Football Features

Seven things you may have missed from today’s FA Cup 3pms as Norwich’s Adam Idah steals the show

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:25, 4 January 2020

Saturday saw the FA Cup third round get underway with no fewer than nine matches taking place in the 3pm slot.

However, with this weekend showcasing The FA’s Heads Up campaign, games were scheduled to start a minute late.

Before the afternoon matches no fewer than six games were played at lunchtime with League One side Rochdale holding Premier League giants Newcastle United to a 1-1 draw being the most noteworthy result.

Such is the beauty of knockout football: anything can take place. With so much happening, it’s only natural if you miss an important or memorable event.

But don’t fret, Squawka is here, with seven things you might have missed from Saturday afternoon’s third round FA Cup qualifiers.

1. A star is born

Irish football looks to be in good hands with a crop of exciting attackers coming through most notably Aaron Connolly, Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi all of whom are contracted to a Premier League outfit with all bar Parrott finding the back of the net in England’s top division this season.

Swimming below the radar, though, is Norwich teenage centre-forward Adam Idah who made on his third appearance for the Canaries – and second ever start – at Preston and it didn’t take him long to make an impact when he’d put Daniel Farke’s side ahead with the game only two minutes old. He would complete his hat-trick just after the hour mark becoming in the first Norwich player to score at least three goals in a single FA Cup game since Chris Martin against Paulton Rovers in November 2009.

2. The long wait is over

Nathaniel Chalobah was in danger of becoming the forgotten man at Watford whom he’s currently enjoying a second stint at having previously represented the Hornets on loan from Chelsea in the early 2010s; the one-time England international would subsequently enjoy temporary stays at Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and Napoli before leaving the Blues permanently for Vicarage Road.

Unfortunately, a serious knee injury would put him on the shelf, but those days are behind him after making 13 appearances this season and he seems to be a favourite under new boss Nigel Pearson who fielded him against Tranmere and his goal – following an assist for Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru to put the hosts in front – was his first for Watford since 2013 against Leicester City, then managed by Pearson, in the Championship.

3. Bucking a trend

Tranmere and recent meetings with Premier League sides in the FA Cup haven’t exactly gone well. Heading into today’s showdown with last season’s finalist Watford they suffered a 6-2 loss against Swansea (2015) and 7-0 against Tottenham (2019). So, if anyone thought the League One side would get something from this afternoon’s game, they were disheartened when the Hornets raced to a 3-0 lead by the 35th minute.

But this is the “magic of the cup”, anything is possible, with nothing to lose Rovers would stunningly get themselves back into this game. Connor Jennings, Emmanuel Monthe and Paul Mullin from the spot would strike in a 22 minute period with the hosts reduced to 10 men after Roberto Pereyra, who grabbed their third goal, was shown a straight red.

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4. Next off the conveyor belt?

Southampton this century have increasingly become renowned for developing footballers. The likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and current first-team star James Ward-Prowse are among the many that have come through their esteemed academy.

It’s too early to predict the next star but midfielder Will Smallbone – who broke the deadlock against Huddersfield on his senior club debut – is a contender especially when manager Ralph Hasenhüttl in the build-up to their FA Cup third round encounter described the under-19 Irish international as having a “big future” at St Mary’s.

5. The most dangerous scoreline

An upset looked on the cards when League Two outfit Carlisle raced to a 0-2 lead at Championship side Cardiff City; the visitors would go ahead through Jack Bridge, who scored after missing his penalty, before Harry McKirdy doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time.

The Bluebirds, who currently sit 12th in the second division but four points off a play-off spot, mounted a comeback. Just five minutes after the break Callum Paterson would halve the deficit, he would turn provider moments later for Gavin Whyte to level proceedings, momentum was now on Neil Harris’ side but they couldn’t prevent a replay.

6. Déjà vu for Smith

It’s fair to say a cup run is not dominating Dean Smith’s thoughts now Aston Villa sit a point above the Premier League relegation places with 17 matches to be played. That being said, few would have bet against them losing at Fulham, even if they are looking good for an immediate top-flight return.

This humbling 2-1 loss at Craven Cottage further solidified Smith’s indifferent relationship with football’s oldest club competition. With this being his ninth campaign as manager, he’s only reached the fourth round just once, that occurred back when he was in charge of Brentford in 2017.

7. A second to remember

Brighton’s recent Premier League performances suggested Sheffield Wednesday, who are currently fighting to reach this season’s Championship play-offs, needed to be exceptional to reach the FA Cup fourth round. And, truth be told, Garry Monk’s side were good for their 1-0 win at the Amex.

They had more shots on goal than the Seagulls even if Graham Potter’s men dominated possession. A morale boosting victory aside, this also happened to be the first time the Owls had beaten a Premier League side in the FA Cup since defeating city rivals United in the 1993 semi-final.