The competition’s 3rd round commenced on Friday.
The FA Cup, since it’s inception really, has been subject to the odd cup upset. There have been plenty of famous FA Cup incidents over the years, including; Wrexham’s victory over Arsenal in 1992, Histon’s win against Leeds in 2008 and Tottenham Hotspur – who were non-league at the time – lifting the cup in 1901.
Last Friday marked the beginning of the FA Cup 3rd round, otherwise known as the stage where clubs from the top 2 division in English football enter the competition.
There were plenty of “David vs. Goliath” encounters in the 3rd round. The most notable of the bunch featuring 2019 Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur against 8th tier outfit Histon.
Here are the biggest shocks of the 2020/2021 FA Cup 3rd round.
CRAWLEY TOWN 3-0 LEEDS UNITED
Arguably the biggest upset of the round came as League Two outfit Crawley Town defeated Premier League side Leeds United.
64 places separated the two teams going into the match. That fact clearly didn’t phase Crawley as they came out with a highly impressive 3-0 win.
Nick Tsaroulla opened the scoring in the 50th minute with an incredible solo goal. He ran with the ball from well outside the box, swivelling past several defenders in the process before blasting into the bottom corner.
Ashley Nadeson doubled their lead just minutes later with a well-executed finish past the near post. Kiko Casilla could perhaps be criticized for his ‘keeping leading to the goal but take nothing away from Nadeson.
Crawley added insult to injury with a 3rd and final goal in the 70th minute. Jordan Tunnicliffe was the scorer this time around.
Crawley are now through to the 4th round for the first time since 2012. They’ll travel to Championship side Bournemouth in the next round of fixtures.
IT IS OVER!
REDS 3-0 LEEDS UNITED
— Crawley Town FC (@crawleytown) JANUARY 10, 2021
CHORLEY 2-0 DERBY COUNTY
National League North side Chorley were the 2nd lowest ranked team – behind Marine – in the FA Cup 3rd round. They took on Championship side Derby County with hopes of progressing to the 4th round.
Their chances were amplified as Derby were forced to field a youth side due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the senior squad. Chorley took the chance presented to them and defeated the young Derby side by 2-0.
The first goal didn’t take long to come, Connor Hall hit the net in the 10th minute after a scramble in the box. Hall has now scored in his last 3 FA Cup matches.
Mike Calveley secured victory for Chorley in the 84th minute with a close-range shot.
Chorley have been drawn at home against Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers for the next round.
Living the dream 😍
— Chorley FC (@chorleyfc) JANUARY 9, 2021
BLACKPOOL 2-2 WEST BROM (3-2 TO BLACKPOOL ON PENALTIES)
Blackpool are having an unremarkable but solid season in League One, sitting 13th in the table. West Brom, on the other hand, have been struggling since transitioning from the Championship to the Premier League.
Sam Allardyce was yet to win a game as West Brom manager before the match against Blackpool and that stat would remain unchanged at the full-time whistle.
Blackpool managed a victory on penalties after a hard-fought 120 minutes of football.
Jerry Yates opened the scoring for Blackpool in the 40th minute as he finished off an inviting pass from Bez Lubula. In truth, Blackpool were good value for their lead having been the better team up until that stage.
Semi Ajayi, as he has done previously in the season, equalized for West Brom with a towering header in the 52nd minute.
Gary Madine struck cleanly from outside the box in the 66th minute to regain Blackpool’s lead. The goal came after a fluid counter-attack from Blackpool.
West Brom were given a golden opportunity to equalize in the 80th minute after a Blackpool player was adjudged to have handled inside the box. Matheus Pereira stepped up to the spot and made no mistake as he made it 2-2.
Full-time ended 2-2 and no further goals followed in extra time. 120 minutes finished with the teams on level terms meaning a penalty shootout was needed to decide a winner.
Blackpool missed their first penalty but went on to score their next 3, meanwhile West Brom had 2 of their 4 penalties saved by Chris Maxwell in the Blackpool goal.
Sullay Kaikai stepped up to take Blakcpool’s 5th penalty knowing if he scored, they would go through to the next round. Cruelly, though, he missed as he hammered his penalty off the post.
West Brom had to score their next penalty otherwise they would be knocked out of the competition. Matheus Pereira stepped up to take another penalty but this time he would be denied by shootout hero Chris Maxwell. His save meant Blackpool progressed to the FA Cup 4th round.
They have been drawn away to Brighton & Hove Albion for the next round of the competition.
MAXWELL DENIES PEREIRA! THE SEASIDERS ARE THROUGH!!!
— Blackpool FC (@BlackpoolFC) JANUARY 9, 2021