Non League Chorley march on, Blackpool, Crawley take Premier League scalps


The Emirates FA Cup took centre stage this weekend, with the Third Round taking place, and the big boys have now joined the competition, let’s have a look and see who made it through and who crashed out…

Friday January 8

Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 4

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Crystal Palace 0

Two all Premier League ties kicked off the Third-Round weekend, although it was only in name at Villa Park as the hosts entire senior squad were self-isolating following several positive Covid-19 tests.  It meant their side was made up of players from their U23 and U18 squads, and when Liverpool went ahead with just four minutes on the clock after Sadio Mane got in between two defenders to head home a Neco Williams cross, you feared for the young Villa outfit.

The expected floodgates did not open though and incredibly the home side levelled four minutes before half time after Louie Barry ran half the length of the field to slot home following a sensational ball though by Callum Rowe.  Liverpool though retook the lead on the hour mark after Georginio Wijnaldum guided an effort into the bottom corner, and it was quickly three for the visitors when Xherdan Shaqiri crossed for Mane who looped a header home.

And it was three goals in five minutes after Mo Salah added a fourth as the Reds cruised through to Round Four.  A massive pat on the back for Mark Delaney’s side though who performed admirably.  And over at Molineux Wolves edged their tie at home to Palace thanks to an absolute rocket from Adama Traore ten minutes before the break to see the boys in Gold and Black progress into the next round.

Saturday January 9 – Lunchtime matches

Boreham Wood 0 Millwall 2

Everton 2 Rotherham United 1 (aet)

Luton Town 1 Reading 0

Norwich City 2 Coventry City 0

Nottingham Forest 1 Cardiff City 0

Chorley 2 Derby County 0

There were six ties to get Saturday’s Third Round action underway, Millwall saw off National League side Boreham Wood, The Championship visitors took the lead just past the half-hour mark after Scott Malone cut in and teed up Kenneth Zohore for a simple finish, and then with just over fifteen minutes to go sealed their passage into Round Four after Shaun Hutchinson rose highest to head home a Malone corner.

Everton needed extra time to see off Rotherham at Goodison, The Toffees grabbed an early lead after Cenk Tosun produced a neat finish after latching onto a neat through ball from Anthony Gordon, but the Championship strugglers fought back to level early in the second period after Matthew Olosunde swivelled and guided an effort into the bottom corner. Everton thought they had won it late on when Tosun reacted quickest to latch onto a cross and poke home, but VAR intervened and ruled it out for offside, and The Millers were handed a cup lifeline.

The Premier League side though were not to be denied though and won it early on in extra time after Abdoulaye Doucoure produced a neat finish past Blackman.  Luton saw off Reading at Kenilworth Road thanks to a lovely finish from George Moncur after being found by James Bree just past the half hour mark, and two early goals from Kenny McLean and Jordan Hugill saw Norwich into Round Four at the expense of Coventry.

Norwich took a sixth minute lead after a great pass from Todd Cantwell allowed Kenny McLean to slot home, and it was quickly two for the Canaries after an excellent ball from Przemyslaw Placheta found Jordan Hugill who converted.

Forest saw off Cardiff at The City Ground after Lyle Taylor volleyed home a cross from Gaetan Bong in just the third minute, but the story of the early games came from Lancashire as Chorley saw off Derby to reach Round Four.

The National North side had already knocked out Wigan and Peterborough to reach this stage, and yes Derby had to field an academy side after the entire first-team squad were unavailable due to Covid reasons, but you can only beat what is in front of you, and it was the non-league side who grabbed the lead after ten minutes when Connor Hall nodded home after a corner had not been dealt with by the visitors. And they sealed their passage into the next round with six minutes to go after Mike Calveley volleyed home from close range and see Chorley’s fairy-tale continue. Marvellous.

