Football Features

13 FA Cup stories you may have missed this weekend

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 19:45, 9 January 2022


There is nothing quite like the FA Cup third round, the stage of the competition when Premier League giants enter the fray and, by doing so, offer up the possibility of a ‘cup upset’.

We’ve seen plenty of noteworthy examples down the years and it was the same again this weekend. With so much happening, it’s only natural if you missed an important or memorable event. But don’t worry – Squawka are here with a couple of stories you might have missed.

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Historic away day successes

As things currently stand Burnley and nouveau riche Newcastle United are in a battle to stave off relegation from England’s top division. This weekend offered the embattled clubs some respite. Both were set to entertain lower division teams, with Championship outfit Huddersfield making the journey to Turf Moor, while the Magpies welcomed League One side Cambridge United to Tyneside. It should have been a weekend laced with much-needed victories, but instead more egg was left on their respective faces.

Kieran Trippier, who had just completed a move from Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, was thrusted into Eddie Howe’s starting lineup, but the England right-back was powerless as the U’s produced the upset of this season’s third round.

Joe Ironside netted in the 56th minute for the visitors, and by seeing the game out, Cambridge United registered their first ever away win against a top-flight side in competition history. “It’s stuff I dreamed of,” Ironside told BBC Sport. “Alan Shearer was my hero, I grew up idolising him – now I have scored the winner at St James’ Park!”

Sean Dyche meanwhile witnessed his men surrender a 1-0 goal lead to hand Huddersfield their first FA Cup away win over a top-flight opposition since 1964, when they ran out 2-1 winners at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Jay Rodriguez put the hosts in front before Josh Koroma and Matthew Pearson struck in the final 16 minutes to send the Terriers into the fourth round proper.

Youth on display

With a hectic league schedule underway, the FA Cup third round offers managers up and down the land a momentary breather. Especially those at bigger clubs. This is a perfect time for squad rotation and for fringe players to get a run out. For Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill, it was the chance to create some history.

Seemingly cruising to victory against Leyton Orient with six minutes remaining on the clock, Emre Tezgel was introduced. The 16-year-old replaced fellow debutant D’Margio Wright-Phillips (grandson of Ian Wright) to become the Potters youngest-ever player. He broke Pete Bullock’s record which stood for 64 years. An exciting prospect Tezgel has been recently linked with Chelsea and both Manchester clubs.

Elsewhere, teenager Joe Grey was the hero as League Two Hartlepool came from a goal down to knock out Championship side Blackpool. Michael Olise also became the youngest player to score an FA Cup goal for Crystal Palace since Sean Scannell netted past Leicester in January 2009.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Jobe Bellingham made his debut for Birmingham City — in their extra-time defeat by Plymouth — at the same time older brother Jude was starring in Borussia Dortmund’s incredible 3-2 comeback win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Not to be outdone, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp handed a start to four Reds teenagers, with 17-year-old forward Kaide Gordon standing out. He equalised in their 4-1 win over Shrewsbury and by registering a first strike for the club, Gordon goes down in the record books as Liverpool’s second-youngest goalscorer, only behind Ben Woodburn, who scored against Leeds in November 2016.

“It was a brilliant goal from Kaide Gordon. He was really calm and composed. His main strength is his finishing,” Klopp told BBC Sport.

“All credit to our Academy that they produce these boys but we had no other line-up available to us. We had five young players out there. They all did well. We knew we could play better football and we did second half.”

A day earlier at the age of 17 years and 122 days, Lewis Hall became the youngest player to start an FA Cup game for Chelsea, the defender — who picked up an assist — was subsequently named man-of-the-match in their ruthless 5-1 victory over Chesterfield.

Cours de maitre

It’s been a relatively positive first Premier League campaign for Brentford winger Bryan Mbeumo, who came into this weekend having registered three goals across 16 appearances in England’s top division. In the Bees’ meeting at Port Vale started on the bench, but that changed just after the hour mark and mere minutes later, he doubled Brentford’s lead. Kian Harratt pulled one back for the hosts before Mbeumo completed a sensational hat-trick. It was a feat that held extra significance.

Firstly, he’s the first substitute to score an FA Cup treble since Joe Garner for Preston against Ipswich in January 2014. Secondly, the Avallon-born forward is the first Frenchman to score an FA Cup hat-trick since Jonathan Tehoue for Leyton Orient in December 2010, and going even further back, the first to do whilst representing a Premier League club since Nicolas Anelka in February 2009.


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Minnows rewarded

Cambridge United dumping out Newcastle United was huge. Equally seismic was non-league Kidderminster pulling off a second-half comeback to send Championship side Reading out. The visitors had gone in front on the stroke of half-time through George Puscas, before Sam Austin and Amari Morgan-Smith incredibly turned it around.

