Ed Aarons was at Stadium MK. This is his report on a good evening for Brendan Rodgers, who continues to turn Leicester’s season around.
Louise Taylor was at St James’ Park. Here’s her take on another positive step forward for Eddie Howe.
Ben Fisher was at Molineux tonight. Here’s his report of a winning start for Julen Lopetegui.
The full-time scores
Milton Keynes Dons 0-3 Leicester City
Newcastle United 1-0 Bournemouth
Southampton 2-1 Lincoln City
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Gillingham
That was proper Devon Loch behaviour from Aberdeen. They had the winning post in sight, only for Roos, Stewart and Richardson to make elementary mistakes deep into injury time that allowed Scott Arfield to slam home twice from close range! Hats off to Rangers for keeping going, and their late, late, late, late, late show keeps them hanging onto Celtic’s coat-tails by the fingernails. The title race not quite kaput yet, even if Ange Postecoglou’s side remain firmly in control of it. A breathing space for Michael Beale to work with. A sickener for Aberdeen, though. They lost late here to Celtic at the weekend, which was bad enough, but this one will really hurt.
FULL TIME: Aberdeen 2-3 Rangers
Aberdeen were this close to their first win at Pittodrie over Rangers since 2016 … and now look! What an astonishing end to the match! It’s not quite up there with the World Cup final in terms of jaw-dropping drama, but domestic football is back, baby!
GOAL! Aberdeen 2-3 Rangers (Arfield 90 +7)
Tilman worms his way down the right and dinks to the far stick. Stewart and Richardson get in each other’s way as they try to head clear under pressure from Morelos. The ball drops to Goldson, who tries to control with his chest, but can’t. The ball breaks to Goldson’s right, where Arfield is on hand to bash home again! What drama here!
90 min +6: That equaliser has sucked the air out of Pittodrie. The fans gutted. But the team haven’t given up. A free kick launched into the Rangers mixer. The ball breaks to Ramadani, who fires a sensational low drive inches wide of the left-hand post from 25 yards. Had that been on target, there was no way McGregor was getting there. And what drama here, because …
GOAL! Aberdeen 2-2 Rangers (Arfield 90+5)
Kent is allowed to cut in from the right and pearl a shot goalwards from the edge of the D. Roos parries but spills on the line. Arfield reacts quicker than anyone in red, and slams home the loose ball from six yards!
90 min +3: Tavernier clumsily clatters Scales as Rangers attempt to pin Aberdeen back, and Aberdeen are gifted an opportunity to run down the clock.
90 min +2: There will be seven added minutes, incidentally.
90 min +1: Make that nine, as Watkins – who scored in Inverness Caley Thistle’s 2015 Scottish Cup final victory – is cautioned for delaying the restart as McGregor tries to take a free kick. No reds, though, which for this fixture is saying something.
90 min: Arfield becomes the eighth player to go into the referee’s notebook tonight.
89 min: The scorer of the winner the last time Aberdeen beat Rangers in the league at Pittodrie? James Maddison, back in 2016.
87 min: Rangers continue to achieve nothing. The home fans are giving it plenty.
85 min: Aberdeen seem happy to sit back and let Rangers have the ball. No wonder. The visitors are doing precious little with it.
To the last knockings at Pittodrie, then. Seven minutes plus stoppages to go, with Aberdeen leading 2-1. Rangers need a couple of goals to keep their title hopes in any sort of realistic shape, and even then you wouldn’t back them to hunt down leaders Celtic unless Bealeball kicks in quicksmart. But here we go.
FULL TIME: Newcastle 1-0 Bournemouth
The scoreline flatters Bournemouth. Newcastle were utterly dominant, and ease through to the last four.
FULL TIME: Southampton 2-1 Lincoln
Saints should have won by more: Edozie misses an open goal from six yards, then Adams over-elaborates when looking for his hat-trick, with team-mates either side waiting to be teed up for a tap-in. Farcical finishing, but Saints survive and go through to the quarters.
