FA CUP RECAP – BLACKPOOL AND CRAWLEY SHOCK PREMIER LEAGUE OPPOSITION, TOTTENHAM EASE PAST MARINE
FA Cup third-round weekend is one of the highlights of the footballing calendar, and although there were no fans present to provide the magic this year, there was no shortage of upsets.
30 games were played across Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the biggest upset in terms of league position came at Victory Park as Chorley saw off a depleted Derby side.
Elsewhere, League One Blackpool beat West Brom on penalties and Tottenham put five past eighth-tier Marine to end the Merseyside club’s fairytale run.
Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United
Marcelo Bielsa was nominated for FIFA’s Coach of the Year award recently, but his Leeds side were beaten comfortably by John Yems’ Crawley in Sussex.
Although the hosts’ preparations may have been affected by speculation surrounding top scorer Max Watters with a move to the Championship, Yems ensured that didn’t affect their performance.
Premier League Leeds made seven changes, including starts for youngsters Jamie Shackleton and Ian Poveda, and after a strange triple substitution at the break from Bielsa, they fell apart.
Nick Tsaroulla had only made four league appearances for the Red Devils, so he probably would’ve been as surprised as anyone when he opened the scoring with an excellent solo effort.
Ashley Nadesan doubled the lead moments later, before Jordan Tunnicliffe wrapped up Crawley’s progression as they look to match their runs to the fifth round from 2011 and 2012.
Chorley 2-0 Derby County
The big story in the build-up to this one was Derby having to field an entire team of youth players after a covid-19 outbreak at the Pride Park club.
It was mostly U18 players, with a couple of U23s, the most notable of which being former Liverpool man Bobby Duncan.
Despite that, Derby’s academy is arguably better than Championship level as the club participated in the UEFA Youth League last season and have produced several of their current first-team players, such as Louie Sibley and Jason Knight.
National League North Chorley had played Football League clubs in the FA Cup in two of the last three seasons, an experience which might have helped them in their victories against League One sides Wigan and Peterborough.
The run had also spurred the Lancashire side onto better form in the league, going eight unbeaten at one point, so they would’ve been confident going into one of the biggest games in their history.
Although Derby’s inexperienced eleven, led by Pat Lyons, gave it their all, goals from Connor Hall and Mike Calveley saw the sixth-tier side beat an EFL outfit for the third round in a row.
Blackpool 2-2 West Bromwich Albion (3-2 pens)
Sam Allardyce’s return to management hasn’t gone as he would’ve hoped so far, and despite fielding a strong team at Blackpool, his West Brom side had to come from behind twice and eventually lost on penalties.
The Baggies had lost their last three home games for the concession of 12 goals, all under Allardyce, and took on a Blackpool side struggling for consistency in the third tier.
Jerry Yates’ close-range strike gave the Seasiders the lead, before a header from Semi Ajayi levelled things up.
A well-taken goal from the boot of veteran striker Gary Madine made it 2-1 to the hosts, with Matheus Pereira’s penalty sending it to extra time.
Pereira stepped up again in the eventual shoot-out, and missed the decisive spot-kick, which saw Blackpool come through 3-2 on penalties.
Marine 0-5 Tottenham Hotspur
Statistically the biggest mismatch in FA Cup history went the way of the overwhelming favourites as Tottenham saw off Marine 5-0.
It was a quintessential cup trip for the Premier League high-flyers, visiting a ground overlooked by terraced houses, missing just one thing, 2,000 locals supporting their team.
Neil Kengni was inches away from a thunderous opener for the hosts, but a spell of four goals in under 15 minutes soon afterwards saw Spurs through to round four.
A quickfire double of tap-ins from Carlos Vinícius was followed by a free-kick from Lucas Moura and an exquisite lob from the man on loan from Benfica to complete his hat-trick.
16-year-old Alfie Devine completed the scoring to seal a comfortable win for Tottenham, but it was a night that the people of Crosby will remember for the rest of their lives.
Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Doncaster Rovers
Blackburn are the top-scorers in the Championship this season, but couldn’t find a way past Doncaster at Ewood Park.
Darren Moore’s Rovers produced a minor upset against the side 17 places above them in the pyramid thanks to a low strike from Taylor Richards just before half-time.
Tony Mowbray fielded a strong side, with the returning Bradley Dack taking his place alongside promising youngsters Tyrhys Dolan and Ben Brereton.
Although the hosts had 20 shots, just 2 were on target, and Doncaster debutant Ellery Balcome helped his side to an impressive result and a second fourth-round appearance in three years.