With 10 ties falling victim to the weather the potential for shocks in the third round of the FA Cup was considerably reduced. That did not deter Third Division Leyton Orient, who went to the south coast, trailed 1-0 at half-time to First Division Portsmouth but staged a spectacular recovery after the break to dispose of Graham Rix's side 4-1.
There were fine draws, too, for First Division Barnsley, who held Blackburn Rovers of the Premiership 1-1 at Oakwell and for Third Division York City, who drew 0-0 at First Division Grimsby Town.
At Fratton Park Orient, who beat Lincoln City and won at Second Division Bristol City to get this far, were under pressure from the start and fell behind in the 12th minute when their defender, Dean Smith, only passed fit on the morning of the match, bundled Courtney Pitt's left-wing cross into his own net under pressure from Peter Crouch.
"We were a bit in awe of Portsmouth in the first half," Paul Brush, the Os' manager, said, "but we know you get nothing for losing 1-0 in the FA Cup so we went for it."
And how. Three minutes after the restart Smith atoned for his error to equalise with a clever free-kick, just past the hour Steve Watts capitalised on a mistake by goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi and his 12th goal of the season put the east Londoners ahead. Wayne Gray drove in his fourth goal in four matches to put the visitors 3-1 up and in the five minutes of added time, Iyseden Christie completed Pompey's humiliation.
"To say I'm disappointed is an understatement," Rix, whose job security has been in question for some weeks, said. "I'll keep working and giving 100 per cent but that's more than can be said for some of the lads today. We made schoolboy errors."
At Oakwell, the Steve Parkin effect continues to thrive as Barnsley held Blackburn to make in eight games unbeaten. Craig Hignett, Rovers' former Tyke making only his fourth start of the season, had the best first-half chances, three of them, to break the deadlock. His first shot grazed a post, Chris Barker blocked the second and Kevin Miller in the Barnsley goal was equal to the third.
Then, after 76th minutes, the Tykes took the lead thanks to Darren Barnard's 30-yard right-foot screamer. They were ahead for all of six minutes, Hignett glancing in the 82nd-minute equaliser to take the tie back to Ewood Park.
"He took his chance well," the manager Graeme Souness said of Rovers' saviour. "That has been missing from our game – somebody taking half-chances." Rovers had not scored for almost six hours.
Grimsby had been given the relatively simple task of beating York, although the Third Division side had already eliminated two sides from a division above them in Reading and Colchester. York started the brighter and stayed on top for most of the match, thoroughly deserving their second crack at the Mariners. "We will settle for penalties to get through if we have to," Terry Dolan, York's proud and pragmatic boss, said.
Two all-First Division ties ended in 1-0 wins. At Molineux, Wolves, third in the First, could not find a way through mid-table Gillingham's resolute defence and had no answer when Paul Shaw tucked away the Gills' winner. Next for Andy Hessenthaler's side? "Someone like Newcastle or Arsenal would be nice," he mused. "If we get a decent draw it would help us bring in a new player or two because there's no money at the moment."
Finally, at Bramall Lane Sheffield United dominated possession for most of the 90 minutes against Nottingham Forest but it took a Michael Brown 20-yard shot 10 minutes from time to win the tie for the Blades.Reuse content