Player of the Round: Peter Crouch (Stoke City)
Maybe not the name you’d expect to see winning things like this these days, but Peter Crouch rolled back the years at the Lamex Stadium, netting a hat-trick as Stoke City cruised past League Two side Stevenage and safely into the hat for the Third Round with a 4-0 victory.
Crouch opened the scoring for the Potters on fourteen minutes, finally bundling the ball into the net after Jonathan Walters saw his header hit the underside of the crossbar.
Crouch had a good opportunity for his second in the first-half, but his header went narrowly past the post.
He did still bag his second though, three minutes after the break, heading in at the back post, a trademark Crouch goal.
The big man sealed his first hat-trick for six years with an acrobatic volley with twenty minutes to go, securing a 4-0 rout for the visitors.
Team of the Round: Northampton Town
After defeating Championship outfit Barnsley in the first round, the Cobblers managed to go one better this time out, as they claimed a Premier League scalp, knocking out Tony Pulis’ West Brom.
Despite going in front through a bullet-header from centre-back Zander Diamond, Northampton later on found themselves behind to the Baggies; after James McClean and Gareth McAuley had turned it around for the visitors.
They had to show their character to be able to level it up if they were to have any chance in reaching the third round for the first time since 2011. They did just that, and got their just reward on 82 minutes when Alex Revell pounced, and netted his second goal for the club to send it to extra-time.
Still, there was nothing to split the two sides in the extra thirty minutes, and the tie went to penalties.
In the shoot-out Northampton rode their luck as John-Joe O’Toole had his spot-kick saved. But Saido Berahino’s abysmal miss and James Morrison’s weak penalty presented the chance to Kenji Gorre to send the League One side through – which he duly did, coolly slotting into the corner, sending Boaz Myhill the wrong way.
Not the most stylish of wins, but it’s the cup, who cares. Winning is all that matters – I imagine that’s definitely the view of manager Rob Page.
Goal of the Round: Phil Bardsley (Stoke City)
On a night and in a round where stunning goals were going in left right and centre, it was a surprise who managed to come up with the best, defender Phil Bardsley.
It might have been Crouch who took all the headlines from Stokes win, but he was outdone on one front, as the right-back scored the goal of the game and the round.
The Scot – who’s last goal also came in this competition in last season’s quarter-final, a 2-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday – wasn’t closed down after he cut inside onto his left foot, before deciding to have a pop at goal, eventually seeing the ball fly over Jamie Jones in the Stevenage goal and into the top corner. Unstoppable!