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Anelka hat-trick puts Chelsea into sixth round

  • Story Highlights
  • Nicolas Anelka scores hat-trick as Chelsea beat Watford in FA Cup fifth round
  • Tamas Priskin had given second-flight Watford the lead in the 69th minute
  • Four other FA Cup fifth round ties on Saturday all end in stalemate
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(CNN) -- A hat-trick from Nicolas Anelka helps Chelsea come from behind to see off second-flight Watford 3-1 to reach the sixth round of the FA Cup.

Anelka's hat-trick turned the match Chelsea's way at Vicarage Road.

Anelka's hat-trick turned the match Chelsea's way at Vicarage Road.

The post-Luiz Felipe Scolari era briefly looked set to begin with an embarrassing defeat when Tamas Priskin gave outclassed Watford a shock lead in the 69th minute.

Chelsea had totally dominated on a bumpy pitch at Vicarage Road, but were still level after a combination of poor finishing and desperate defense.

In a rare Watford attack, Priskin beat the offside trap and his shot deflected over Petr Cech and into the net.

But Anelka, who had hit the post in the first half, hooked home a clever overhead kick from Chelsea's 15th corner of the match in the 75th minute.

Chelsea poured forward and Anelka headed the second from Ashley Cole's cross just a minute later.

The Blues had an almighty scare in stoppage time as Cech was forced to make a last-ditch save from Jobi McAnuff before Anelka completed his hat-trick with a clever low shot after being set up by Salomon Kalou.

Guus Hiddink, who takes full charge after Saturday's match, watched from the stands with club owner Roman Abramovich, leaving assistant Ray Wilkins to direct the team.

The Dutchman replaced Scolari who paid the price for recent indifferent results for Chelsea who have slipped off the pace in the Premier League title race and will be looking for the FA Cup and Champions League as their best chance of silverware.

Saturday's other four ties ended in draws, the tone set by Swansea's 1-1 draw at home to Fulham in the early kickoff.

Second flight Swansea outplayed the Premier League side for long periods at the Liberty Stadium and were unfortunate to fall behind to a first half own goal.

Justice was done after the break as Jason Scotland equalized with a low shot with the home side continuing to press until the final whistle.

Another Championship side Coventry also covered themselves in glory at Blackburn, who needed an injury-time equalizer from Christopher Sampa to secure a replay after a 2-2 draw.

Roque Santa Cruz gave Blackburn a second-minute lead, but Coventry hit back with goals by Aron Gunnarsson in the 61st and Michael Doyle in the 76th minutes.

Sheffield United also gave Premier League Hull City problems in 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane.

Greg Halford gave the home side the lead in the seventh minute but Kamil Zayette equalized for Hull in the 34th.

The all-Premier League clash between Middlesbrough and West Ham also ended in a 1-1 stalemate.

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England international Stewart Downing put Boro ahead with his first of the season, but West Ham through Herita Ilunga as he headed home with seven minutes left at Upton Park.

Premier League leaders Manchester United are playing at second-flight Derby on Sunday with Everton hosting Aston Villa in an all-Premier League clash.

On Monday, Arsenal entertain Cardiff in a fourth-round replay which fell victim to the heavy snow in England with the winner facing Burnley.

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