6 Jan 2002:  Manchester United fans invade the pitch after Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored two successive goal  during the AXA sponsored FA Cup Third Round match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park, Birmingham. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

10 of the Greatest FA Cup Third Round Ties of All Time

​FA Cup third round weekend is a bit like a second Christmas for football fans (before, obviously the recently-invented third Christmas of winter window Deadline Day), and it's thrown up some brilliant games over the years. 


Before either of Shrewsbury's fans get narky - this is strictly a no-upsets zone. That's being covered elsewhere, you'll be fine. 


Shall we get into it?

10. Wolves 3-2 Newcastle, 2003

​The closest we'll get to a proper 'cupset' on this list - Wolves led 2-0 early on thanks to goals from Paul Ince and Mark Kennedy before a first Magpies goal for Jermaine Jenas (who retired from football this week) and an Alan Shearer penalty brought the scores level at the half - but Wolves were not to be denied, George Ndah netting the winner in an action-packed second half. 

9. Fulham 4-3 Leicester, 2007

​One of the great third round replays, goals from Matt Fryatt, Gareth McAuley and James Wesolowski actually had the Foxes 3-1 up shortly after half-time before a Vincenzo Montella brace saw the game level at the hour mark. A nervy last half an hour followed, before Wayne Routledge's excellent injury-time winner prevented extra time and penalties. 

8. AFC Wimbledon 1-2 Liverpool, 2015

​One of the most-hyped third round ties in years, with memories of the fabled 'Crazy Gang' 1988 FA Cup final flooding back - and the game did its best to live up to the hype. The modern Wimbledon's own cult hero Adebayo Akinfenwa scoring to give fans hope of another upset, before Steven Gerrard broke their hearts with a second-half free kick. 

7. Nottingham Forest 0-1 Manchester United, 1990

​Maybe not a classic like a number of games on this list, but possibly the most significant third round match in English football history. Alex Ferguson (no 'Sir' in those days) was under severe pressure at Old Trafford, and only a header from unheralded 20-year-old Mark Robins took the team past Forest - a strike which has since gone down in legend as the goal which saved Ferguson's job. 

6. Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United, 2012

​Manchester derbies are fun whatever happens, but cup ties always have an extra edge to them. Goals, drama, a red card, a comeback...and Paul Scholes' return from retirement just before the match, coming off the bench around the hour mark. The tie of the round, by a margin. 

5. Grimsby 2-3 Huddersfield, 2014

​Glitz! Glamour! ...Er, or not. But Grimsby and Huddersfield showed in 2014 that big names aren't needed to create nail-biting tension and incredible drama, with the Championship side coming back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in the last five minutes, a 90th minute own goal sealing their passage. 

4. Blyth Spartans 2-3 Birmingham, 2015

​So nearly one of the FA Cup's all-time great shocks, part-time bartender Robbie Dale put the Spartans 2-0 up on their Championship opposition at half-time, with a full 120 places between the two sides in the football pyramid. It wasn't to be in the end, Lee Novak and Wes Thomas saving City, but the game was a reminder of the fabled 'magic of the cup'. 

3. Sheffield Wednesday vs Arsenal, 1979

​An absolute marathon. Before the days of limits on number of replays, the first FOUR matches all finished in draws (1-1, 1-1, 2-2, 3-3) before being decided in, astonishingly, the fourth replay where Frank Stapleton and Steve Gatting gave the Gunners a 2-0 win. They won the cup that season. 

2. Aston Villa 2-3 Manchester United, 2002

After a goalless first 45 minutes. Villa stormed 2-0 up before a late rally saw United score three times past club legend Peter Schmeichel in the last quarter of an hour to seal a dramatic win, with Ruud van Nistelrooy providing the finishing touch for the last two. 

1. Luton Town 3-5 Liverpool, 2006

​A missed penalty, a sniff of an upset, a comeback from 3-1 down, a Steven Gerrard beauty, a Xabi Alonso lob, a goal from halfway...there was very little this game didn't have. Astonishing from start to finish, one of the very best. 

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