The 2014-15 FA Cup third round features three legendary giant killers in Yeovil, Blyth Spartans and Wimbledon. Conference sides Wrexham, Gateshead and Dover face Stoke City, West Brom and Crystal Palace respectively while third-round debutants AFC Wimbledon host Liverpool and Manchester United travel to Yeovil. Here’s a look at the candidates who could go down in FA Cup history along with the best bets from online bookmakers.
Blyth Spartans v Birmingham
Blyth are the lowest ranked team remaining in the FA Cup, playing in the Northern Premier League on level 7 of football league pyramid. However the club has FA Cup form, appearing in the third round on three previous occasions and taking the scalp of second tier club Stoke City in 1977-78 on a run that took Spartans to the fifth round.
Birmingham have suffered the ignomony of falling to a non-league side before, defeated 2-1 at St Andrews in the third round by Kidderminster Harriers in 1994.
The match comes at a good time for Spartans who are on a seven game winning streak, including the 2-1 victory at Hartlepool in the second round. The Brummies are struggling to find consistency and are still smarting from the 4-0 home defeat by Derby on Boxing Day.
Derby v Southport
This is Southport’s first appearance in the third round as a non-league club. Derby were third round victims of Conference outfit Crawley Town in 2011 and won’t want a repeat this time around.
The Conference side will need a miracle at Pride Park where the Rams have an excellent record while the visitors are fighting relegation and have relied on home draws against ten-men sides to progress in rounds one and two.
West Brom v Gateshead
Gatsehead are making their first appearance in the third round since the 1954-55 season. The club missed out in the Conference play-off finals at Wembley last season and are going strong as promotion hopefuls once again this term.
The Baggies suffered FA Cup third round home defeats in 2013 and 2014, and with only one win at the Hawthorns in the last seven league games, could be ripe for a cup upset.
Dover v Crystal Palace
Dover Athletic have bagged a home draw against a Premier League club and with the tie being televised on BT Sport, this is one the bookies can expect most support for the underdogs.
Dover are appearing in the third round for the second time in the club’s history, they were knocked out at Huddersfield on their only other appearance in 2011. Palace have just sacked manager Neil Warnock and could be vulnerable having gone the six previous games without a win.
Stoke v Wrexham
Stoke and Wrexham have gone in opposite directions since having regular meetings in League One a dozen or so years ago. Wrexham now ply their trade in the Conference while the Potters are an established Premier League side.
Stoke have never won the FA Cup but were runners up to Manchester City in 2012 and reached the quarter-finals the following season. It took a replay and penalties for Stoke to eliminate non-league Tamworth in third round in 2006 but they did better against their last non league opponents, Crawley Town, winning 2-0 in the fifth round of the 2011-12 FA Cup.
Wrexham’s greatest FA Cup triumph was in 1992 when floundering at the bottom of the football league, they defeated First Division champions Arsenal 2-1 at the Racecourse Ground.
AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool
AFC Wimbledon was formed in 2002 by supporters when Wimbledon FC decided to relocate to Milton Keynes. In its short history, the club has risen from the ninth tier of the football league pyramid to League Two and will make its first appearance in the third round of the FA Cup against Liverpool.
The original Wimbledon FC caused one of the biggest shocks in FA Cup history by defeating the dominant Liverpool team in the 1988 cup final and the phoenix club will be dreaming of a similar result on Monday 5th January.
Yeovil v Manchester United
Yeovil have been synonymous with FA Cup giant killing acts since defeating top flight Sunderland way back in 1949. Before being promoted to the Football League in 2003, the Glovers had defeated League opposition on 20 different occasions.
Nowadays they compete in League One but given their history and the fact they have drawn a home tie against 11-time FA Cup winners Manchester United, they probbaly deserve a mention in the list.