Upsetting The Odds: The FA Cup Third Round’s Biggest Giant Kills
January 05, 2017
The notorious giant-killer. Steeped in tradition and immersed in history, the oldest domestic cup competition in world football captures the romance of the beautiful game like no other. It conjures up improbable story lines and gives players at all levels of the football pyramid the chance to be a part of FA Cup folklore.
All it takes is one moment of magic – anything from a great save to a last-ditch goal line clearance to a diving header will turn today’s unknown into tomorrow’s headlines. This weekend sees the third round of the tournament commence and is the stage where all representatives from the Premier League are thrown into the mix. Those who dreamed of walking out at Old Trafford or scoring in front of the Kop will be hoping to write their own David vs. Goliath chapter as the minnows go prying for an upset.
Here we look at some of the greatest FA Cup third round shocks and look at those that could potentially take place in the coming days…
Hereford United 2-1 Newcastle United
A game renowned for Ronnie Radford’s spectacular 35-year-old strike which sent the tie into extra-time after Newcastle legend Malcolm Macdonald had given his side the lead. Radford’s goal sparked a pitch invasion across the boggy and muddy playing surface and was arguably the catalyst behind John Motson’s career following his effervescent commentary – “Oh, what a goal! What a goal! Radford the scorer… and the crowd are invading the pitch.”
Ironically the winning goal scored by Ricky George is often forgotten about as non-league Hereford held out for an incredible 2-1 victory against their top-flight opponents. Even today, it is generally considered the greatest FA Cup upset of all time.
Sutton United 2-1 Coventry City
Coventry had lifted the trophy 18 months previously and were in the old first division (now the Premier League). However, the conference minnows Of Sutton triumphed in a memorable game on a cold, blustery afternoon as Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan scored either side of David Phillip’s equaliser. The U’s somehow survived a late onslaught from the away side and the final whistle sparked wild scenes as well as overwhelming relief following a Alamo-esque final ten minutes.
Shrewsbury 2-1 Everton
David Moyes’s Everton were pushing for a place in Europe and were blessed with the raw, prodigious talent of a 17-year-old named Wayne Rooney. On the other hand, the Shrews were in a dogfight near the bottom of the Football League, but were managed by Kevin Ratcliffe – the most successful captain in Everton’s history.
In front of 7,800 spectators at a packed Gay Meadow, a stunning free-kick and bullet header from 34-year-old captain Nigel Jemson was enough to give his side a deserved win in a match they dominated from start to finish.
Possible FA Cup Upsets This Weekend
Bolton Wanderers vs. Crystal Palace
The odds on League One Bolton prevailing in this clash would have been even greater prior to Sam Allardyce’s appointment at Selhurst Park. Phil Parkinson’s side are currently second in the table and look set to bounce back to the Championship at the first attempt. They have suffered defeat just once at home in 12 encounters and will fancy their chances against Palace who are yet to win under their new manager.
Ipswich Town vs. Lincoln City
The Imps sit top of the National League and travel to Portman Road in a rich vein of form having lost just once in their last 14 league games. Led by highly rated young boss Danny Cowley, they took the scalp of League One Oldham in the last round and will be hopeful of causing another upset against Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich. The Tractor Boys have struggled for consistency so far this campaign and will need to be at their best to snuff out the threat of the visitors.