“Days like this will never leave the players’ memories,” manager Russell Penn said afterwards. Kidderminster, who are the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, were subsequently handed a home tie to high-flying West Ham — a repeat of their round of 16 meeting in 1994, which saw Billy Bonds’ side runout 0-1 winners on the road.

“I will be going up against one of the most respected British managers, which is fantastic for me. I know he respects the competition, the lower leagues and West Ham are on the up. What a tie – I am so excited. We will welcome him with open arms, and his squad, and we cannot wait,” Penn commented after the draw was made.

“Hopefully we can write some more history. The staff tell me about the 1994 cup tie and to mirror it 27 years later – what an achievement. It’s probably a bigger achievement this year.

“We have to come down to earth with a game on Tuesday, but I want them to enjoy these nights. Then it is straight back to work tomorrow.”

Kidderminster are not the only non-league side in the fourth round. Boreham Wood have made this stage for the first time in their history. They eliminated AFC Wimbledon from the competition and though manager Luke Garrard wanted Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United or Liverpool his side’s £82,000 reward is a date with Bournemouth, who eliminated Boreham Wood’s fellow National League side Yeovil Town.

FA Cup fourth round draw:

  • Crystal Palace v Hartlepool
  • Bournemouth v Boreham Wood
  • Huddersfield v Barnsley
  • Peterborough v QPR
  • Cambridge v Luton
  • Southampton v Coventry
  • Chelsea v Plymouth
  • Everton v Brentford
  • Kidderminster v West Ham
  • Manchester United or Aston Villa v Middlesbrough
  • Tottenham v Brighton
  • Liverpool v Cardiff
  • Stoke v Wigan
  • Nottingham Forest v Leicester
  • Manchester City v Fulham
  • Wolves v Norwich

The fourth round ties will take place across the weekend of February 5.

The long wait comes to an end

Very few can dispute the fact that Chelsea’s academy has produced some talented footballers over the years. A number can be regularly found playing under current Blues boss Thomas Tuchel and they were on display as last season’s finalist put Chesterfield to the sword. Most notably Callum Hudson-Odoi, who since debuting in this competition, has been involved in more FA Cup goals than any other Chelsea player (four goals and four assists).

As they were romping to a 5-1 win over non-league Chesterfield, former youth prospect Lewis Baker came off the bench for a 31-minute cameo. It was only his second appearance for the Londoners but that debut came all the way back in January 2014 when he played three minutes against Derby County. Since that first outing he’s ridden on the loan carousel, turning out for Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons, Vitesse, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Reading, Fortuna Dusseldorf and most recently Trabzonspor.

We’ve been here before

Nearly four years to the day of their sensational 4-2 win Nottingham Forest once again dumped record FA Cup winners Arsenal out. That humbling loss proved to be Arsene Wenger’s last participation in this competition. Eddie Nketiah, who came off the bench in 2018, and Rob Holding were the Gunners sole survivors from that day and neither could prevent another embarrassing upset.

Just when extra-time was beckoning Forest skipper Lewis Grabban — who came off the bench — converted a wonderful Ryan Yates ball into the box. This was Grabban’s first FA Cup goal since December 2011 when he netted for Rotherham against Shrewsbury.

“I think so [we deserved it]. We came up against a really good team. We had a clear game plan. We wanted to be brave with our pressing and get at them on the counter and that’s how we scored,” Forest boss Steve Cooper told ITV.

“I’m really proud of the boys, pleased with the performance. It’s brilliant to get through and I hope the players now really believe in what we’re doing.”

Victory also means Forest have now won four of their last six FA Cup home games against Premier Leagues sides, losing just once. Next up is a visit from Brendan Rodgers’ and company.

Mikel Arteta’s men were passive throughout and despite attempting no fewer than 10 shots, none came after the 68th minute. Truth be told, Brice Samba in the Forest goal wasn’t trouble as Arsenal couldn’t produce a single effort on target.

“They won, they scored a goal and we didn’t. We were not good enough and we have to apologise for it,” Arteta responded.

“I don’t want to use excuses, I expect the team I put out to do better and when you don’t in the cup you are out.

“Today showed we were not capable of winning against Forest away from home and didn’t put in the level to win the game. It’s a collective issue and today we have not done it.”

With no European commitment and being so far off the pace in the Premier League (18 points behind leaders Manchester City, albeit with a game in hand) it means the EFL Cup — where they meet Liverpool in the semi-finals — represents Arsenal’s only route to silverware this season.

This second elimination in the third round of world football’s oldest domestic cup competition was Arsenal’s second in the past 26 years — the only other time was, you’ve guessed it, on January 7, 2018.

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