the real fa cup

Big Time Charlies Arrive

The FA Cup 3rd Round draw has been made and pundits everywhere have been beside themselves with boredom at the outcome, apart from those that can see a fight brewing as Leeds most likely head to Old Trafford.

Here we go then, it’s time for the next round, the round that all still present have been hoping lands them a payday and 15 minutes of fame. We hope they got what they wanted but some of them probably didn’t.

A Doncaster Rovers Twitter feed has already apologised to Brentford fans hoping for a glamourous tie. Kettering now know they have probably just lost their best ever chance of taking on Manchester United. And there are quite a few ‘league games’ from Championship and Premier League that no team will be happy with and fewer fans will turn up to. An extra game just after Christmas and we’re suspecting attendances will take a hit this year.

So, what games do we find interesting? Well, obviously the lower ranked ones but, in particular, these:

Notts County v Forest Green

Sven and Backe will have no idea who Forest Green are and even less idea about where it is. Forest Green must be absolutely cursing their luck. The 3rd worst Blue Square Premier side have now been in 3 rounds with league teams present and this is the first time they’ve actually drawn one. In Round 1 they were drawn away at high flying Conference side Mansfield. Somehow , and surprisingly, they overcame them and were ‘rewarded’ with an away tie at lowly Bath City. Banana skin avoided they must have groaned when, with Notts County already drawn, Sir Redgrave culled their little number with his massive great hands. Not only non-glamourous but also likely defeat. What a sad lack of reward for getting to round 3, they must have thought. But, Notts County are not unbeatable and they are only in the league below The Green. So, maybe Forest Green are this year’s surprise package to reach the latter rounds?

Sunderland v Oxford United or Barrow

This is interesting, Premier League against non-league. Sunderland are erratic too, inspired one week, hopeless the next. Of course, there is a replay to decide who gets to be the lamb being brought to slaughter … but … One outcome could see the 1985 League Cup runners up against the 1986 winners and, at the time, Oxford were the better side. Sunderland, along with winners Norwich, were both relegated from the top flight after they were in the final. Oxford only avoided the same fate on the last day of the season in the following year but they survived and spent a rare few years above Sunderland in the pyramid. How fortunes have changed. Indeed, even in 2003 when these two teams met and Sunderland won 2-0, there was already a huge gap.

Barrow, on the other hand, haven’t been a league side since being voted out of the old Division 4 in favour of Hereford United in 1972. Even when they were in the league they only troubled the third tier briefly, most time was spent in Division 4. Also, they have never played Sunderland in meaningful competition. Barrow are, currently, enjoying something of a renaissance and they’ve retained an FA Cup interest well into November in most recent seasons. In last season’s 3rd round they gave the Mackems North East rivals Middlesborough a big scare in a 2-1 defeat, similar scare given to Bristol Rovers in 2006 by 3 goals to 2.

Huddersfield v WBA

This one is odd, two old clubs with fairly rich FA Cup histories but they have only played each other once, in 1929! Huddersfield won, after a replay, and went on to the semis. Between them, Huddersfield and West Brom have played in 15 FA Cup finals, the former have won it only once but West Brom have managed it five times but, obviously, not for some time of course. However, we’ve picked this game out for entertainment as much as for the rich history. Both these teams are right up at the business end of their respective leagues but, more importantly, they are both the top scorers in their league so we’re hoping this could be one of the games of the round.

We’ll have a ponder on the fixtures and see if we have enough for a short list of real games for next round’s vote!

FA CUP 3rd Round DRAW

Tottenham v Peterborough United
Brentford v Doncaster Rovers
Middlesbrough v Manchester City
Stoke City v York City
Notts County v Forest Green Rovers
Huddersfield Town v West Bromwich Albion
Sheffield United v QPR
MK Dons v Burnley
Chelsea v Watford
Nottingham Forest v Birmingham City
Preston North End v Colchester United
West Ham United v Arsenal
Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers
Portsmouth v Coventry City
Sunderland v Oxford United or Barrow
Wigan Athletic v Hull City
Everton v Carlisle United
Sheffield Wednesday v Crystal Palace
Tranmere Rovers or Aldershot Town v Wolves
Blackpool v Ipswich Town
Fulham v Swindon Town
Stockport County or Torquay v Brighton
Scunthorpe United v Barnsley
Southampton v Rotherham United or Luton Town
Bristol City v Cardiff City
Reading v Liverpool
Staines Town or Millwall v Derby County
Plymouth Argyle v Newcastle United
Leicester City v Swansea City
Bolton Wanderers v Lincoln City
Accrington Stanley or Barnet v Gillingham
Manchester United v Kettering Town or Leeds United

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