Once again the FA Cup third round is here again. The round where the big boys enter and hope not to be added to the list of shocks that gets bigger on a regular basis. Some fans may not like looking back at these but everyone has their favourite cup upset, and seeing as it’s third round weekend, here is a look back at some of the competition’s famous shocks.
Famous Shocks Of The FA Cup Third Round Part 1
Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United, 1984
Manchester United lined up against the then third division minnows Bournemouth. United had the likes of Bryan Robson, Ray Wilkins, Frank Stapleton and Norman Whiteside in their starting eleven. A win for the mighty Red Devils was surely on the cards. Bournemouth, managed by a young and inexperienced Harry Redknapp, had other ideas.
United were the current cup holders and another run in the competition was expected. However on 8th January 1984 in front of a packed Dean Court, Bournemouth outplayed their more illustrious opponents and went into the next round having fully deserved their victory.
United never really got going. They were dominated in the possession stats and didn’t have a shot until midway through the second half. Goals from Milton Graham and Ian Thompson made sure that the day would be forever remembered in Bournemouth, Manchester and in the minds of all that follow the FA Cup.
Sutton United 2-1 Coventry City, 1989
Top-flight side Coventry had lifted the famous trophy just two years previously and at the time of this game were sitting comfortably in the top half of the old First Division. Sutton United were a non-league side who were given little hope but had already beaten league clubs to get to the third round, so confidence was high.
8000 fans packed into Sutton’s small ground hoping to see an upset. They weren’t disappointed. Coventry left-back and scorer of Coventry’s goal, David Phillips recalls the build up to kick off: “It was a very, very open stadium and obviously it was set up for a ‘giant-killing.’ A few of our lads were larking about, joking and messing around in the warm-up. I’m not sure that we did take it as professionally as we should have.”
A header from captain Tony Rains on 42 minutes gave Sutton a half time lead but David Phillips cancelled this out with a well-taken goal on 52 minutes. At this point Coventry thought there would now only be one winner. How wrong they were. Only seven minutes after drawing level, Coventry were once again behind. A well worked corner kick was finished off by Matt Hanlon at the back post.
Coventry laid siege to the Sutton goal but could not find a way through. 24 years past before another top flight team were beaten by a non-league side.
Hereford 2-1 Newcastle, 1972
Anyone who has watched Match of the Day over the years will know that this was the game where Ronnie Radford scored that famous goal; a 30-yard strike that flew into the top corner of the Newcastle net.
This was actually a third round replay. The two sides had played out a 2-2 draw at Newcastle previously. Hereford, a Southern League side at the time, had already played three games to get to the third stage, whereas Newcastle had entered the cup at round three due to them being a top flight side.
The game began in very muddy conditions and the pitch deteriorated further. A capacity crowd of over 14,000 were in attendance officially, but it is estimated that at least another 2000 were in the ground. The game was also the first as commentator for a certain John Motson.
Newcastle went into the game as obvious favourites to finish the job that they had failed to do in the previous game. Hereford, however, held their own until a Malcolm MacDonald goal seven minutes from time looked to have sealed them the victory. Hereford immediately made a change, bringing on attacker Ricky George.
Three minutes later, Radford scored the goal of round, if not one of the best goals in FA Cup history. He won a loose ball in midfield, played a one-two before hitting an unstoppable shot into the top corner. A pitch invasion followed, scenes that have been replayed hundred of times and will continue to do so.
The goal took the game into extra time and with the momentum and confidence that the goal had given them, it was going to be difficult for Newcastle to stop them. Near the end of the first period of extra time, Hereford’s second goal came. Substitute Ricky George shot into the far corner of the net to spark yet another joyous pitch invasion. Hereford held onto their lead to complete one of the most famous FA Cup third round victories.
Walsall 2-0 Arsenal, 1933
This would be on the list if it had happened recently but, believe it or not, it was an even bigger shock in 1933. It has even been described as “The greatest cup upset ever”.
Arsenal, described by many at the time as the biggest club in England, came up against a Walsall side struggling in the old Third Division. What was seen as a routine victory didn’t go to plan for the men from Highbury.
Arsenal rested several key players but were still thought to be far too strong for their opponents. The first half came and went with the score at 0-0. Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman made tactical changes, and the Walsall players were on a high having kept the Gunners at bay during the first 45 minutes.
The tactical changes made never worked and on 60 minutes Arsenal fell behind. Things went from bad to worse as Walsall added a second shortly after, when Sheppard earned a penalty and then converted the spot kick himself. Walsall won 2-0 and deserved their moment of glory.
Tommy Black, who gave away the penalty, was told by an enraged Herbert Chapman that he would never play for the club again, never come to the club again and his boots would be sent to him with the transfer forms. Black never played for the first team again and was transferred soon after.