Tottenham Hotspur’s trip to eighth-tier Marine dominated Sunday’s focus on the FA Cup Third Round, but as The Mariners bowed out in heroic fashion, league two duo Crawley Town and Cheltenham Town progressed to the fourth round.
Crawley Town and Cheltenham Town Star in Sunday’s FA Cup Ties
Crawley Town Stun Premier League Opposition in Leeds United
Marcelo Bielsa named a relatively strong side that was expected to blow League Two Crawley Town away, but The Red Devils had another idea. Crawley, who were on an eight-game unbeaten run coming into their tie with Leeds United, but were certainly not expecting such a convincing win against the Premier League’s fifth-highest goal-scorers.
Nick Tsaroulla opened the scoring for the hosts five minutes after half time, finishing off a brilliant solo run with an emphatic left-foot strike into the bottom corner. Three minutes later, and it was two. Ashley Nadesan, who had set up the opener, was sent racing away before beating Kiko Casilla at his near post. Crawley had to withstand waves constant pressure from the visitors after the second but eventually sealed the game with 20 minutes to go when Jordan Tunnicliffe smashed home after the ball had fallen kindly into his path and secure the 3-0 win.
For the in-form Red Devils, the financial rewards of such a win is enormous. Crawley fans will now be caught in two minds as to whether they would be wishing for a dream tie against one of the Premier League’s top six, or a tie against one of the lower-ranked sides in the competition.
Robins Come Back to Reach Fourth Round
In an all League Two affair, Cheltenham Town hosted a Mansfield Town team who would have been the more confident side after winning their last three league games. Meanwhile, The Robins were without a win in five before kick-off, despite sitting 11 places clear off their third-round opponents.
It was Mansfield who scored the first goal of the afternoon when Stephen McLaughlin‘s driven effort was fumbled by Josh Griffiths in the Cheltenham net. The early goal seemed to wake the home side, who went on to dominate possession, but were unable to carve out any clear-cut chances. The goal that The Robins’ pressure warranted came in the 73rd minute when Alfie May fired a curling equaliser into the bottom corner after he had cut in from the left flank. The eventual winner came in the 110th minute, as the game went into extra time with Will Boyle nodding in Ben Tozer‘s long throw and ensuring a 2-1 victory.
Cheltenham’s comeback means that they make the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 15 years and pocket a much-needed £82,000 in a time of financial uncertainty.