Wilshere wins it for Gunners

Jack Wilshere wheels away after scoring the goal to send Arsenal through

Jack Wilshere wheels away after scoring the goal to send Arsenal through

First published in National Sport News © by

Jack Wilshere fired Arsenal into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a superb late winner in a 1-0 win over Swansea at the Emirates Stadium.

The England midfielder - out for more than a year with ankle and knee injuries before returning to action this season - capped a man-of-the-match display to finally beat inspired Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm with a 20-yard strike on 86 minutes to set up a trip to Brighton and keep alive hopes of Arsenal's first trophy since 2005.

The Gunners were much improved from the lacklustre 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat to Manchester City on Sunday and, but for a combination of poor finishing and brilliant defending, would have had the replay wrapped up well before Wilshere's fine late effort.

Arsenal opened up full of the kind of movement which had been lacking against City. Theo Walcott darted down the right and cut the ball back across goal for Oliver Giroud, who headed wide and then lashed an effort into the sidenetting.

Swansea looked to strike on the counter, with Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen having to make a timely block as Nathan Dyer broke into the area. The visitors almost snatched the lead after 26 minutes when Wayne Routledge whipped the ball in and former Gunner Kyle Bartley got above the Arsenal defence to crash a header off the crossbar.

In first-half stoppage time, Walcott's corner rebounded back to Vermaelen in the six-yard box and his shot was booted off the line by Vorm.

Slowly the Arsenal fans inside the crowd - with 58,359 given as the 'tickets sold' figure - cranked up the temperature as Giroud flashed a header across the face of goal from a corner. Wilshere's shot was then blocked by Vorm and Walcott's rebound was kept out by Danny Graham on the line with the Arsenal striker claiming handball.

Walcott was soon away again down the left but after turning Chico inside out, he could only skew his shot wide rather than curling the ball into the far corner. Arsenal continued to press and Wilshere's 20-yard drive was beaten away by Vorm, who then collected a scuffed effort from Giroud.

In a rare moment of action at the other end, Chico headed a corner into the side-netting.

Walcott failed to connect with Bacary Sagna's deep cross, which bounced back off the inside of the far post, but Vorm was eventually beaten with just four minutes to go when Giroud touched the ball off to Wilshere at the edge of the area and he lashed a left-foot shot into the back of the net.

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