It’s come to that time of the year in the football season for the third round of the FA Cup. That time when lower league teams want to cause an upset and the third round gets underway this weekend.
It’s been a long journey for teams such as Stourbridge, Lincoln City, Barrow, Eastleigh and Sutton United. All these teams are in lower leagues than the Football League meaning they had to go through qualifying rounds.
Stourbridge had to enter in the first qualifying round due to being in the seventh tier of English football. Here they beat Peterborough Sports away from home 3-1 to make it to the second round qualifying. They then beat Mickleover Sports 2-1 away to advance again. In the third round qualifying they beat Ilkeston 2-1 away. Stourbridge then beat Nantwich Town 3-1 away. They were then drawn against Whitehawk in the first round proper away. This fixture was a 1-1 draw but replayed with Stourbridge’s first FA Cup game at home this season which they went on to win 3-0. In the second round they were drawn at home to Northampton Town from League One and got an 86th minute winner. The third round will see them play away to Wycombe Wanderers from League Two.
Lincoln City entered at the fourth qualifying round at home to Guiseley but drew 0-0. The replay was won by Lincoln City 2-1 and they advanced to the first round. A 2-1 win against Altrincham meant a second round fixture was secured. A home game against League One side Oldham Athletic was a tough fixture but Lincoln City scraped the barrel with a 3-2 victory. The third round sees a tough away fixture to Ipswich Town who are currently 15th in the Championship.
Barrow also entered in the fourth qualifying round and beat Tranmere at home 2-1. The first round saw Barrow face Taunton Town away in a 2-2 draw but they were victorious with a 2-1 win in the replay. In the second round Barrow scraped through with a 2-1 win against League One side Bristol rovers. The third round will see them at home facing yet another League One side against Rochdale.
Eastleigh were another team entered into the fourth qualifying round. They played a home game against North Leigh in a 6-0 thrashing to send them through to the first round proper. League One side Swindon Town were the visitors but it ended up all square at 1-1. In the replay away from home Eastleigh took no prisoners and won 3-1. The second round was at home to F.C. Halifax Town which ended up 3-3 but the reversed fixture was won 2-0 by Eastleigh. The third round will see them away to Championship side Brentford who lie 14th in the table.
Sutton United entered into the fourth qualifying round with a 2-1 win at home to Forest Green rovers. After advancing to the first round they encountered a 9 goal thriller against Dartford away winning 6-3. The second round saw them face League Two side Cheltenham Town and saw them get a 96th minute winner in a 2-1 victory. The third round will see them at home facing League One side AFC Wimbledon.
That brings us up on the topic of “Giant Killings” and one perfect example of that was Wimbledon back in 1988 who not only knocked out some of the ” big guns” but went all the way to the final and beat Liverpool for the most coveted cup in English football. That moment Lawrie Sanchez scored that game winning goal goes down in history and gives every single football fan in England that dream that their team can win the FA Cup.
There are a few more fixtures to look out for this weekend. Manchester united host Reading at Old Trafford. League Two side Plymouth play Liverpool at Anfield. Chelsea host Peterborough United and Arsenal travel to Preston North End. Could we see some major upsets? Will there be any “Giant Killings”? How will your team do? We never know what could happen and that’s why we love “The magic of the FA Cup”.