Saturday January 9 – Afternoon matches

Blackburn Rovers 0 Doncaster Rovers 1

Blackpool 2 West Bromwich Albion 2 (aet; Blackpool won 3-2 on penalties)

Bristol Rovers 2 Sheffield United 3

Burnley 1 Milton Keynes Dons 1 (aet; Burnley won 4-3 on penalties)

Exeter City 0 Sheffield Wednesday 2

Oldham Athletic 1 AFC Bournemouth 4 (tie was switched to the Vitality Stadium after Boundary Park pitch was frozen)

Queens Park Rangers 0 Fulham 2 (aet)

Stevenage 0 Swansea City 2

Stoke City 0 Leicester City 4

Wycombe Wanderers 4 Preston North End 1

Onto the afternoon kick offs then, and League One Doncaster knocked out Championship Blackburn at Ewood Park, Taylor Richards with the only goal of the game, his fizzing effort went through the hands of keeper Aynsley Pears, whilst there was a big shock at Broomfield Road as League One Blackpool dumped Big Sam’s West Brom out of the cup.

The Tangerines grabbed the lead four minutes before the break when Jerry Yates tapped home a Bez Lubala cross, but five minutes into the second period West Brom levelled after Semi Ajayi headed home a cross from Kamil Grosicki. But midway through the second period the hosts retook the lead after another great move on the break, finished off by Gary Madine, however, with eleven minutes to go the Baggies won a penalty after Grosicki’s cross struck the arm of Oliver Turton, and Matheus Pereira made no mistake from the spot, sending the tie into extra time.

With no goal’s forthcoming in the extra half hour, penalties were required, and the hosts won the shootout to progress.  Another struggling Premier League side did manage to get through though, Sheffield United saw off Bristol Rovers in an epic battle at The Memorial Ground, It began perfectly for The Blades after Lys Mousset rose to send a looping header over Day, but the hosts levelled thanks to a superb header from Alfie Kilgour, rising highest to power past Aaron Ramsdale after a free kick was swung in.

The visitors though managed to retake the lead when Oliver Burke beat the offside trap after a pass from John Fleck and finish with aplomb, but the Gas hit back for a second time after a flick on was buried from close range by Max Ehmer three minutes later.

The Blades though when down the other end and restored their lead once again after Burke set up Jayden Bogle for a close-range finish, and this proved enough for Chris Wilders side to net their first win of the season in their 19th attempt. There was almost a massive shock at Turf Moore too as MK Dons came within seconds of knocking out Burnley before the hosts eventually won through on a shootout, the League One visitors stunned their Premier League opponents when Cameron Jerome nodded home after a flick-on from Scott Fraser against the run of play, but they thought they were down to ten just before half time when Richard Keogh was sent off for handball, but VAR overturned the decision, so MK Dons still had eleven to play with.

And for so long it looked as though visiting keeper Lee Nicholls heroics would keep the Premier League hosts at bay, but right at the death The Clarets broke through after Matej Vydra slid in at the far post to poke home and take the tie to extra time. It saw MK boss Russell Martin sent off by Jon Moss after the managers complaints at full time, meaning he would be missing from the dugout for the extra half hour, emotions were running high you could say.

With no goals in the extra time period it went to penalties, and Burnley held their nerve to squeeze through. Down in the South West and Wednesday saw an Adam Reach goal plus a late Callum Paterson effort enough to send the through.

Reach produced a great finish just before the half hour mark, and then with Exeter throwing men forward late on The Owls sealed the deal when Paterson wrapped up the win on the break. Bournemouth saw off Oldham in what was an away game at home after the tie had been switched due to issues with the Oldham pitch, and The Cherries grabbed the lead when David Brooks saw his effort from the edge of the box find the net via a deflection, but Oldham quickly levelled courtesy of a well-taken spot-kick from Dylan Bahamboula.

Bournemouth though restored the lead early in the second period when Rodrigo Riquelme poked home a low cross, and then increased that lead when Joshua King rose to head home. And they added a fourth goal when King netted again, netting a low drive across the keeper. The West London derby at Loftus Road went the way of Fulham although they needed extra time to see off QPR.

After a goalless ninety minutes Fulham finally found the breakthrough courtesy of Bobby Decordova-Reid in the 104th minute, playing a one two with Aleksandar Mitrovic before firing home, and then like buses you wait for one goal and then two come along at once as Fulham sealed their passage into the next round a minute later after Neeskens Kebano smashed home at the near post.

