It's the Emirates FA Cup third round this week, but will we witness any big upsets?

The Emirates FA Cup third round is one of the biggest weekends in the English football calendar, and we look back at some memorable giant-killings from down the years...

Wednesday 03 Jan 2024
The 2022-23 Emirates FA Cup third round takes place between 6-9 January 2023

We've all got them...our favourite Emirates FA Cup third round ties and upsets.

Whether it's seeing the brave and fearless underdogs taking on a top-flight team, or a plucky non-League side giving an EFL club a run for their money, FA Cup history is full of great stories, images and moments from down the years.

The Emirates FA Cup
  • Third Round Proper
  • 4-8 January 2024
  • Winning clubs receive £105,000
  • Live on BBC, ITV, STV & UTV in the UK

And the third round proper is where many of these moments take place, as all clubs from the top two divisions join those teams who have often played through multiple qualifying rounds to take their place in the hat for the draw.

Once there, it's a chance of glory and to seal a place in the fourth round with an opportunity to make a name for themselves with a Cup upset or even simply pitting their wits against the best at a venue many players might only dream of gracing.

While there's many classic ties to choose from, we've picked out a few of the biggest third round upsets from years gone by, so keep scrolling down to see them.

Remember, it's the third round this weekend, with ties scheduled across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.


Sutton United 2-1 Coventry City
7 January 1989
Gander Green Lane

Coventry City had been FA Cup holders just 18 months earlier, when they travelled south to take on Sutton United. The Sky Blues arrived in Surrey with confidence after a solid start to their season in the top division, so few expected to see what happened occur when the competition came back to remind them how it can work both ways.

Coventry were left stunned, as goals from Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan helped secure victory for the non-League side who were managed by English teacher Barrie Williams.


Hereford United 2-1 Newcastle United
5 February 1972
Edgar Street

Ah, the original classic FA Cup giant-killing. A bobbly pitch and bad weather, a non-League team hosting a top-flight club, a packed crowd at fever pitch and a stunning strike to live long in the memory. This one ticked all the boxes.

Hereford of the Southern League had already caused an upset when they secured a replay with a 2-2 draw in the first tie at St James' Park. They were still given little hope of progressing, and despite Newcastle taking the lead, Hereford bounced back thanks to Ronnie Radford’s world famous long-range strike to settle it at 1-1 and take the tie to extra time.

And when Ricky George hit the winner to seal a 2-1 win for the Bulls, it created a legacy of Cup upsets. Sadly, Radford passed away last November and he'll always be remembered as one of the original FA Cup heroes.


Shrewsbury Town 2-1 Everton
4 January 2003
Gay Meadow

The Shrews were battling it out at the bottom of the Football League when they faced an upwardly-mobile Everton team challenging for Europe and boasting a young Wayne Rooney in their ranks.

But David Moyes’ side were dealt a shock as the Toffees came unstuck thanks to a brace from Nigel Jemson on the banks of the River Severn. His first was a measured free-kick in the first half, and after Niclas Alexandersson had levelled things up, it looked like a replay at Goodison Park was on the cards.

But with just a minute left on the clock, Jemson glanced home a header to seal a fourth round tie with Chelsea.

West Bromwich Albion 2-4 Woking
5 January 1991
The Hawthorns

Woking, then of the Isthmian League, were given little chance of progress when they made the journey to face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns. The Baggies, then in the old Second Division, were caught cold as Woking found a Cup hero in the shape of Tim Buzaglo.

A computer specialist by day and a former cricket player for Gibraltar, Buzaglo’s hat-trick in this tie saw him leave the West Midlands with the match ball and also set up a fourth-round clash with Everton.

The Cards had found themselves behind at the break too, before a scintillating second-half show and a further goal from Terry Worsfold saw them applauded off the pitch by the Hawthorns crowd at full time.

Woking's FA Cup hat-trick hero Tim Buzaglo with manager Geoff Chapple after their third-round win over West Brom in 1991

Burnley 1-0 Liverpool
18 January 2005
Turf Moor

Our list is full of heroic, memorable and often majestic goals that will forever be part of FA Cup folklore.

And the winning goal in this tie proves just as memorable, even though it was an own goal from Liverpool’s Djimi Traore which settled the game in Burnley’s favour at an icy Turf Moor.

