Newcastle and Sunderland humbled
Newcastle crashed out of the FA Cup to League Two strugglers Stevenage, losing 3-1 in Saturday's late kick-off at Broadhall Way. A Mike Williamson own goal sparked the Magpies' downfall five minutes after half-time, completing a miserable weekend for the North East after Sunderland and Middlesbrough also exited the competition.
Alan Pardew fielded a strong Newcastle line-up featuring the likes of Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan, although Andy Carroll was absent as he is recuperating in Dubai. Stevenage were clearly the better side throughout the opening 45 minutes, though, and the visitors were grateful for a smart low save by Tim Krul.
The crucial breakthrough arrived five minutes into the second half, when Stacy Long drove at the Newcastle defence before unleashing a fizzing shot that appeared to be drifting wide. However, Williamson's attempted block only succeeded in sending the ball into the opposite corner from where Krul had dived.
Nolan instantly forced a fine save from Chris Day as Newcastle chased an equaliser, but within five minutes they were 2-0 down as Michael Bostwick rattled an excellent strike in off the far post.
Things went from bad to worse for Newcastle 20 minutes from time when Cheik Tiote saw red for a reckless lunge over the top of the ball, and Barton's injury-time long-ranger was immediately answered by Peter Winn as Stevenage cemented a famous victory.
Sunderland slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Notts County. The League One side have only won two away league fixtures all season, but they deservedly advanced to the fourth round as Sunderland offered little on home turf.
The Black Cats had lost just one league game on Wearside all season, yet they fell behind after only five minutes to County, who struck through Craig Westcarr. Steve Bruce fielded plenty of regular first-teamers such as Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan, but they simply could not get going in a frustrating performance.
No doubt spurred on by a half-time roasting from Bruce, Sunderland looked a better side after the interval, but they could not find an equaliser and, with 15 minutes remaining, County effectively killed the tie off, with former West Brom man Lee Hughes netting his tenth goal of the season. Bent converted a late penalty to offer Sunderland hope, but Paul Ince's men held on for victory.
A last-minute penalty from Cesc Fabregas earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw with Leeds United at Emirates Stadium. Leeds looked on course to repeat their giant-killing antics - they knocked out Manchester United at this stage last season - until Fabregas struck after Theo Walcott had been fouled by Ben Parker.
Following a subdued first half in which the Gunners created few chances, Leeds took the lead early in the second period when Robert Snodgrass struck from the penalty spot after Denilson clumsily felled Max Gradel. The Gunners appeared to have run out of steam heading into the final stages of the match, but they were stirred into life when Walcott was denied a penalty due to Nicklas Bendtner running offside. Seconds later Walcott was again felled, handing Fabregas the chance to earn his side a replay at Elland Road.
Avram Grant's immediate future at West Ham looks marginally more secure after the Hammers beat Barnsley 2-0 in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
Grant was reportedly told to use the Upton Park encounter to save his job, with West Ham still bottom of the Premier League table. The response from his team was admirable in tough circumstances, with Jonathan Spector handing them a deserved lead on the half hour and Frederic Piquionne sealing matters in injury-time.
Gerard Houllier enjoyed a significant boost as he attempts to hold onto his position as manager at Aston Villa, beating Sheffield United 3-1 at Bramall Lane. Houllier added the loan capture of Kyle Walker to his squad during the week, and the young defender delivered a dream response with the opening goal on debut, meandering past two defenders before finding the net against his former club.
It was 2-0 before half-time as Houllier's two wingers combined, with Ashley Young sweeping a cross to the far post where Marc Albrighton guided home with his left foot for his fifth goal of the season. The Blades were not out of it, though, having hit back from two down in their last league game, and they halved the deficit three minutes into the second half, Jamie Ward converting from the spot after Carlos Cuellar's unnecessary foul. Ashley Young then saw red for two bookable offences with 15 minutes remaining, but Stiliyan Petrov wrapped things up in injury-time.
