The English FA Cup is the oldest football competition in the world, and it has produced some jaw-dropping upsets wrapped in thrills and dramas over the years, 2018/19 FA Cup season is living up to that billings with the 3rd round knocked out of some premier league clubs by their lower league counterpart. Some dogged performances from league 1 & league 2 clubs like Newport, Gillingham, and co seen them knocked out English Premier League Clubs like Leicester City, Fulham among others.
It all started on Saturday afternoon(5th Jan) when Gillingham hosted Cardiff City. Cardiff sits on 17th position on the premier league log table yet were favored and widely expected to get a win over their league 1 counterpart Gillingham, who are also struggling in their own league, and sits on 19th position on the League 1 log table. The match started and there was nothing to separate them, it seemed like it was going to end in a barren draw, but was turned on its head in the 81th minutes, when Gillingham striker Elliot List scored the decisive goal, Cardiff who had earlier struck the post twice probed and prowled for the equalizer to no avail.
Playing in the 3rd tier of the English football league, championship side Bristol City look like a match to their opponent from the premier league Huddersfield Town. Huddersfield Town got promoted into the premier league at the beginning of the season, seems like a mountain too high for them as they sit at the bottom of the premier league log table, they also seem like a sure candidate for relegation come the end of the season. With this in Bristol Citys mind, they showed Huddersfield no respect and scored their goal, the only goal of the match on 72nd minutes when Josh Brownhill made the difference. Huddersfield latest defeat made it 7 straight loses for the lack-luster Terrier as Huddersfield are popularly called.
The drama continued into the next day when Fulham hosted league 2 side, Oldham Athletic on Sunday afternoon. Fulham is another struggling team just above Huddersfield on the premier league log table with just 14th points, however, they were still fancied to overcome a league 2 side, Oldham. It was not to be as the unfazed league 2 side had other ideas, though went behind to a Fulham’s Denis Odoi’s second-half goal (52nd min), but fought back to silenced the Fulham’s home crowd with a Sam Surridge 76th minutes equalizing spot-kick, then a Callum Lang 89th minutes header to sealed the victory for Oldham. Fulham’s misery in front of goal was highlighted when Aleksandra Mitrovic was brought on to play a spot-kick only to saw it saved by Oldham goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.
The biggest shock of the 3rd round was the defeat of high flying premier league Leicester (not in the group of stragglers of course) from the hand of lowly Newport, a team playing in league 2. Newports league form is appalling with just 1 point out of possible 12 in its last 4 matches, nobody would have seen this coming, a 2-1 win over a more glamorous Leicester City would be the highlight of this 3rd round. It was Newport that started like a house on fire with a headed goal from Jamile Matt in the 10th minute, Leicester thought they have salvaged a replay on the 82nd minutes when Rachid Ghezzal fired home, but their joy was short lived when Marc Albrighton handled in the area and the spot-kick call was made, Padraig Amond kept his cool to convert the spot-kick (85 min) which sent the Newport fans into a wild jubilation.
Other premier league stragglers that were fortunate to try again from a replay are Newcastle and Southampton.
Newcastle was given a scare when they went behind to a championship side Blackburn Rovers’ Bradley Dack‘s 56th-minute header but were giving a lifeline to come back into the game from a spot-kick, safely dispatched by Matt Ritchie in 84th minutes. They would have to try again at Blackburn Rover’s turf to earn their place in the 4th round.
Southampton also got a narrow escape from elimination in the 3rd round, when they saw their 2 goals advantage been canceled out by a determined championship Derby County. Drawing inspiration from the home crowd, Derby County fought back from 2 goals down, with goals from Jack Marriott (58th min) and Tom Laurence (61st min) canceling out the Saints Nathan Redmond‘s 4th and 48th minutes goals. The Saint could have left empty handed had Jack Marriott scored a last-minute opportunity that came begging but ballooned agonizingly wide instead. Sotton will host Derby in a replay.
The classic FA Cup dramas definitely won’t end here at the 3rd round, has tantalizing 4th round fixtures will soon be unveiled.
ps: all images are getty images
Thank you all for your support.