Forest, Everton move into FA Cup fourth round after troubled week

Nottingham Forest and Everton shrugged off the threat of a potential Premier League points deduction as they battled into the FA Cup fourth round on Wednesday.

Forest survived a scare to beat third-tier Blackpool 3-2 after extra-time, while Everton were 1-0 winners against Crystal Palace in another of the night’s third-round replays.

It was a welcome tonic for Forest and Everton, who were both referred to an independent commission by the Premier League on Monday after admitting to breaches of financial rules.

The alleged breaches of the league’s profitability and sustainability rules relate to the 2022-23 season and could carry a points penalty as punishment.

With Everton and Forest currently embroiled in a relegation battle, that would plunge their top-flight status into severe doubt.

Everton have already been deducted 10 points this season for exceeding the allowable loss thresholds at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

The Merseyside club are appealing against that sanction, which ranks as the biggest points sanction in Premier League history.

Blackpool gave Forest a huge scare before Nuno Espirito Santo’s side finally advanced to the last 32.

Andrew Omobamidele put Forest in front with a close-range volley in the 16th minute after Nicolas Dominguez’s corner was flicked on by Ryan Yates.

Omobamidele was making his Forest debut after signing from Norwich in September.

Danilo doubled Forest’s advantage just 53 seconds after the interval.

– Gomes lifts Everton gloom –

Blackpool keeper Daniel Grimshaw made a hash of clearing Albie Morgan’s wayward backpass and Danilo swooped in with a close-range finish.

Morgan made amends for his role in that debacle when he lashed into the top corner from 18 yards in the 61st minute.

With Forest suddenly creaking, Kyle Joseph equalised in the 78th minute with a header from Andy Lyons’ cross.

But New Zealand striker Chris Wood settled Forest’s nerves in the 110th minute, turning in the winner from Yates’s cross.

“We had to do it ugly again. We made it hard for ourselves,” Wood said.

Forest will travel to second-tier Bristol City, who enjoyed a shock victory against West Ham on Tuesday.

Everton kept their focus amid the FA intervention as they saw off Palace at Goodison Park.

Their first win in all competitions since December 16 earned a home game against Luton in the fourth round.

Andre Gomes smashed a 20-yard free-kick past Johnstone to give Everton the lead in the 42nd minute.

It was Everton’s first goal since December 27 after three scoreless outings.

Remarkably, it was also Everton’s first goal from a direct free-kick in 197 games dating back to 2019.

“These bits of news coming out are tough. Tough for the Evertonians, tough for the club and tough for myself and the team,” Everton boss Sean Dyche said of the financial breaches.

“The mentality has been resolute all season, the way the players are going about it. We still looked solid, and energised and found a way to win the game.”

Norwich clinched a fourth-round trip to Liverpool as the Championship side survived a scare to win 3-1 at Bristol Rovers.

Rovers, 11th in League One, took a surprise lead in the replay through Luke McCormick’s low drive from the edge of the area in the 20th minute.

But Gabriel Sara bagged Norwich’s equaliser in the 53rd minute, Adam Idah converted a penalty six minutes and Kenny McLean’s 87th-minute rocket put the result beyond doubt.

Facing Liverpool means a reunion between Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his friend David Wagner, the German boss of Norwich.

“I haven’t checked my messages yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jurgen has already been in touch now we’re through,” said Wagner, who was a team-mate of Klopp at Mainz and best man at his wedding. BSS

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