Wigan, Blackburn big casualties in FA Cup third round

Premier League strugglers Wigan were the highest profile casualties as the FA Cup third round lived up to its fabled giant-killing tradition on Saturday.

Updated: January 08, 2012 09:16 IST
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London: Premier League strugglers Wigan were the highest profile casualties as the FA Cup third round lived up to its fabled giant-killing tradition on Saturday.

Wigan crashed out 2-1 at League Two outfit Swindon as the Latics' troubled season took another miserable turn.

Calum McManaman had put Wigan 1-0 up but Swindon, managed by Italian Paolo Di Canio, struck back to claim a famous win with goals coming from Alan Connell and Paul Benson.

A jubilant Di Canio hailed the result as the "best moment of my life".

"This is something special - an amazing performance against a team three divisions above us," Di Canio said. "The players have been fantastic because to play under me is difficult.

"My lads today deserve something from the club. I don't want a big statue, maybe just a small plaque with all their names because they did something special," he said.

Bolton narrowly avoided becoming another Premier League casualty as they were forced to come from behind to scramble a 2-2 draw at Macclesfield, the League Two side who are 64 places below Wanderers.

Ivan Klasnic had fired Bolton ahead on seven minutes at Macclesfield's Moss Rose ground before the minnows hit back through Colin Daniel and Arnaud Mendy to take a 2-1 lead. David Wheater equalised for Bolton 13 minutes from time.

QPR - who have not won an FA Cup tie since 2001 - also left it late before salvaging a 1-1 draw against promotion-chasing League One side Milton Keynes Dons at the Stadium MK.

Dean Bowditch had put the Dons on course for an upset before QPR equalised through Icelandic veteran Heidar Helguson on 89 minutes.

Other Premier League sides in action on Saturday all made sure of their places in the fourth round.

A virtual second-string Tottenham breezed past Cheltenham 3-0 with goals from Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Giovani Dos Santos.

Fulham, meanwhile, crushed League One leaders Charlton 4-0 at Craven Cottage, Clint Dempsey scoring a hat-trick and Damien Duff getting on the scoresheet for Martin Jol's side.

Everton brought non-league Tamworth's FA Cup campaign to an end with a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park, Johnny Heitinga and Leighton Baines getting the goals.

West Bromwich Albion were comfortable 4-2 winners over Cardiff while Swansea were made to work hard before downing Barnsley by the same scoreline.

Norwich proved too strong for Championship side Burnley, Paul Lambert's team romping to a 4-1 win at Carrow Road.

Newcastle won the day's only all-Premier League clash, coming from behind to beat Blackburn 2-1 at St James Park.

David Goodwillie had shot Rovers ahead on 35 minutes before Hatem Ben Arfa equalised for the Magpies. A replay at Ewood Park looked the likeliest outcome until Jonas Gutierrez struck in the fifth minute of injury time to sink Rovers.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis meanwhile enjoyed a winning return to his former club Gillingham, the Potters winning 3-1 at Priestfield.

Aston Villa completed a largely trouble-free day for the Premier League's sides, strolling to a 3-1 victory over Bristol Rovers in the late kick-off courtesy of goals from Marc Albrighton, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ciaran Clark.

Rovers briefly threatened a grandstand finish when Scott McGleish pulled one back on 90 minutes before being awarded a penalty a minute later. McGleish's injury time spot-kick was saved by Brad Guzan however, and Villa were through.

It was a largely disappointing day for the four non-league sides left in the draw, with only Wrexham managing to avoid defeat.

Tamworth lost at Everton, Fleetwood were thrashed 5-1 by Championship side Blackpool as Salisbury bowed out 3-1 at Sheffield United.

Wrexham, authors of one of the most famous upsets in FA Cup history when they beat Arsenal in 1992 when they were bottom of the old Fourth Division, also appeared to be heading for defeat before securing a 1-1 draw at Brighton.

In the early game, Birmingham and Wolves ground out a drab 0-0 draw in a Midlands derby at St Andrews.

Liverpool had got the third round under way on Friday with a 5-1 victory over Oldham at Anfield.

The pick of the third round ties falls on Sunday, when holders Manchester City take on bitter rivals Manchester United at Eastlands, with Arsenal entertaining Leeds on Monday.

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