Nottingham Forest knock holders Arsenal out of Emirates FA Cup after thrilling win

Sunday 07 Jan 2018
Eric Lichaj scored twice in Nottingham Forest's Emirates FA Cup win over Arsenal

Emirates FA Cup holders Arsenal fell at the first hurdle this season as a brace from Eric Lichaj saw them fall to Championship Nottingham Forest.

Forest, under the stewardship of caretaker boss Gary Brazil following Mark Warburton’s sacking on New Year’s Eve, ran out 4-2 winners at a raucous City Ground, with spot-kicks from Ben Brereton and Kieran Dowell adding to Lichaj’s first-half brace.

The American defender didn’t get the opportunity to complete an unlikely hat-trick as the hosts converted two penalties but was nonetheless delighted to play his part in the third round upset.

"My wife told me that if I get a hat-trick any time within the year that I get a dog, so I was trying to get the penalty but Vaughany [David Vaughan] told me politely to go away," said the 29-year-old.

The Emirates FA Cup
  • Third Round
  • Sunday 7 January 2018
  • By Dan Barnes

"When I hit [my second goal], I knew it was going in. I was really excited and I ran off, and I kind of slipped.

"Usually, you’ve got fans at the back of the goal but I realised it was all Arsenal fans, so I had to go run into the corner.

"It was a good day. We put a shift in and I think we deserved to win."

With 20 minutes gone, Lichaj thumped home a Dowell free-kick from close range but within a flash, Per Mertesacker converted after Rob Holding’s header pinged back off the Forest post.

Not to have his thunder stolen, however, defender Lichaj produced something right out of the top drawer, bringing Holding’s clearance down on his chest before volleying into the top corner, leaving Gunners keeper David Ospina a spectator.

In the second period, Arsenal’s Holding chopped down Matthew Cash in the area and 18-year-old Brereton held his nerve to slam home the resulting penalty.

With 11 minutes to go, Danny Welbeck capitalised on Forest keeper Jordan Smith’s miscontrol to slide into an unguarded net and haul the Gunners back to within a single goal.

But with 84 minutes on the clock, former Arsenal man Armand Traore burst into the box and went down under Mathieu Debuchy’s sliding challenge.

Dowell converted from the spot despite referee Jon Moss consulting with his assistant as Gunners’ players claimed the midfielder had struck the ball twice.

The drama wasn’t done there as Forest went down to 10 men a minute from time, Joe Worrall seeing red for crashing into Eddie Nketiah.

The other big shock of the day saw League Two Newport County dump Leeds United out of the world’s original cup competition in dramatic circumstances.

Shawn McCoulsky’s last-gasp header sealed a 2-1 triumph for Michael Flynn’s Exiles, who had fallen behind when Leeds’ Swiss full-back Gaetano Berardi saw his deflected strike wrong-foot Newport goalie Joe Day, the 29-year-old celebrating his first goal for the club.

But with 14 minutes remaining, Frank Nouble’s cross deflected off both Padraig Amond and then Conor Shaughnessy before diverting past Andy Lonergan to restore parity.

That set the stage for McCoulsky to fire Newport into the fourth round, with Leeds' misery compounded as Samuel Saiz was sent off for his part in a bust-up following the winning goal.

League One promotion-chasers Shrewsbury Town can look forward to a trip to the London Stadium later this month after holding West Ham United to a 0-0 draw at New Meadow.

Ben Godfrey went close to giving the hosts the lead while Mat Sadler and Alex Rodman drew saves from former Shrews keeper Joe Hart.

The Hammers, meanwhile, managed just two shots on target all game, both coming from Andre Ayew.

England striker Harry Kane hit a brace as Tottenham Hotspur saw off AFC Wimbledon 3-0 at Wembley.

Spurs were frustrated by their fellow Londoners during the first 45 minutes but top-flight quality eventually told in the second period, Kane converting twice in the space of three minutes, Moussa Sissoko and Kyle Walker-Peters providing respectively.

Jan Vertonghen’s stonking long-range strike – his first Tottenham goal since October 2013 – deflected in off Barry Fuller to put the cherry on the cake for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

By FA Staff