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FA Cup specialist Zola was surprised to hear of record

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

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BURTON Albion striker Calvin Zola said he was unaware of his remarkable FA Cup goalscoring run, which has now seen him find the back of the net in his last six games in the competition.

The 27-year-old dumped former club Crewe Alexandra out of this season’s competition by scoring the only goal of the game in the second round tie at Gresty Road on Saturday with just five minutes on the clock.

The strike continued his remarkable record of having scored in every FA Cup match he has played in for the Brewers, while he also found the net in his last outing in the competition for the Railwaymen before his move to the Pirelli Stadium — a 3-2 defeat at York City in November 2009.

A surprised Zola said after extending that run: “Is that what it is?

“I don’t really look at that, but obviously that sounds nice!

“I wasn’t aware of that but, obviously, I’m just happy scoring some goals and helping the team out.

“This time around it kind of meant a bit more because it was against my old team and that’s the kind of record you set yourself.

“I mean, it’s fantastic and why not now keep it going and see where that takes us?”

Zola admitted it was great to be able to have the last laugh after being on the receiving end of some boos when he name was read out before the start of the game.

However, he said it was more important for him that Albion got the win rather than proving any kind of point on his return to Crewe.

“You get some stick, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything too bad.

“I never really took any notice at all,” he said.

“It’s part of the game, but we had the last laugh.

“Obviously, the win was fantastic, you know, coming back to your old team, it’s always nice to get a win.

“It meant a lot because it gets us through to the third round and we don’t know, anything can happen — we can get a big one.

“I’m just happy we got the win and we’re through to the next round.”

Before learning they would travel to LeicesterCity for the second time this season, the 6ft 3ins striker was hoping the third round draw would give him the opportunity to extend his FA Cup scoring run on a big stage.

Zola’s latest goal — his ninth of the season having finished top scorer with 15 in the 2011/12 campaign — was one of his easiest as he headed into an empty net after Crewe goalkeeper Alan Martin had come, and failed to get, right-back Anthony O’Connor’s cross from the right.

Said the striker: “To be fair, I wasn’t sure if he (Martin) was going to come or not, but I just kept my eyes on the ball and when I saw him coming and didn’t get it, I just tried to hit the target really.

“As a striker, you just need to get on the end of things and that’s what I did today, and it turned out to be the winning goal.”

Zola was the only recognised striker in the Brewers’ 4-3-3 line-up, with Jacques Maghoma and Jordan Chapell entrusted with providing him with enough support, as well as midfielder Robbie Weir and Chris Palmer, and the striker was delighted with how the system worked.

“We created a few chances,” he said.

“You know, we kind of defended quite a bit as well, so we were trying to play on the counter, and it worked for us.

“We knew they were always gonna have a lot of possession because of the way that they play and we tried to keep our discipline and try and get on the counter and try and create some chances.

“That’s what we did and we were unfortunate that we hit the woodwork, and if we had have scored a second one maybe it would have been a bit easier at the end because they’re chasing the game and were putting us under pressure.

“We defended extremely well and we just got the win and now we’re through.

“We’ve played this formation before during the season and it’s worked for us, and with the players we have, we’ve got players who can run more or less all day and, as a striker, you never felt you were by yourself up there because as soon as the ball went up there it seemed the likes of Robbie (Weir), Palms (Chris Palmer), Macca (substitute John McGrath), Mags (Jacques Maghoma) and all of them came to support, which is a very good thing.

“They worked hard and all credit to them and a formation like that paid off against a team like Crewe today.”

Zola now hopes the Brewers can maintain their form ahead of Sunday’s League Two clash with Accrington Stanley at the Pirelli Stadium, having gone into the Crewe clash on the back of disappointing defeats at the hands of Aldershot Town and Wycombe Wanderers.

He said: “We were looking for a reaction and now we want to build from that and try to take that kind of performance into the next league game.”

In the biggest clash of the second round, MK Dons stunned AFC Wimbledon with an injury-time winner to triumph in the first ever meeting of the two sides.

Jon Otsemobor's outstretched foot nicked a winner in a dramatic finale.

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