Fergie's boy wonder

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The Independent Football

Manchester United may not be defending the trophy but that did not stop their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, celebrating a remarkable FA Cup success yesterday.

Manchester United may not be defending the trophy but that did not stop their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, celebrating a remarkable FA Cup success yesterday.

With his own side sitting out the third round because loftier ambitions prevented them entering the world's oldest football competition, he travelled to watch Wrexham yesterday and saw his son, Darren, score a splendid winning goal as the Second Division side produced one of the day's upsets by beating Middlesbrough 2-1 in North Wales.

Burnley, also in the Second Division, helped to continue the giant-killing traditions of the tournament by bridging the widening gap between the game's haves and have-nots to increase Derby County's current troubles. They won 1-0 away to Jim Smith's struggling Premiership side, with Andrew Cooke scoring the only goal after 62 minutes.

West Ham United, no strangers to FA Cup upsets, came unstuck away to Tranmere Rovers, where Nick Henry scored the only goal ­ his first for the First Division side.

In classic cup style, Tranmere rolled up their sleeves and put their faith in more basic abilities, while West Ham failed to find their subtler touch in the tricky conditions. Tranmere's triumph will not have pleased Middlesbrough either, as they visit Prenton Park on Tuesday for a Worthington Cup quarter-final.

Elsewhere, Chelsea avoided the hazards at Hull City, thrashing the Third Divsion side 6-1 courtesy of a hat-trick by Gustavo Poyet. Darlington, the "lucky losers" who earned a second chance through the bizarre device used to make up for the holders' absence, were out of luck at Aston Villa, losing 2-1.

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