Mark Hughes, another manager under pressure as Fulham sit just a point above the relegation zone, eased his troubles with a 6-2 triumph over Peterborough. Diomansy Kamara grabbed a hat-trick for the Cottagers, who also found goals through Dickson Etuhu, Zoltan Gera and Jonathan Greening.
Wolves failed to back up recent victories over Liverpool and Chelsea at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium, drawing 2-2. Mick McCarthy was off his seat early on as Nenad Milijas handed his men the lead, smacking home a brilliant 30-yarder after the Doncaster defence had welcomed him to shoot.
However, two goals in a minute turned the match on its head, with Billy Sharp and James Hayter handing Doncaster a 2-1 half-time advantage. Stephen Hunt's penalty restored parity on the hour, but George Elokobi was dismissed for an awful challenge with little over ten minutes left, leaving Wolves to hang on for the replay.
West Brom were another Premier League third-round casualty, losing 1-0 away at in-form Reading. Shane Long netted his 11th Reading goal of an increasingly prolific season, picking the ball up 12 yards out before finding the corner of Boaz Myhill's net. Jonas Olsson saw red for the Baggies in the second half after he picked up a second booking on a bad day at the office for Roberto Di Matteo's men.
Wigan avoided any slip-ups during a potentially tricky trip to Hull at the KC Stadium, winning 3-2 on a ground where Hull have conceded just six league goals this season. Mohamed Diame broke the deadlock on 21 minutes, poking home after Matt Duke had made the initial save, and Callum McManaman added a brilliant individual effort for the Latics' second. Nick Barmby stepped off the bench to offer late hope for Hull, but Diame's second ensured Wigan would advance to round four despite a second for Barmby in the 89th minute.
Everton comfortably negotiated their path into the fourth round, defeating Scunthorpe 5-1 at Glanford Park. Louis Saha struck after only four minutes, switching the ball onto his left foot to drill into the bottom corner. Jermaine Beckford missed a host of first-half chances before the former Leeds man eventually did find the target, expertly using the pace on the cross to guide a header into the corner for 2-0.
Scunthorpe raised a few alarm bells when Michael Collins scored 60 seconds into the second period, but Seamus Coleman ended the fightback on the hour before Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines added goals four and five for the 2009 finalists.
Ian Holloway followed through on his promise to field a second-string side as Blackpool took on Southampton at St Mary's, and the gamble proved costly as the Saints came away with a 2-0 victory. Lee Barnard found a second-half breakthrough for the home side, who confirmed their place in round four with an 89th-minute clincher from Brazilian midfielder Guly.
Stoke were forced to come from behind as they drew 1-1 with Cardiff at the Britannia Stadium. The opening goal was an uncharacteristic one for Stoke to concede as Stephen McPhail sent a high cross towards the back post, where Chopra headed against the woodwork before poking the rebound in. Stoke's reply came on the stroke of half-time, with Tuncay Sanli applying a delightful finish to a route one move, guiding home from 20 yards after Ricardo Fuller's flick-on.
Matt Derbyshire grabbed a brace as Birmingham City thumped Milwall 4-1 at The Den, with Blues' other strikes coming from David Murphy and Cameron Jerome. Danny Schofield scored an injury-time consolation for the hosts, who saw their eight-game unbeaten run ended.
Blackburn followed up Wednesday's victory over Liverpool with a 1-0 win against championship leaders Queens Park Rangers at Ewood Park, David Hoilett pouncing with 13 minutes remaining. Neighbours Bolton, meanwhile, eventually got the better of York at the Reebok Stadium, winning 2-0 thanks to late strikes from Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander.
Hereford United (second round)
Brighton 3-1 Portsmouth
Burnley 4-2 Port Vale
Burton Albion 2-1 Middlesbrough
Coventry City 2-1 Crystal Palace
Huddersfield Town 2-0 Dover
Norwich City 0-1 Leyton Orient
Swansea City 4-0 Colchester United
Torquay United 1-0 Carlisle United
Watford 4-1 Hartlepool United