FULL TIME: Wolves 2-0 Gillingham
A winning start for Julen Lopetegui, though Wolves’ new manager doesn’t look particularly happy with his team as he sulks off down the tunnel. Never mind, Wolves are in the last eight!
FULL TIME: MK Dons 0-3 Leicester
Never in doubt. Leicester are the first team into the quarters. The MK Dons can concentrate on their League One relegation battle.
GOAL! Wolves 2-0 Gillingham (Ait-Nouri 90+1)
It’s all over bar the shouting at Molineux. The Gills pile forward in the hope of forcing a penalty shoot-out, but they’re caught on the break and Ait-Nouri sends a forensic diagonal daisycutter into the bottom right from just inside the box.
It very nearly threatens to spill over at Pittodrie. Lundstrum is in the middle of it, having blootered the ball into the prone Watkins, a needlessly aggressive and provocative act. Just a yellow, which is fairly lenient. Richardson also makes his way into the book for his role in the resulting stramash.
Rangers haven’t done a whole lot since falling behind. In the dugout, Michael Beale quietly fumes as he surveys the signal lack of light-blue action on the pitch.
GOAL! Wolves 1-0 Gillingham (Jimenez 77 pen)
The dam finally bursts at Molineux. A corner is swung into the Gillingham box from the right. Hwang is bundled over and the referee points to the spot. Jimenez rolls cutely into the bottom right, having surely studied all those cheeky efforts during the World Cup finals.
GOAL! Southampton 2-1 Lincoln (Adams 74)
Walcott works his way down the right and crosses deep. Elyounoussi attempts a spectacular scissor kick towards the bottom right. It’s cleared off the line, but Adams is on point to bundle the rebound home. Fine team goal!
GOAL! Aberdeen 2-1 Rangers (Clarkson 53)
Aberdeen haven’t beaten Rangers in 13 attempts, but they’re on their way tonight at Pittodrie! Clarkson takes a touch to control a loose ball on the edge of the Rangers D, and whistles a wonderful shot into the bottom right, McGregor given no chance. Pittodrie erupts!
GOAL! Newcastle 1-0 Bournemouth (Smith og 67)
Trippier romps down the right touchline. He whips long. Wilson competes aerially six yards out, his presence forcing Smith to loop a header into his own net. Right into the top right. Senesi tries in vain to hook clear off the line but can’t manage it. The Toon take one tiny step closer to their first major domestic trophy since 1955!
Wolves come close again against Gillingham. Traore speeds his way down the right and whips into the mixer for Costa, who opens his body and sidefoots a powerful volley inches wide of the right-hand post.
They’re underway at Pittodrie again. Aberdeen are looking to come from behind to beat Rangers for the first time since 1988, the days of Alex McLeish, Willie Miller, Jim Bett and Charlie Nicholas. That’s some run they’d snap.
It’s been all Newcastle at St James’ Park, so naturally it’s Bournemouth who nearly take the lead early in the second half. Smith powers his way down the right and digs out a fine cross from a tight spot. Moore, steaming in from the left, meets it with a fine diving header. His effort flashes inches wide of the bottom right. Had that been on target, it would have registered at least eight out of ten on the Houchen-Gvardiol-o-meter.
A lull all over the land. “So, I’m watching the Newcastle-Bournemouth match on ESPN+,” begins Joe Pearson. “Half-time comes and I think I’ll check out the Guardian. What’s this, a Clockwatch? Take a day off, man!” Hey, soccer never stops. You’ll join me on the MBM for Manchester United v Burnley tomorrow night, right?
GOAL! MK Dons 0-3 Leicester (Vardy 50)
Castagne makes his way down the right and reaches the byline before dinking back for Vardy, who steers a header across Cumming and into the bottom left. The 1964, 1997 and 2000 winners are strolling towards the quarter-finals.