THE FA Cup provided opportunities for our underused goalkeepers with Mark Schwarzer, Brad Jones and Adam Federici all returning to their respective sides.
Elsewhere, forgotten Socceroos Alex Brosque and Brett Holman put in good performances in the United Arab Emirates.
In the FA Cup, Brad Jones made his first appearance of the season for Liverpool, keeping a clean-sheet in their 2-0 win over third-tier Oldham Athletic. James Wesolowski returned from injury, playing a full game in midfield for Oldham.
Mark Schwarzer played a full game in goal as Chelsea beat second-tier Derby County 2-0. Schwarzer struggled with his distribution early in the contest but redeemed himself with assured handling and a decent save from Chris Martin’s strike from a tight angle deep in the second half.
Chris Herd was absent from the match-day squad as Aston Villa were bundled out of the competition following a shock 2-1 loss to third-tier Sheffield United.
Mile Jedinak was rested from the Crystal Palace side that prevailed through to the fourth round with a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Adam Federici made his first appearance since October, playing a full game in goal as Reading lost 1-0 to Brighton. Federici made several excellent saves throughout the contest with the pick of the bunch coming in the first half, tipping Solly March’s thunderbolt onto the crossbar.
Rhys Williams played a full game in the centre of defence as Middlesbrough lost 2-0 to Hull City. Young striker Matt Fletcher was an unused substitute for Hull.
Neil Kilkenny played a full game in midfield as Preston North End earned a replay following a 1-1 draw with Championship side Ipswich Town. Kilkenny impressed in midfield with his distribution and set up Kevin Davies in the first half with the former Bolton Wanderers captain drawing a good save from Scott Loach. Bailey Wright played a full game in defence in the clash.
Shane Lowry played a full game in defence as Millwall copped a 4-1 thumping from fourth-tier side Southend United. Scott McDonald was an unused substitute in the clash.
Alex Cisak was an unused substitute as Burnley lost 4-3 to Southampton.
In League Two, Aaron Downes found the back of the net for Torquay United in their 1-1 draw with Morecambe. Downes opened the scoring on 17 minutes, nodding home his fourth goal of the season from Damon Lathrope’s corner.
In the Scottish Premier League, Tom Rogic was again left on the bench as Celtic thumped St Mirren 4-0.
Dylan McGowan played a full game in defence as Hearts lost 2-0 to Partick Thistle. McGowan was at fault for Thistle’s opener on 14 minutes, failing to deal with a long ball and being out-muscled by Lyle Taylor who finished past Jamie McDonald.
Jackson Irvine was missing through illness as Kilmarnock lost 1-0 to Aberdeen.
In Greece, Apostolos Giannou was absent through injury as Panionios drew 0-0 with Creta.
In the Greek Third Division, Billy Konstantinidis continued his excellent form with a goal as Panserraikos drew 2-2 with Aris Akropotamos.
In the UAE, Brett Holman starred for Al Nasr in their 5-1 win over Dubai Club. Holman, who was involved in the game’s opener, set up Habib Fardan Abdualla on 71 minutes before rounding out the result on 82 minutes with a deft chip over the advancing ‘keeper after a clever one-two with Ibrahima Toure.
Alex Brosque found the back of the net for Al Ain in their 3-0 win over Al Wasl. Brosque scored the final goal in the clash, firing a neat finish across the ‘keeper after a clever flick from Omar Abdulrahman. Milan Susak played a full game in defence for Al Wasl.
Billy Celeski was absent from the match-day squad as Al Shaab lost 2-0 to Al Wahda.
In Iran, Iain Fyfe was absent from the match-day squad as Mer Kerman drew 2-2 with Saipa Karaj.