It was former Reds boss Rafa Benitez’s first taste of the competition in his maiden season at Anfield, and when he rested a number of his first-choice players, Steve Cotterill’s Clarets, then in the lower-half of the Championship, were given all the encouragement they needed.

The game was won in the second half, when a low cross from Richard Chaplow prompted Traore to attempt a 360-degree drag back at the far post but unfortunately for the Frenchman he miscued it completely before ending up wrapped in the netting along with the ball. 


Just a few months later, Liverpool went on to end the 2004-05 season by winning the Champions League title with victory over AC Milan in Istanbul. Quite a turnaround.

Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United
3 January 2010
Old Trafford

There’s never been any love lost between the cross-Pennine rivals and when they were paired together at Old Trafford, it became a must-watch tie. With Leeds having slumped from their previous top-flight status into League One at the time, not many gave them much of a chance against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Reds.

But backed by a large travelling support from Yorkshire, a well-taken strike from Jermain Beckford secured a stunning victory on 3 January, a date which is still celebrated by Leeds fans to this day…

Jermaine Beckford's winner against Manchester United is still revered by Leeds United fans to this day

Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal
4 January 1992
The Racecourse Ground

Another classic FA Cup tie, as Arsenal arrived in North Wales as reigning League champions to face a Wrexham team who were rooted to the foot of the old Fourth Division.

The Gunners edged ahead thanks to an Alan Smith goal but that was as good as it got for George Graham’s team as 37-year-old veteran Mickey Thomas unleashed a stunning 25-yard free-kick past David Seaman to equalise.

It was left to young striker Steve Watkin to score the winner and send their illustrious opponents crashing out.


Newport County 2-1 Leicester City
6 January 2019
Rodney Parade

Newport County of the fourth tier sprung a massive surprise three seasons ago, when they knocked out their Premier League guests in a fantastic tie at Rodney Parade. Jamille Matt put Michael Flynn’s Exiles ahead in the first half, before Rachid Ghezzal equalised in the last ten minutes to set up what most thought would be a replay.

But Newport weren’t finished, and Irish striker Padraig Amond restored their lead and a famous Cup victory with a cooly converted penalty with five minutes remaining.

Newport's goalscoring heroes from their victory over Leicester City were Jamille Day and Padraig Amond

Stevenage 3-1 Newcastle United
8 January 2011
Lamex Stadium

The Magpies became only the fourth top-flight team since the formation of the Premier League to lose to fourth-tier opposition during what was Stevenage's first season in the EFL.


Stacy Long gave them the lead, before Michael Bostwick added a second. Cheick Tiote's dismissal didn't help Newcastle's cause and, even though Joey Barton pulled one back, Peter Winn sealed a famous victory in injury time.

Oxford United 3-2 Swansea City
10 January 2016
Kassam Stadium

Kemar Roofe was the hero as League Two Oxford knocked Premier League Swansea out of the competition at the Kassam Stadium. Swansea took the lead after 23 minutes but three Oxford goals in the space of 14 minutes, including two for Roofe, sealed a memorable win for the U’s.


Derby County 1-3 Bristol Rovers
6 January 2002
Pride Park

Bristol Rovers became the first fourth tier club to win an FA Cup tie against Premier League opposition away from home, when they defeated Derby at Pride Park in 2002. Nathan Ellington was the hat-trick hero for Rovers, who sat 87th out of 92 League clubs at the time.

If you've enjoyed our feature and want to see more Emirates FA Cup action this season, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel to see all of the action and more from this season's competition.

Aston Villa 1-2 Stevenage
8 January 2023
Villa Park

The latest classic tie on our list: in-form Aston Villa were leading with two minutes remaining before a remarkable conclusion at the iconic Villa Park.

Stevenage had fired a warning shot early on when the League Two side had a goal disallowed for offside before Morgan Sanson looked set to send Unai Emery’s side into the fourth round.

But when Leander Dendoncker was sent off for bringing down Dean Campbell, receiving a straight red, James Reid converted the penalty with two minutes remaining and then in injury time, Campbell rifled in at the near post following a short corner to send through his side who were ranked 59 places below their counterparts.

By Frank Smith