constant thorn in Tottenham's side, he poked home Leeds' first equaliser from close range and then showed great composure after winning a 96th minute penalty to slot it into the top corner and force a replay.

Ricardo Fuller
GettyImagesRicardo Fuller celebrates his goal for Stoke.

Ricardo Fuller presumably rubbed his hands with glee when he saw a certain Sol Campbell listed on Arsenal's team sheet. The big centre forward wasted little time in making his mark, nodding Rory Delap's long throw into the net after only a minute had elapsed. He headed his second after a superb run and cross from strike partner Mamady Sidibe with Campbell showing every inch of his 35 years.

Who better to marshal our side to a cup triumph than Reading's caretaker (but surely not for long) manager Brian McDermott? After Liverpool were vanquished in the third round at Anfield, McDermott can add Burnley to his list of Premier League scalps after Gylfi Sigurdsson's fine goal handed the Royals a last-gasp win at the Madejski Stadium. Not bad for a man who only picked up the managerial reins back just over a month ago is it?