The FA Cup third round means the threat of an upset is a real one for those sides facing lower league opposition this weekend. Plenty of teams from the first and second tier face tricky ties over the course of the weekend and to get us in the mood for the weekend’s action, Tom Powell has picked out his top five FA Cup upsets from years gone by…
In the third round back in 1989 it was Division One Coventry City who were on the wrong end of one of the biggest giant killings in FA Cup history as they crashed out against non-league Sutton United.
Two seasons before, Coventry had been the giant killers themselves as they lifted the trophy at the expense of Tottenham but after 42 minutes here they were 1-0 down Sutton captain Tony Rains had given his side the lead.
Parity was restored seven minutes into the second half as Welsh international David Phillips leveled matters and it looked as if the Sky Blues’ class would see them through. But the non-league side had different ideas and were ahead again on the hour mark as Matthew Hanlan struck.
They held on for half an hour to record the biggest win in their history. Their FA Cup run came to an abrupt end in round four as they were beaten 8-0 at Norwich.
When Division Four side Wrexham were drawn against First Division champions Arsenal in the FA Cup third round back in 1992, it looked a formality that the Gunners would be cruising into round four. However, events at the Racecourse Ground did not go to plan for the heavy favourites.
Things began well for the North Londoners. Alan Smith gave them a 1-0 half-time lead after sliding in Paul Merson’s cross two minutes before the break and although it wasn’t pretty, Arsenal led 1-0 with eight minutes to play and looked destined to win.
Mickey Thomas’ left foot rocket of a free-kick leveled matters going into the final five minutes before 20-year old forward Steve Watkin capitalized on Tony Adams’ error to hook the Welsh side into the lead with time running out.
A pitch invasion followed the final whistle and Wrexham were through to round four.
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This FA Cup quarter-final meeting provided us with a real Roy of the Rovers moment (or should it be Roy of the Wanderers) as Division Two Wycombe overcame Premier League Leicester to reach the last four of the tournament thanks to a late goal from Roy Essandoh.
The 25-year old forward was only at Wycombe on a two-week contract having been signed a week earlier following an appeal on Ceefax from Essandoh’s agent to Leicester manager Lawrie Sanchez needing a fit, non-cup tied striker for this match.
Essandoh started the match on the bench and watched on as Paul McCarthy headed Wycombe into a second half lead before Muzzy Izzet responded with an equalizer 23 minutes from time. Sanchez was then sent off and forced to watch the match on a small screen deep within Filbert Street but did witness the momentous moment when, deep into injury time, Essandoh headed home to prove the romance of the cup was alive and well.
Can Wycombe pull off another shock this weekend as they host Premier League side Aston Villa? Check out the betting here...
The FA Cup is no stranger to upsets in the final, the 1988 final proved that as Wimbledon beat Liverpool thanks to Lawrie Sanchez’s goal and Dave Beasant’s penalty save, but the 2013 final was perhaps even more of a giant killing, despite Wigan and Man City both being Premier League sides.
Man City were heavy, heavy favourites heading to Wembley. They’d beaten Chelsea in the last four, and not conceded a goal prior to that during their run to the semi-finals. City huffed and puffed all match, always on the front foot but never managing to break down Wigan’s stoic wing back formation and things turned on their head with six minutes to go.
Pablo Zabaleta picked up his second yellow card to give the underdogs the belief they could go on and win the match and win the match they did with Ben Watson flicking home Shaun Maloney’s corner in the first minute of injury time.
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Chelsea host Scunthorpe in this year’s third round and the Football League side should be watching and rewatching tapes of the Blues’ demise at the hands of League One Bradford City in last year’s fourth round as inspiration.
Stamford Bridge would have been more relaxed than ever when Ramires converted Mohamad Salah’s pass to put the Premier League side 2-0 up following Cahill’s opener on 21 minutes. Even after Jon Stead had pulled a goal back four minutes from the break there would have been little need to panic.
However, the sides were all square with 15 minutes to go after Felipe Morais side footed home to set alarm bells ringing before Andy Halliday completed the comeback with eight minutes to go. Onlookers could scarcely believe what they were seeing and there was more to come from Phil Parkinson’s side as Mark Yeates latched onto Stead’s back heel to etch Bradford’s name in FA Cup folklore.
Can Scunthorpe take inspiration from Bradford when they visit the Bridge this weekend? Betting for the match is here...