Greatest FA Cup ties: Early Exits


The fourth round of the F.A Cup gets underway over this weekend with plenty of scope for an upset or two across the three days of action.

Before the going gets too tough and in all likelihood only Premier LEague teams remain, GMF recalls some of the best early round F.A Cup ties that saw some of the big boys tumbling out of the competition and smaller clubs writing a thrilling new chapter in their history books.


Tottenham 3-4 Manchester City, 2004 – 5th round


Not so much an upset because of the presence of two Premier League clubs, but it is the nature of Tottenham’s 5th round tie against Manchester City that makes this one of the classic early-round ties.


Tottenham got off to an excellent start when Ledley King grabbed the opener, before things got even better thanks to efforts from Robbie Keane and Christian Ziege, and when Joey Barton was sent off on the stroke of half time, the Lilywhites would have thought they were home and hosed.


Cue one of the greatest F.A Cup comebacks of all time – Sylvan Distan gave Man City hope of a remarkable turnaround, Paul Bosvelt got the second before Shaun Wright Phillips drew the scores level and Jonathan Macken wrote his name into the history books by grabbing the winner.


Manchester United 0-1 Leeds, 2010 – 3rd round


League One side Leeds were responsible for the biggest early round upset in 2010 as Manchester United were sent tumbling out of the competition at the first hurdle.


Jermaine Beckford’s early effort put Leeds ahead at Old Trafford with an immaculately taken goal, before a resolute defensive effort from Simon Grayson’s side saw off the reigning Premier League champions.


Havant and Waterlooville 4-2 Swansea City, 2008 - 3rd Round


Any half decent Cup run can be immortalized on DVD but few would argue with the validity of the commemorative gift produced Havant and Waterloovile in 2008.


Their epic tie against Liverpool was just a twinkle in the south coast’s club eye as they first negotiated their way past a Swansea side that, while not yet a Premier League outfit, still resided three leagues higher than their opponents.


Goals from Rocky Baptiste, Garry Monk, Jamie Collins and Tom Jordan helped the Blue Square South outfit through the fourth round, where they would go on to give Liverpool the fright of their lives.


Shrewsbury 2-1 Everton, 2003 – 3rd round


Eighty league places below 3rd round opponents in 2003, Shrewsbury were given little hope of pulling off an upset against Everton.


A certain Wayne Rooney lined up for the Toffees, but even he couldn’t match the efforts of Nigel Jemson, whose two goals helped secure one of the greatest upsets of recent years.



Hereford 2-1 Newcastle, 1972 – 3rd round replay


Generally considered as one of the greatest cup upsets of all time, no round up of the F.A Cup would be complete without a blast from the past like Newcastle’s humbling at the hands of Hereford.


The non-league outfit were able to knock their illustrious opponents out thanks to Ronnie Radford’s famous effort from long distance drew the sides level after Malcom MacDonald’s opener before Ricky George sealed the deal at the second attempt.



Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal, 1992 – 3rd round


Another huge upset at the expense of a top-tier side, it was lowly Wrexham this time who took the glory despite going behind to an early Alan Smith strike.


Evidently the Welsh side didn’t read the script as Micky Thomas struck his iconic free-kick to pull the sides level, before Steve Watkin sealed the deal to send the Racecourse ground wild.

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