Classic FA Cup Third Round ties


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The Independent Football

The FA Cup third round takes place this weekend with the 'big boys' entering at this stage of the world's oldest club competition.

The Third Round weekend is always one of the highlights of the season, and this year should be no different with the mouth watering tie of the round Manchester City v Manchester United to look forward to.

As we look forward to the weekend's action, we remember some classic Third Round ties:

Hereford 2 Newcastle 1

We begin with perhaps the most famous of them all. Southern League side Hereford had earned an astonishing 2-2 draw at St James' Park in February 1972, forcing the game to a replay. Although they were given little chance of emulating that feat in the reverse fixture.

In a game blighted by bad weather, it looked as though things were following the form book when Newcastle took the lead.

But Hereford had other ideas and after growing stronger as the match progressed, Ronnie Radford equalised with a 40-yard thunderbolt to take the game into extra time. Then Ricky George hit the winner.

Manchester United 0 Leeds 1

Once it was only the Pennines that separated these two old rivals. But since relegation from the top flight in 2004, Leeds fans could only look over the mountains with envy as United went from success to success.  So when the FA Cup pitted the sides against each other, it gave Leeds a rare opportunity to put one over their rivals, although very few expected them to do so, including the majority of the 9,000 travelling fans who packed into Old Trafford.

Yet a first-half strike from Jermaine Beckford, followed by much desperate defending ensured a memorable giant-killing.

Manchester United 0 Exeter 0

2005 and another Third Round tie featuring Manchester United, although on this occasion they didn't lose, but only just.

Victory looked a certainty when the Red Devils were drawn at home to the Nationwide Conference side but an appalling display by United meant that had trainee Andy Taylor not squandered two chances this would be the most famous third-round tie on the list.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team won the replay 2-0, but even that couldn't shed the embarrassment inflicted by the first game.

Sutton 2 Coventry 1

Coventry arrived in Surrey just 18 months after winning the 1987 FA Cup and at the time were riding high in the top flight. It appeared to be a case of 'no contest' against the non-league team.

But they were left stunned as Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan became the goalscoring heroes for a team fashioned by English teacher Barrie Williams.

The match is notable for being the last time a non-league team beat a team from the top tier of English football.

Shrewsbury 2 Everton 1

Languishing near the bottom of the Football League in early 2003, Shrewsbury came up against an Everton side pushing for a place in Europe and featuring a 17-year-old called Wayne Rooney.

But two goals from Nigel Jemson turned the Toffees sour. He smashed home a 38th-minute free-kick and then, after substitute Niclas Alexandersson had levelled on the hour, glanced an 89th-minute header past Richard Wright to seal a famous victory.

But that was the only highlight of the season for Shrewsbury, who were thrashed in the next round by Chelsea and then relegated to the Nationwide Conference that May.

Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 0

We go back a few years to 1984, but return to the record books of Manchester United.

While back then they may not have been the force of today, United were still the holders of the FA Cup when they came up against Third Division Bournemouth in the Third Round.

Goals from Milton Graham and Ian Thompson sent the Red Devils crashing out - the first of a trio of shock cup exits to a team managed by Harry Redknapp.

Wrexham 2 Arsenal 1

Another classic FA Cup tie. In 1992 Arsenal were the reigning league champions while Wrexham were bottom of the old fourth division. There could only be one outcome at the Racecourse Ground.

Arsenal took the lead through Alan Smith but, with 10 minutes to go, 37-year-old Mickey Thomas unleashed a 25-yard free-kick past David Seaman for the equaliser.

The Welsh side could sense an upset and Steve Watkin popped up late on to score the winner and send their illustrious opponents crashing out.

Liverpool 8 Swansea 0

Swansea recorded an impressive 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Vetch Field in 1990, earning a replay at Anfield three days later.

Was it possible that the third-tier outfit could upset the all-conquering Liverpool again? It turned out they couldn't, instead recording a record cup defeat for the club.

Ian Rush was the stand-out player for Liverpool, netting three goals for the home side.

Liverpool 1 Reading 2

After escaping with a draw from the Madejski Stadium, it was assumed home advantage and Liverpool’s superior quality of players would ensure their progress to the next round.

Against the run of play, Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool the lead. Reading continued to push and were rewarded for their perseverance when they were awarded a penalty in injury time. Gylfi Sigurdsson coolly slotted the penalty and the game went to extra-time. And then Sean Long bagged the winner for the visitors and the hosts were unable to reply – with the boos ringing out from the Kop at the final whistle.

West Brom 2 Woking 4

Woking of the Isthmian League stood little chance when they travelled to play Second Division West Brom at The Hawthorns, although they did have an international player among their ranks.

Step forward computer operator Tim Buzaglo, who had represented Gibraltar at cricket before trying his hand at football. Perhaps not the most intimidating credentials, but Buzaglo scored a hat-trick in this 1991 Third Round tie, departing with the match ball and leaving the Baggies humiliated.

This was just the start of a bad year for West Brom, who would sack manager Brian Talbot a few days later and find themselves relegated at the end of the season. Woking were defeated 1-0 by Everton in the next round.