Its easily the most historic domestic cup competition in all of football and possibly all of sports. And every year the FA Cup gives us giant killing upsets, and this year’s cup has delivered once again. In the 3rd round of the FA Cup we were treated to a few premier league big wigs being knocked out by Championship teams, a true Giant Killer Emerge and a team from the 6th tier knock out a former Premier League team and Championship staple.
Ill start with the less notable upsets and I couldn’t look past Huddersfield Town beating Premier League side Burnley. Now obviously Burnley are struggling this year in the Premier League currently sitting in the relegation zone in 18th place. But Huddersfield Town have had their own struggles in recent time, although find themselves in the playoff places at the midway point of this season. However, when you compare wages and stature, I’m sure Burnley fans would have been fully expecting to head home from this one through to the 4th round, instead it was a long trip back after a disappointing 2-1 loss.
Another surprising cup set for me saw high flying Championship side Blackburn Rovers fall to League One side Wigan Athletic 3-2 in an entertaining game at the DW Stadium in Wigan. The way Blackburn has performed this season, they would have fully expected to move through to the 4th round, despite being up against a sleeping former giant in Wigan. Wigan has had some hard and stressful times over the past 2 seasons after going through a drawn-out Administration process which at one point appeared to have the club on the brink of extinction. So, for the 20k fans in attendance, the vast majority would certainly be celebrating a great result and some much-needed happiness after what has been a tough few seasons for the Latics.
Moving on to some of the bigger cup sets from round 3, while it may not be a traditional giant killing result, for Nottingham Forrest fans, I’m sure being drawn against Arsenal in the 3rd round would have led a lot of them to assume their cup run was over, but Lewis Grabban and Forrest had other plans when the striker scored in the 83rd minute and book the Reds ticket into the 4th round. After a promising run of form for Arsenal in the League in recent times, they surely would have expected no matter what side Arteta put out that they would be moving on to the 4th round.
Now on to 2 of the big cup sets from this year’s FA cup. Starting with League One side Cambridge United beating Premier League side Newcastle United. With the Toon’s newfound wealth, I’m sure their fans would have fully expected to move on to the 4th round with relative ease, but the U’s had a giant slaying on their minds. And one goal from former Sheffield United Striker Joe Ironside was all the Amber army needed to book themselves an unlikely ticket into the 4th round where they will take on another tough team although not as tough in Luton Town.
Now for what was in my eyes the biggest cup set in the 3rd round. National League North side Kidderminster FC beat Reading FC 2-1 in front of there own fans. The 6th tier side were definitely up against it against Reading and when the Royals went ahead on the stroke of half time through George Puscas it was hardly surprising and almost inevitable. But in the second half, Kidderminster started to attack Reading and in the 69th minute equalised through a shot from Sam Austin that wasn’t handled by the Reading keeper. And then the comeback and upset was complete in the 82nd minute after a bundled in goal from a corner for Amari Morgan-Smith that would prove to be the wiener and send the travelling Royals fans home trying to comprehend what they had just seen.
To see a 6th tier side beating a 2nd tier side no matter where they sit in the league is something that the FA Cup continually produces year in and year out. It is truly the tournament for giant killing and its why, while in other countries the FA Cup is largely a non-event, in England and with the FA Cup, this is why there is so much prestige around winner it.
I want to finish this blog with an honorable mention to Chesterfield FC and their Fans. Despite being down 5-0 at the time to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the celebration when they netted a goal in the 80th minute through Akwasi Asante, it is truly what football, and the Cup is all about. And away day for a much much smaller team and getting to see your team score in a Premier League stadium will surely be a highlight the fans of Chesterfield FC will be able to tell their kids and grandkids someday.