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Famous FA Cup third round ties

ESPN staff
January 4, 2013
Jermaine Beckford punished Manchester United for Leeds in 2010 © PA Photos
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Ahead of one of the greatest days in the English football calendar, we at ESPN Towers have come up with a list of ten of the most memorable FA Cup third round ties in the competition's history.
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Manchester United 0-1 Leeds - 2009-10

Only Sir Alex Ferguson could watch his team perform terribly for an entire match, and then still complain about the amount of injury-time after the referee played five extra minutes. "That is an insult to the game and the players out there," Ferguson said of Chris Foy's decision.

Leeds, a lowly League One side at the time, were up for the fight against their local rivals in a match that historically had been a yearly showdown for both teams. The visitors took close to 9,000 fans with them to Old Trafford for a game from which they could have expected little, and they were rewarded with a surprisingly assured display.

Jermaine Beckford scored the first-half winner, clipping past Tomasz Kuszczak as the United keeper raced from his goal, but Leeds could have had more. Victory was richly deserved, and even Ferguson - time-keeping aside - couldn't argue: "I didn't expect that performance, it was shocking. I've no complaints about the result."

Leeds were beaten in the next round by Tottenham.

Liverpool 8-0 Swansea - 1989-90

Few FA Cup third round ties have ended with Liverpool's famous Kop cheering on the opposition, but that is what happened when they smashed Swansea 8-0 at the turn of the Nineties. Swansea were not the top-flight side they are today but they were Welsh Cup holders so knew a thing or two about knockout football.

They drew 0-0 in the initial tie on home soil but were punished in the replay by the last Liverpool side to win a league championship. John Barnes (2), Ronnie Whelan, Ian Rush (3), Peter Beardsley and Steve Nicol all netted in the rout, prompting Kopites to start booing every touch by their own side and cheering those of the opposition.

Swansea did find the net, although it did not count as a fan ran onto the pitch to beat Bruce Grobbelaar, much to the delight once again of the partying home supporters. Liverpool were eventually beaten in a classic semi-final by Crystal Palace.

Shrewsbury 2-1 Everton - 2002-03

The FA Cup was less kind to the blue side of Merseyside in the new Millennium, as the competition threw up one of those classic storylines that appeared scripted from the moment the draw was made. Shrewsbury boss Kevin Ratcliffe, Everton's most successful captain, led a team languishing near the bottom of the Football League to a shock 2-1 victory, against a side featuring a certain future England prodigy called Wayne Rooney.

Nigel Jemson, a 33-year-old journeyman who had failed to score a single league goal during his second stint with previous club Oxford, came up with two either side of a Niclas Alexandersson equaliser for the Premier League outfit. The winner, typically, came in the 89th minute as Jemson glanced a superb near-post header past the Everton keeper.

"Ian Woan put me in for the winner," Jemson, who claimed 17-year-old Rooney's shirt, said in the Guardian. "I'd been telling him all day to look for me at the near post and he did it in the first half but Richard Wright made a magnificent save. I got my head to this one too and was flat on my back when I saw Wright get a hand to it, but the ball hit the back of the net."

Shrewsbury were dumped out in the next round by Chelsea, and then relegated at the end of the season.

Ronnie Radford discusses THAT goal

Hereford 2-1 Newcastle - 1971-72

When FA Cup third-round classics are discussed down any public drinking house in England, it is guaranteed that the name Ronnie Radford will crop up. Often forgotten, however, is the fact Radford did not score the winner on this famous day in 1972... that honour belonged to Ricky George, who netted in extra-time.

Also overlooked on occasion is the fact Southern League side Hereford had done incredibly well just to get the match to Edgar Street, having drawn 2-2 with a Newcastle team featuring six internationals at St James' Park - thanks in part to a goal after 17 seconds. A boggy pitch with barely a hint of grass greeted the mighty Newcastle for the replay, following three postponements, yet they still led in the 82nd minute through the great Malcolm Macdonald.

Then came Radford's 30-yard thunderbolt with five minutes remaining, the goal of the season, and worthy of a pitch invasion. Hereford still had a job to finish, though, and in extra-time George - on as a substitute for Roger Griffiths who played part of the match with a broken leg - found a 103rd-minute winner.

Hereford's dream run eventually ended in round four when Geoff Hurst bagged a hat-trick in a 3-1 win for West Ham.

Djimi Traore's own goal was an effort Zinedine Zidane would have been proud of © PA Photos
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Burnley 1-0 Liverpool 2004-05

If Radford's goal will forever be a part of FA Cup folklore, Djimi Traore's strike at Burnley may prove just as memorable for all the wrong reasons.

It was Rafael Benitez's first year in charge of Liverpool, and after losing Michael Owen to Real Madrid the Reds embarked on an unspectacular league campaign that saw them finish below Merseyside rivals Everton. When Benitez, in the eyes of the media, showed disrespect to the FA Cup by fielding a weakened side against Burnley in January, his role as Liverpool manager was called into question.

