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Arsenal 5 - Gillingham 2

GILLINGHAM bowed out of the FA Cup at the fifth round stage after a rip-roaring cup tie at Highbury. Arsenal dominated and went close as early as the fifth minute when Kanu ghosted past two defenders and smashed a left foot shot, which Bartram parried and the defence scrambled away.

Iffy Onuora pulled a shot just wide then Edu fired over from close range. Sylvain Wiltord hit the bar with a lovely curling shot in the 23rd minute before Edu tested the woodwork again with another thunderous drive.

King dragged a shot just wide before the Gunners took the lead seven minutes before the break. Arsenal broke quickly as Gills were on the attack. Patrick Vieira played the ball left to Francis Jeffers and his shot was again well saved by Bartram but Wiltord was on hand to poke the ball home.

Gills needed to bounce back soon after the interval and they did just that.

Paul Shaw intercepted Ray Parlour's pass and slid a perfectly weighted ball into Marlon King and he smashed a shot past Richard Wright. Kanu restored Arsenal's lead two minutes later after Bartram failed to deal sufficiently with Edu's free kick and Kanu produced a deft lob to make the score 2-1.

But Gooden restored parity in the 54th minute when he beat Sol Campbell to the ball and lashed a tremendous left foot volley over Wright and into the top corner.

Kanu, Wiltord and sub Thierry Henry all brought great saves from Bartram before the Gunners took the lead again. Robert Pires' cross was met by Tony Adams who brushed Mark Patterson to head powerfully into the corner from close range.

Pires was also involved in Arsenal's fourth when he found Wiltord who had his initial shot saved but he tucked the rebound away with Pires clearly in an offside position. Ray Parlour added the fifth two minutes from time when he produced a stunning volley with the outside of his right foot from Wiltord's cross.

Gills were well beaten but certainly weren't disgraced.

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