A pair of Premier League team attempt to dodge upset bids with varying degrees of likelihood, while one of the guaranteed lower league quarterfinal berths will also be clinched during Saturday’s FA Cup action
Brighton and Hove Albion opens the day hoping to outlast Frank Lampard-led Derby County at the Amex Stadium.
[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]
The other Premier League side, Man City, visits League Two side Newport County. Pep Guardiola is wary of the side’s physicality, but an upset is the longest of long shots.
Sandwiched in the middle is Millwall’s visit to AFC Wimbledon, the League One hosts hoping to continue the magic that helped them knock off the visitors’ rivals: West Ham United of the Premier League.
FA Cup Saturday
Brighton and Hove Albion v. Derby County — 7:30 am. ET
AFC Wimbledon v. Millwall — 10 a.m. ET
Newport County v. Man City — 12:30 p.m. ET
Saturday was a day of Cupsets in the FA Cup — at least in the day’s late games — as West Ham United were the second Premier League side to be knocked out by lower-league opposition.
[ Transfer rumor roundup: Perisic to Arsenal; Gomez to West Ham ]
AFC Wimbledon, who currently sit bottom of League One, raced out to a 3-0 lead by the 46th minute and managed to hold on for a 4-2 victory at Kingsmeadow. Championship side Millwall bounced a PL side of their own, Everton, from the competition earlier on Saturday.
Since Wimbledon was reformed as a club in 2002, the Dons’ deepest run in the FA Cup was previously the third round. On Monday, theirs will be one of 16 names in the draw for the fifth round.
The game was mostly dominated by West Ham for the opening half-hour, but the Hammers were visibly shaken after going a goal down in the 34th minute (Kwesi Appiah), doubly so when the Dons made it 2-0 in the 41st (Scott Wagstaff).
Manuel Pellegrini made a triple-change at halftime — bringing off all three of Pedro Obiang, Andy Carroll and Grady Diangana — but it made little difference from the outset of the second half. Wagstaff made it 3-0 less than 60 seconds after the restart.
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West Ham got as close as 3-2, thanks to goals scored by Lucas Perez (57th minute) and Felipe Anderson (71st), but Toby Sibbick restored the home side’s two-goal lead with a tap-in header in the 88th minute.
League One side Shrewsbury Town impressed against West Ham, Spurs rode Harry Kane to victory, and a weak Arsenal lineup slumped to an embarrassing defeat on the road as the FA Cup third round continued on Sunday.
In the early game, West Ham had almost nothing going forward against the League One opposition, with Shrewsbury out-possessing the Hammers 56%-44% at home and they out-shot their Premier League opponents 9-4. Joe Hart was forced to make a pair of saves within a minute near the end of the first half while wearing a baseball cap to keep the game scoreless in what proved to be the best two chances of the game.
City Ground was the site of the day’s biggest upset as Nottingham Forest downed Arsenal 4-2 thanks to a pair of goals from American international Eric Lichaj. He struck first 20 minutes in when the defender snuck behind the entire defensive pack on a lateral set-piece and headed home right on the doorstep to put Notthingham Forest 1-0 up.
[ VIDEO: USMNT defender Eric Lichaj scores brilliant volley against Arsenal ]
The Gunners responded almost immediately as Per Mertesacker capitalized on the scramble after a Theo Walcott free-kick hit the post via the head of Rob Holding, but it would’t hold. Lichaj struck again just before halftime in absolutely stunning fashion with a wonderful volley into the top corner for a 2-1 lead. Forest would add some insurance past the hour mark as Rob Holding fouled Matthew Cash in the penalty area and dangerous 18-year-old Ben Brereton deservedly converted from the spot, sending David Ospina the wrong way.
Arsenal held 70% possession throughout the match, but the weak side that included Mathieu Debuchy, Mohamed Elneny, Reiss Nelson, and Theo Walcott managed just two shots on target until the 79th minute when Danny Welbeck pulled out a consolation, but again it didn’t last as Mathieu Debuchy fouled Armand Traore in the area and Kieran Dowell roofed it despite slipping. On the other end, Forest looked the side with more cutting edge as Brereton and his supporting cast looked far more dangerous against Holding and Mertesacker. They were reduced to 10 men with a minute left in regulation after Joe Worrall was given a second yellow for a bad foul, but they held on strong.
And finally, it took Tottenham an hour to break through, but Spurs eased by AFC Wimbledon 3-0 on a quickfire double from – who else – Harry Kane. The England star scored in the 63rd minute and again in the 65th minute to put Spurs well in front. Defender Jan Vertonghen put the game away six minutes later to put Spurs three-up. Kane started next to new signing Fernando Llorente, but the Spaniard struggled to have an effect on the game.
The FA Cup 3rd Round takes flight for another day, with already one Premier League team out of action in this round.
Stoke City was embarrassingly eliminated by League Two side Coventry City yesterday, sealing the fate of now ex-manager Mark Hughes. Now it’s up to West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal to get the job done all against lower league opponents.
[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]
First, West Ham travels to the west coast to take on League One side Shrewsbury Town, with a 9:00 a.m. ET kickoff. Since suffering defeat in three of his first four matches in charge, David Moyes has managed to turn the Hammers around, losing just once in league play since December 3rd, although they did fall in their last Cup outing, a 1-0 loss to Arsenal in the EFL Cup quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Shrewsbury is pushing for promotion to the Championship, currently in second place in the League One table and making it all the way to late October before suffering its first loss of the league season.
Then, Tottenham hosts fellow London club AFC Wimbledon at 10:00 a.m. ET, who also currently resides in League One. Unlike Shrewsbury, AFC Wimbledon is struggling mightily in league play and has been sucked into a relegation battle, currently in 21st and just a point above the drop.
Finally, Arsenal gets its visit to Nottingham Forest under way at 11:00 a.m. ET, traveling to the Midlands for the trip to City Ground. Forest sits 14th in the Championship table, although they have conceded 42 goals this league season, two off the most in the league. Interestingly, Forest picked up its first draw of the season last time out in league play, a 0-0 result against Leeds that marked the first time all year they finished level with an opponent. They have won just one game since November 21st. Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger begins his three-match touchline ban today for Arsenal after disparaging comments made about Premier League refereeing.
League One side AFC Wimbledon found themselves down 3-0 with 10 minutes to play against sixth-tier side Curzon Ashton in the third round of the FA Cup. The game was over.
Except for the part where it wasn’t.
Wimbledon scored three in three minutes through Tom Elliott, Dominic Poleon, and Tyrone Barnett to get back level at 3-3, and then Elliott bagged his second header, this time off a free-kick, with the last touch of the game to avoid a replay and put them into the next round in dramatic fashion. Go crazy, folks, go crazy.
The comeback could have been even more stunning, as Wimbledon poured men forward after falling behind 3-0, and had a huge number of chances in the final 10 minutes to score over and over, but they left it to the very last.
The end of the game overshadows what was a fabulous performance both by Curzon Ashton as a whole and in particular Adam Morgan, who bagged himself a hat-trick and was set to become an FA Cup hero. The 22-year-old striker is a Liverpool academy product and had spent time on loan at Rotherham and Yeovil Town before he was released by the Reds in 2014.
Curzon plays in the National League North, which sits below the Football League and along with the National League South is the equivalent of the sixth tier of English play. They play at Tameside Stadium just outside Manchester, and would have owned a famous home victory had they been able to hold on at the end against a Football League opponent.