Padraig Amond

15 Great FA Cup Third Round Upsets

The third round of the FA Cup is finally here. 


This is where things really gets serious as Premier League and Championship clubs enter the fray, but there's still no escaping the giant killings that it make it the greatest cup competition in the world.

There have been countless third round shocks over the years and here's a look at 15 of the very best...

15. Havant & Waterlooville 4-2 Swansea City, 2008

​Swansea were just one of several scalps claimed by Havant & Waterlooville on their epic FA Cup run during the 2007/08 campaign. 


The Swans were flying high in League One and would go on to earn automatic promotion to the Championship, but they were humiliated by a 4-2 score-line in a replay against the semi-pros of Havant.

14. Everton 0-1 Oldham Athletic, 2008

​Everton were doing very well and challenging in the Premier League's top five when they hosted League One's Oldham Athletic at Goodison Park in January 2005. 


But Gary McDonald scored the only goal of the game from all of 25 yards for the underdogs to stun the Toffees in their own back yard.

13. Burnley 1-0 Liverpool, 2005

Burnley's third round win over ​Liverpool in January wasn't exactly what one would describe as a massive shock - the Clarets were just one division below their Premier League opponents - but it featured a brilliantly calamitous own goal from cult figure Djimi Traore. 


Bizarrely, the Reds would be European champions just a few months later.

12. Newport County 2-1 Leicester City, 2019

Newport County are among the most recent giant killers in the competition, dumping Leicester City out of the competition in 2019 with a 2-1 win at Rodney Parade.


Michael Flynn's lot have a habit of pulling off surprise victories, and earned a place in roudn four here courtesy of a Padraig Among penalty.

11. Burnley 0-1 Wimbledon, 1975

​Wimbledon produced one of the all-time great FA Cup memories when they beat Liverpool in the 1988 final at Wembley. But the Dons had already created a giant killing legacy 13 years earlier as the non-league side that knocked a top flight Burnley out in the third round.


Goalkeeper Dickie Guy, who became president of the newly formed AFC Wimbledon in 2004, was the hero on the day.

10. Cardiff City 2-1 Leeds United, 2002

Leeds and Cardiff may be on similar footing now, but they were truly worlds apart when they met in the third round in 2002. 


Cardiff were in the third tier, while ​Leeds had been competing in the Champions League semi-finals just eight months earlier. The fact that David O'Leary insisted Leeds would lift the cup that season made it even more of a shock.

9. Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United, 2010

Once upon a time, ​Manchester United vs Leeds United would have been a heavyweight clash of epic proportion. 


But when they met in January 2010, it was the reigning English champions against a lowly League One side. 


If Leeds were supposed to roll over and die, nobody told Jermaine Beckford, who scored the only goal of the game.

8. Shrewsbury Town 2-1 Everton, 2003

Division Three ​Shrewsbury Town claimed quite a scalp in January 2003 when Everton were embarrassed at Gay Meadow. 


It was veteran, journeyman striker Nigel Jemson who did the damage in what was David Moyes' first full season with the Toffees. The Shrews were managed by Everton legend Kevin Ratcliffe as well.

7. Birmingham City 1-2 Altrincham, 1986

Altrincham are the undisputed kings of FA Cup giant killings, claiming more league scalps in the competition than any other non-league club. Perhaps their crowning glory came in 1986 when First Division Birmingham City were the unsuspecting victims at St Andrews.


In the 1970s, the Robins had taken both Everton and Tottenham to third round replays too.

6. Walsall 2-0 Arsenal, 1933

Herbert Chapman's Arsenal were the heavyweights of English football in the 1930s, so one can imagine the shock when the Gunners were beaten by Walsall in the third round of the cup in 1933.


BBC commentator John Motson chose this one as his 8th greatest FA Cup shock of all time in 2015, telling the ​Daily Mail: "​Arsenal were so humiliated by Third Division Walsall that, on the train home, Chapman sacked the defender who gave away one of the goals."

5. Worcester City 2-1 Liverpool, 1959

​Just 11 months before Bill Shankly arrived at Liverpool and set about transforming the club into the powerhouse that would dominate English and European football in the 1970s and 1980s, they had been humbled by non-league Worcester City in the third round of the cup.


Liverpool were only a Second Division side at the time, but it was still a huge upset that set things in motion to change things at Anfield forever.

4. Sutton United 2-1 Coventry City, 1989

Just two years prior to being dumped out in the third round by non-league Sutton United, Coventry City were winning the FA Cup against the odds by beating Tottenham at Wembley.


Past glories mean nothing, though, do they?

3. Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal, 1992

Welsh legend ​Mickey Thomas played for the likes of Everton, Manchester United and Chelsea during his long career, but now it's the thunderous free-kick that helped Wrexham knock the mighty Arsenal out in third round which is what he's most fondly remembered for.

2. Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United, 1984

​Manchester United were the cup holders when they were paired with Bournemouth in the third round of the 1983/84 competition. 


A young Harry Redknapp was in charge of the third tier Cherries, who stunned their big name opponents with an unthinkable 2-0 win. 

1. Hereford United 2-1 Newcastle United, 1972

​One of the most iconic goals in FA Cup history belongs to Ronnie Radford, as lowly Hereford United sent Newcastle crashing out of the third round in January 1972.


Radford's screamer on that truly awful pitch sent the replay to extra-time, with Ricky George then winning it for the minnows.