Premier League strugglers Wigan and Blackburn were the topflight casualties in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday with Tottenham and Everton avoiding major upsets against low-ranking opposition in world football’s oldest knockout competition.
Argentinian midfielder Jonas Gutierrez scored the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Newcastle snatched a 2-1 victory over Blackburn in one of the round’s two all-Premier League matches.
Fourth-tier Swindon — managed by former West Ham forward Paolo Di Canio — rallied to beat Wigan 2-1 at the County Ground in the day’s biggest giantkilling act, while Bolton and Queens Park Rangers required late equalizers to seal replays against lower-league sides Macclesfield and MK Dons.
Tottenham, which is third in the Premier League, avoided the mightiest upset by easing past fourth-tier Cheltenham 3-0 thanks to goals by attacking trio Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Giovani dos Santos.
There will be no non-league teams in the fourth round after Tamworth, Fleetwood and Salisbury all lost.
Everton beat 2-0 Tamworth after goals by defenders Johnny Heitinga and Leighton Baines and fellow fifth-tier team Fleetwood was thrashed 5-1 by northwest rival Blackpool. Salisbury, which at 16th in the sixth-tier Conference South was the lowest-ranked club left in the competition, was defeated 3-1 at Sheffield United.
United States midfielder Clint Dempsey scored a hat trick in Fulham’s 4-0 home win over Charlton, Ireland striker Simon Cox did the same for West Bromwich Albion in a 4-2 win at Cardiff City while Premier League teams Stoke and Norwich also progressed.
Liverpool beat Oldham 5-1 on Friday, with the match of the round coming on Sunday when Manchester City and Manchester United — the Premier League’s top two teams — meeting in a derby at Etihad Stadium.
With Wigan manager Roberto Martinez making nine changes to his team to give his top players a rest from their exertions in the Premier League relegation battle, Swindon took full advantage to add the latest episode of magic to the famous competition.
Callum McManaman put the visitors ahead in the 35th minute but Swindon came from behind thanks to strikes by Alan Connell and Matt Ritchie.
“This is what I remember FA Cup ties being like,” Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray said. “We had a chance to play our football and we won it on merit. Absolutely superb.
“Next round, let’s hope it is (a) Manchester (team) away.”
Blackburn and its manager Steve Kean can also focus all their energy on staying on the Premier League after surrendering a lead given to the team by David Goodwillie in the 35th minute.
French playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa equalized for Newcastle, a six-time winner of the competition, in the 70th with a superb solo goal before Gutierrez nicked the win after exchanging passes with Leon Best.
Newcastle was without key players Demba Ba, who has scored 15 goals in the Premier League this season, and Cheick Tiote as they are away on international duty at the African Cup of Nations.
Iceland striker Heidar Helguson scored QPR’s last-minute goal to salvage a 1-1 draw at third-tier MK Dons, who went ahead through Dean Bowditch in the 65th.
David Wheater was Bolton’s savior against Macclesfield at Moss Rose, heading in a 77th-minute free kick to earn the Premier League’s third-from-bottom team a 2-2 draw.
FA Cup Third Round Results:
Birmingham 0, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Barnsley 2, Swansea 4
Brighton 1, Wrexham 1
Coventry 1, Southampton 2
Crawley Town 1, Bristol City 0
Dagenham & Redbridge 0, Millwall 0
Derby 1, Crystal Palace 0
Doncaster 0, Notts County 2
Everton 2, Tamworth 0
Fleetwood Town 1, Blackpool 5
Fulham 4, Charlton 0
Gillingham 1, Stoke 3
Hull 3, Ipswich 1
MK Dons 1, Queens Park Rangers 1
Macclesfield 2, Bolton 2
Middlesbrough 1, Shrewsbury 0
Newcastle 2, Blackburn 1
Norwich 4, Burnley 1
Nottingham Forest 0, Leicester 0
Reading 0, Stevenage 1
Sheffield United 3, Salisbury 1
Swindon 2, Wigan 1
Tottenham 3, Cheltenham 0
Watford 4, Bradford 2
West Bromwich Albion 4, Cardiff 2
Bristol Rovers 1, Aston Villa 3