Swansea City saw off Stevenage at The Lamex, The Swans grabbed a seventh minute lead when Wayne Routledge headed home a cross from Yan Dhanda, and then five minutes after the break doubled their lead after a ball whipped in by Jordan Garrick was flicked home by the head of Viktor Gyukeres. Stevenage had the chance to reduce the arrears but saw Luke Norris’ penalty saved, and the Championship side progessed, whilst Leicester netted four as they cruised past Stoke in the Potteries.

The Foxes edged in front eleven minutes before the break when left back James Justin cut past two defenders before whipping a wonderful effort into the top corner, and then on the hour mark they doubled their lead with a lovely goal, as Youri Tielemans opened up the Stoke defence with a lovely pass for Marc Albrighton who chopped back onto his left foot and finished well. Leicester then saw Ayoze Perez net a third with eleven minutes remaining before adding a fourth with nine to go through Harvey Barnes.

And finally, for the 3pm starts Wycombe thrashed Preston at Adams Park, the hosts grabbed an early lead after Fred Onyedinma headed in a Admiral Muskwe cross, and it was two for the home side after nine minutes when Joe Jacobsen converted from the spot, and the hosts then went three goals up in twenty five minutes after Josh Knight slotted home after a pass from Jason McCarthy.

Preston did pull one back two minutes before the break though when Emil Riis Jokobsen converted a penalty, this after he had been brought down by keeper Ryan Allsop, but Wycombe sealed the deal with nine minutes to go when substitute Alex Samuel finished off a slick team move

Saturday January 9 – Evening matches

Arsenal 2 Newcastle United 0 (aet)

Brentford 2 Middlesbrough 1

Huddersfield Town 2 Plymouth Argyle 3

Manchester United 1 Watford 0

Onto Saturday’s evening games now, and holders Arsenal needed extra time to see off Newcastle at The Emirates.  After a poor goalless ninety minutes, which saw Emile Smith-Rowe given a straight red in stoppage time for what looked like a dangerous challenge on Longstaff, replays told a different story, and so the decision was downgraded to a yellow on a VAR review, rightly so too, the game went to extra time, and it was Smith-Rowe who broke the deadlock in the 109th minute as Ciaran Clark mis-controlled coming out of defence, giving the ball away to Saka who dinked a ball towards the box, Lacazette, who had just come on, headed it into the path of Smith-Rowe who fired brilliantly across goal and in off the post.

And four minutes from the end of the extra time period Arsenal sealed their passage into Round Four as Kieran Tierney played a ball to Granit Xhaka who returned a ball into his path and he squared for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who converted from close range.  Over in West London Brentford edged through against Middlesbrough at The Community Stadium, The Bees grabbed the lead in the 34th minute courtesy of Halil Dervisoglu after he fired home through a huddle of bodies, but four minutes into the second period Boro levelled when a cut back found substitute Sam Folarin unmarked to smash home.

The Bees though retook the lead when Sam Ghoddos danced past a defender before curling coolly into the bottom corner, and that proved enough to send them into Round Four, and League One Plymouth saw off Championship Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in what was a decent game.

The Terriers grabbed an early lead against The Pilgrims when Romoney Crichlow-Noble flicked a corner in at the near post, Argyle though levelled it up midway through the first half when Luke Jephcott threaded a ball through to Ryan Handle who raced into the box and coolly slotted home.

The hosts though retook the lead just past the half-hour mark thanks to a screamer from Aaron Rowe, but Plymouth fought back to level again three minutes before half time as Danny Mayor teed up Panutche Camara to lift into the roof of the net.

And with twenty minutes remaining the visitors netted the winner after Joe Edwards poked home following a great run and cross from Mayor. And in the final game of Saturday Manchester United edged past Watford at Old Trafford to reach Round Four, skipper Scott McTominay met a corner and headed into the ground before seeing it pop up and in off the inside of the post after just four minutes for the only goal of the contest.