The Spaniard could not have foreseen, however, the sheer quality of the winning goal - an own goal scored by Traore for Burnley. Latching onto a loose ball inside his own area, Traore produced a 360-degree spin on the ball to backheel into the back of the Liverpool net with a piece of trickery that had become Zinedine Zidane's trademark.

A chant was later created for Traore, which went: "Don't blame it on the Biscan, don't blame it on the Hamann, don't blame it on the Finnan, blame it on Traore. He just can't, He just can't, He just can't control his feet."

Traore eventually redeemed himself by making a goal-line clearance in Liverpool's incredible Champions League triumph against AC Milan, while Burnley reached round five of the FA Cup before losing to Blackburn.

Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal - 1991-92

One of the great shocks of the FA Cup, Wrexham - like Hereford - left it late to launch their comeback against Arsenal at the Racecourse Ground. This was an Arsenal side who were reigning champions of the first Division, a team who lost one league match in 42 outings to lift the title.

When they led through the gangly frame of Alan Smith, George Graham - who became synonymous with a 1-0 scoreline during his time at Arsenal, settled back expecting an easy ride into the fourth round. But with 10 minutes remaining, and after a plethora of Arsenal chances, little Mickey Thomas played the Ronnie Radford role to bring the game level.

A scorching free-kick ripped past David Seaman, and in a heartbeat the entire momentum of the tie had changed. Steve Watkin, a powerfully built forward, pinned himself to his marker as the ball entered the box, and he stretched out a leg to beat Seaman again as the game turned on its head in the space of two unforgettable minutes.

Wrexham exited the competition in the next round after a replay against West Ham.

Stevenage 3-1 Newcastle 2010-11

When Stevenage met Newcastle in 2011, there was still a little residue remaining from their previous FA Cup encounter, when the clubs entered into a public spat over where the game should be played. Newcastle, under Kenny Dalglish, wanted the away tie switched on safety grounds, but the FA sided with Stevenage, who welcomed Newcastle to Broadhall Way by pretending not to know who Alan Shearer was when the teams were announced prior to kick-off.

Newcastle eventually won that tie in a replay, but Stevenage had their revenge years later when the teams were paired again. Alan Pardew, who was yet to be handed his eight-year contract, saw Mike Williamson deflect Stacy Long's effort past his own keeper before Michael Bostwick added another from distance.

Cheik Tiote, not for the last time in his Newcastle career, saw red for a poor challenge and the Magpies - who halved the deficit through Joey Barton, were killed off by Peter Winn. At full-time the drama wasn't over, with Stevenage full-back Scott Laird knocked unconscious by a fan during a pitch invasion, later commenting: "I don't know what hit me. One minute I was celebrating on the pitch, the next thing I can remember is being in the dressing room with TV cameras around."

Stevenage were beaten 2-1 in the next round by Reading.

Manchester United 0-0 Exeter 2004-05

Manchester United have made a habit of toiling in third round ties that, on paper, they should win and in back-to-back years they struggled against vastly lower league opposition.

It started in 2005 against Conference side Exeter, when the likes of Gerard Pique, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo could not influence a richly deserved 0-0 draw for the underdogs. In fact, had Andy Taylor not missed two fine chances for Exeter, this might have gone down as the upset of all upsets. United eventually won the replay on that occasion, but lost the final on penalties against Arsenal.

A year later it was another presentable task for the Red Devils, against Conference outfit Burton Albion. This time Ferguson fielded a far stronger side, with Tim Howard, Pique, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Louis Saha and Giuseppe Rossi all in the starting XI, with Rooney and Ronaldo arriving off the bench. It made no difference as United were held once again, winning the replay 5-0 before falling to Liverpool in round five.

Matthew Hanlan was Sutton's hero © PA Photos
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Sutton 2-1 Coventry - 1988-89

Sutton's famous victory in 1989 is the most recent upset produced by a non-league side playing top-flight opposition. Coventry were not only on their way to finishing a respectable seventh that season, they were also the 1987 FA Cup winners boasting a largely similar squad to that which triumphed at Wembley.

The goals all arrived in a 18-minute spell either side of half-time, with Sutton skipper Tony Rains handing the home side the lead on 42 minutes before David Phillips replied for Coventry seven minutes after the interval. Matthew Hanlan netted the winner on the hour, beating legendary Sky Blues keeper Steve Ogrizovic from close range.

Sutton were smashed 8-0 by Norwich in the next round.

Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United - 1983-84

We finish in the pre-Sir Alex Ferguson era at Manchester United, proving their third round troubles existed prior to the Scot's arrival. On this occasion it was Ron Atkinson at the helm, against a little-known Londoner named Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth.

Redknapp would go on to win the FA Cup with Portsmouth, but it was his victory over United that originally put his name on the map. The Red Devils were the cup holders and boasted Bryan Robson in their engine room, but a Gary Bailey error allowed Milton Graham to hand Bournemouth the lead. Ian Thompson then killed United off, leaving Redknapp to declare: "We don't get many days like this in Bournemouth."

He was right, Bournemouth lost by the same scoreline to Middlesbrough in the next round.

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