Non-League teams love to beat League teams
Whilst the so called giant-killings will not start until the next round, there were plenty of opportunities for non-league sides to embarrass League opposition this weekend. Grimsby’s clash with Northampton ended in a 2-0 win for the Mariners, whilst Kidderminster thrashed Newport County 4-2. Whilst Cambridge and Tamworth, amongst others, couldn’t beat their Football League opponents, all of the non-league teams can be very proud this weekend.
Wonder goals are all the rage
The FA Cup has produced some great goals over the years and this weekend’s ties did not let us down on that front. Both of Bristol City’s goals, in their 2-1 victory, over Tamworth were memorable (particularly Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ first-half thunderbolt) whilst Kidderminster’s Michael Gash scored a couple of screamers in their win over Newport. Carl Baker’s acrobatic strike in Coventry’s draw against Hartlepool was the best Football League offering on Saturday, whilst Sheffield United’s 2-0 win over Cambridge produced to very aesthetically pleasing goals; the first from Jose Baxter and the second from Jamie Murphy.
Peterborough could be in for a good run
Despite a poor November, Peterborough United have had a pleasing season up to now and they sit in 5th place in League 1. Having comfortably beaten Exeter in the 1st round, the Posh thrashed Tranmere 5-0 this weekend, thanks to three goals from Britt Assombalonga and two from Shaun Jeffers. The 3rd round draw has been relatively kind to Peterborough, handing them a trip to non-league Kidderminster, and Darren Ferguson and his team will be confident of progressing to the 4th round.
Mansfield’s Sam Clucas can’t stop scoring
After scoring four goals in round one against St Albans City, Mansfield’s Sam Clucas would have been forgiven for taking it easy in his teams 2nd round match against Oldham. However, the striker, who has had a very successful season so far for the Stags, rescued a replay with free-kick after 45 minutes. The winner of the replay will face Liverpool at Anfield in the 3rd round, so Clucas’ equaliser could prove to be very important for Mansfield.
The 3rd round promises to be as exciting as the 2nd
After a highly entertaining 2nd round, the 3rd round looks like it is going to be just as exciting. The stakes are high as the Premier League and Championship sides are set to enter the competition and the third round draw has thrown up some very interesting ties. As previously mentioned, the winner of the Mansfield – Oldham replay will face Liverpool at Anfield whilst Liverpool’s fierce rivals Everton face Championship side QPR. Derby County face Chelsea, Blackburn are at home to Manchester City whilst Nottingham Forest take on West Ham – all of these matches have the potential to end up as upsets. League 1 teams have been lucky in the matches they have drawn in terms of a spectacle; MK Dons are away to the current FA Cup holders Wigan, Aston Villa host Sheffield United and Carlisle travel to Sunderland. League 2 side Rochdale hosts Leeds, whilst the Southampton – Burnley tie is set to be full of goals. These ties, coupled with some tasty looking all Premier League matches, means that the 3rd round is set to be a terrific occasion.