* Laboured Tottenham draw 0-0 at Stevenage, Bolton await
* Liverpool hammer Brighton 6-1 and next meet Stoke
* Everton drawn at home to Sunderland
(Adds Liverpool win)
By Mark Meadows
LONDON, Feb 19 This season's FA Cup
favourites Tottenham Hotspur were held to a 0-0 draw at third
tier Stevenage on Sunday but Liverpool laid their claim to be
the real frontrunners with a 6-1 fifth-round thrashing of
Brighton & Hove Albion.
Liverpool, whose win came thanks to an early Martin Skrtel
goal, a neat Andy Carroll finish, three own goals and a late
Luis Suarez header, next host last term's runners-up Stoke City
in the quarter-finals after they prevailed 2-0 at Crawley Town.
Spurs, third in the Premier League and with coach Harry
Redknapp tipped to take over England, produced a lethargic
display with three centre backs and had to settle for a replay
at White Hart Lane next month.
Louis Saha had the ball in the net but his shot clipped an
offside Scott Parker on the line to sum up a bad day for Spurs,
the best-ranked team left in the Cup after holders Manchester
City lost in an earlier round like Manchester United.
Gareth Bale had a superb shot tipped around the post by
Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day, a Spurs fan who started his
career at the north London club.
"At the end of the game it got stretched and we were on the
front foot. I think we did our homework, they had possession but
we had a couple of chances," Day told ITV.
"(The replay) will be a long shot, it will be first time
I've been down there this year without having to pay to get in,"
Joel Byrom had two decent efforts for a hard-working
Stevenage on a bumpy pitch and they now have the carrot of a
home tie with Bolton Wanderers in the quarter-finals on March 17
or 18 to urge them on in the replay on March 7.
London's three big clubs have struggled in the fifth round
with Arsenal being eliminated by Sunderland - who next visit
Everton - and Chelsea scraping a 1-1 home draw with Birmingham
City on Saturday with Leicester City awaiting in the last eight.
Liverpool, facing Cardiff City in next Sunday's League Cup
final, took a fifth-minute lead when Skrtel headed in Steven
Gerrard's corner but a Kazenga LuaLua cracker from a free kick
brought second tier Brighton level.
Liam Bridcutt conspired to put into his own net twice on 44
and 71 minutes either side of striker Carroll, starting with
Gerrard and Suarez for the first time, finishing with aplomb to
silence critics of his lacklustre form.
A comical Lewis Dunk own goal and a close-range header from
Suarez, who earlier missed a penalty having been included
despite his non-handshake with Patrice Evra last week, completed
the rout against his Uruguayan compatriot Gus Poyet's side.
Next opponents Stoke had a man harshly sent off early but
then scored a controversial penalty as they saw off fourth
Jonathan Walters converted the 42nd-minute spotkick, after
Ryan Shawcross had gone to ground having barely been touched by
Kyle McFadzean, before Peter Crouch headed a second after
halftime to end a personal goal drought.
Rory Delap was sent off in the 16th minute for a studs-up
challenge, the kind of tackle which has prompted much debate in
England this season with referees deeming them dangerous but
players saying they are just trying to win the ball.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis, angered that Crawley manager Steve
Evans had jumped on to the pitch to protest to referee Mike
Jones, told ESPN he was "really irked" that there is such a
discrepancy between tackles given reds and those that are not.
Crawley, who lost 1-0 at Manchester United at this stage
last season when they were a non-league side, almost took an
early lead when the ball hit Crouch and crashed against the
(Additional reporting by Mike Collett in Stevenage, England,
editing by Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story