Fans or no fans, the FA Cup never lets you down, does it?
The cup magic might only sound like a tired old platitude when Spurs are particularly mean to an eighth-seeded side, or when Liverpool try to fight their way to a 4-1 victory over some Birmingham kids.
But try telling Chorley, Crawley, Blackpool or Plymouth Argyle that there isn’t one Something to the particular reputation of the competition.
As a tumultuous third round draws to a close, Stockport v West Ham aside, 90 mins have taken a look back at every game over the weekend and named best XI.
Chris Maxwell (GK) – The Blackpool keeper was a steady pair of hands for his team as they led West Brom to penalties and then became the hero. The Welshman made three saves in the shootout, including Matheus Pereira’s decisive save, to send his side.
Joe Edwards (RB) – In a round filled with fairytale drama, Plymouth’s victory over Huddersfield was one of the lowest upsets – but try saying that to the League One team who came back twice from behind to book its place in the hat. The winning goal was scored by captain Edwards, who broke in from the right to get past a cross and send his team through.
Dominic Revan (CB) – Revan was a star made up in the heart of an Aston Villa back four that was under siege for 90 minutes against a strong Liverpool side. The children of Villa could hardly have asked for more of themselves under the circumstances and Revan – captain of the night – may have played in the first team.
Jordan Tunnicliffe (CB) – Crawley’s frenzied victory over Leeds was the story of the tour as the Ligue 2 side rose to their feet and matched the Premier League’s top thieves blow for blow. The rout was complete when Tunnicliffe swept one up close, a fair reward for the bravery, leadership and commitment he had shown throughout.
James Justin (LB) – Could have scored the competition goal as far as it came from the left and wound up a beauty in the far corner. Assisted Leicester to a resounding 4-0 win over Stoke – a tie that quickly lost its banana peel credentials.
Image ID: Callum Hudson-Odoi (RM) – Chelsea were not at their best but took a 4-0 victory over Morecambe as Hudson-Odoi led the show from the outside. He scored one, helped another and gave Frank Lampard something to think about when he picks his side to face Fulham this weekend.
Mike Calveley (CM) – Chorley’s victory over Derby might have lost its ‘giant murder’ advantage, as nine of Derby’s players made their senior debuts, but it was still a monumental result for the sixth-seeded side. At the heart of it all was Calveley, 21, whose winning goal reserved their progress to the fourth round.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – A 3-0 win over Birmingham was pretty much what we expected from Manchester City but the game was over after 15 minutes thanks to an explosive brace from Bernardo. Instrumental performance in the heart of the midfield.
Nick Tsaroulla (LM) – There were maybe 64 teams in action but Crawley was so good they got two places in the XI for themselves. After a few tough years, the former Spurs kid pulled off an incredible solo effort that sparked Leeds’ implosion, and possibly his career.
Carlos Vinicius (CF) – Whether you love or hate Vinicius’ unfiltered shit ramming the ball into the net from half a yard against an eighth-place team, then celebrating it by flexing for the camera, you have to admire his performance. Two of the easiest goals you can see came before a delicious third and the match ball.
Joshua King (CF) – Bournemouth’s 4-1 win over Oldham was one of the “meh” results as far as neutrals were concerned, but it was instrumented by King who missed the scoring for the season with a late brace that put the Cherries out of sight. He had previously fired David Brooks for the opener and was generally an absolute devastator.