Sunday January 10 – Afternoon matches

Barnsley 2 Tranmere Rovers 0

Bristol City 2 Portsmouth 1

Chelsea 4 Morecambe 0

Cheltenham Town 2 Mansfield Town 1 (aet)

Crawley Town 3 Leeds United 0

Manchester City 3 Birmingham City 0

Onto Sunday’s action and six early games saw Championship Barnsley see off League Two Tranmere at Oakwell, after a goalless opening forty-five minutes Barnsley grabbed the lead just before the hour mark thanks to a nice header from Michal Helik, and The Tykes sealed the deal and their passage into Round Four when Cauley Woodrow netted from the spot deep into added on time.

Another Championship outfit Bristol City saw off Portsmouth at Ashton Gate, City took the lead on twenty minutes thanks to a wonderful strike from Famara Diedhiou, but Pompey levelled in first half stoppage time after Andrew Cannon pulled a neat pass back across goal for Callum Johnson to place into the far corner.  City though netted the winner with seven minutes remaining thanks to a superb strike from Chris Martin.

Chelsea put their league struggles aside for a day as they brushed League Two Morecambe aside at Stamford Bridge, it took the Blues eighteen minutes to break through Morecambe’s back line as birthday boy Mason Mount whistled a twenty-five-yard effort into the bottom corner, and the hosts made it two just before the break as Timo Werner grabbed his first goal in two months with a simple tap in. Chelsea added a third four minutes into the second half after Callum Hudson-Odoi screwed a shot beyond Mark Halstead, and the Blues added a late fourth through a Kai Havertz header.

In the all League Two tie at Whaddon Road, Chelthenham Town came from behind to see off Mansfield Town, The Stags went in front after three minutes after Jordan Bowery pulled a ball back to the edge of the box for Stephen McLaughlin to lash home first time, but with just over fifteen minutes left Cheltenham levelled after Alfie May buried a great finish into the corner.

It meant the game went to extra time, and ten minutes from the end of that period Cheltenham grabbed the winner after William Boyle headed in a Ben Tozer long throw. There was an almighty shock at The Broadfield Stadium as League Two Crawley stunned Premier League Leeds, after a goalless first period the League Two side went ahead early in the second period after Nick Tsaroulla turned his marker, ran into the box, beat another defender then fired an effort into the far corner, it was his first-ever senior goal, what a time to do it.

And two minutes later Crawley had another as Ashley Nadesan was played in down the right and his pace took him into the box before he squeezed an effort in at the near post and the shock was well and truly on. And incredibly Crawley made it three with just over twenty minutes to go when after a Nadesan effort was saved, Jordan Tunnicliffe was on hand to smash the loose ball into the roof of the net. Leeds had well and truly crumbled in the second half and were well beaten in the end, remarkable stuff from the League Two side.

And up in the North West Man City brushed aside Birmingham at The Etihad, it took City just eight minutes to break through Birmingham’s defences after a wonderful finish from Bernardo Silva, and on the quarter, hour mark he had his second of the afternoon, finishing off after some more wonderful football from the home side, it looked like it would be a very long afternoon for the Championship visitors. And twelve minutes before the break City added a third when Foden fired a low strike into the bottom corner, and this proved to be the end of the scoring as City breezed through to Round Four.

Sunday January 10 – Evening matches

Marine 0 Tottenham Hotspur 5

Newport County 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (aet; Brighton & Hove Albion won 4-3 on penalties)

The two Sunday evening ties began with the most anticipated one being Northern Premier Division One North West Marine hosting Premier League Spurs at their Marine Travel Arena, and with 160 places between the sides in the footballing pyramid, it was the largest gap between two sides in the competitions history.

How would the hosts cope with what was a strong visiting line up packed full of international caps? Well, Marine made a good start and cracked an effort against the bar, but midway through the first half Spurs did find a way through when good work by Dele Alli saw him cross to Carlos Vinicius who eventually rounded keeper Bayleigh Passant and smashed over the line. And just before the half hour mark Spurs made it two when Alli was involved again, crossing for Matt Doherty who forced a great save out of Passant, but the ball went straight into the path of Vinicius who smashed home from a yard out.

Two became three on 32 minutes when Lucas Moura curled home a beauty of a free-kick, and the Premier League side had netted three times in nine minutes.  And Spurs had a fourth eight minutes before half time as Vinicius had himself a first-half hat-trick after he lifted a lovely finish over Passant, and you felt at this stage how many would Spurs get?

A fifth Spurs goal arrived around the hour mark when 16-year-old Alfie Devine cut inside and fired an effort in at the near post on his debut and became the youngest ever scorer in Spurs history, but the hosts competed well and kept it to five and although they now exit the competition they have done themselves proud not just in this game but in the competition as a whole, they were only the second side from the eighth tier to reach this stage of the cup, so well done to Marine FC.

The final game on Sunday saw League Two Newport hosts Premier League Brighton, and the Seagulls thought they had snatched a late late win when Solly March curled home a beauty in the 90th minute, but, this is the magic of the FA Cup, and Newport did not accept it was over and they forced extra time after levelling six minutes into added-on time and it was all Brighton’s undoing too, as keeper Jason Steele flapped at a cross and it hit his own defender Adam Webster and ricocheted into the net, unbelievable.

Newport looked done, they had not played since boxing day, but they managed to find something, but now had another half hour to try and battle through, but the hosts dug to take the tie to penalties.  It was the first time Newport had been involved in a shoot out in the FA Cup, and what a dramatic one it was, and Brighton keeper Steele made amends for his error which cost Brighton the win in normal time by saving four penalties in the shoot-out, and Webster, who scored the own goal, netted the winning penalty as the Premier League visitors managed to squeeze through in the end.  A great effort by Newport but sadly for them, it ended with them going out.

Monday, January 11

Stockport County 0 West Ham United 1

The final Third Round tie of the weekend came from Edgeley Park as National League Stockport County took on Premier League West Ham, and in very tough conditions the visitors managed to squeeze through when they netted the winner seven minutes from time after Jarrod Bowen whipped a cross in and Craig Dawson lumbers up late to meet it and sends a smashing header down and in.  The Hammers were made to work very very hard for their win though and The Hatters could be very proud of how well they how done in this one.

The only Third Round tie not to take place this weekend was Southampton v Shrewsbury Town at St Marys.  This was postponed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the visitor’s camp and they did not have enough players to raise a side consequently. A decision will be made in due course as to what happens regarding this tie.

Here is the Fourth and Fifth Round ties that were drawn earlier this evening…

FA Cup fourth-round draw

Cheltenham Town v Manchester City

Bournemouth v Crawley Town

Swansea City v Nottingham Forest

Manchester United v Liverpool

Southampton/Shrewsbury v Arsenal

Barnsley v Norwich

Chorley v Wolves

Millwall v Bristol City

Brighton v Blackpool

Wycombe v Tottenham

Fulham v Burnley

Sheffield United v Plymouth

Chelsea v Luton

Stockport/West Ham v Doncaster

Brentford v Leicester

Everton v Sheffield Wednesday

FA Cup fifth-round draw

Fulham/Burnley v Bournemouth/Crawley Town

Manchester United/Liverpool v Stockport/West Ham or Doncaster

Sheffield United/Plymouth v Millwall/Bristol City

Chorley/Wolves v Southampton/Shrewsbury or Arsenal

Barnsley/Norwich v Chelsea/Luton Town

Everton/Sheffield Wednesday v Wycombe/Tottenham

Swansea City/Nottingham Forest v Cheltenham Town/Manchester City

Brentford/Leicester v Brighton/Blackpool

Tie of the round comes from Old Trafford as Manchester United host Liverpool, those two currently occupy the top two spots in the Premier League, whilst Chorley, the only non-league side now left in the competition, host Premier League Wolves.  And League Two Cheltenham Town welcome Manchester City to Whaddon Road, so that will be a big day for them no doubt.  Fourth Round ties take place over the weekend of 23-24 January, and the Fifth Round is scheduled for 9-11 February.  Will be back with the Fourth Round Review in two weekend’s time…

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