Image: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images.
Now the hysteria has subsided, we pick through the debris of FA Cup 3rd round weekend and expose a few sides to unfair scrutiny.
Join us. It’s fun.
The “Least Intimidating Giant In A Giantkilling Ever” Award – Newcastle United
Image: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images.
With pundits slavering for their quivering corpses, it was a depleted, depressed and unfamiliar looking Newcastle United that turned up to the AMEX Stadium to face Brighton. While playing dead and hoping the opposition feel sorry for you is an unusual approach for a Premier League side in a Cup game, Alan Pardew will be thrilled with how his players executed his instructions, failing to threaten at any point in the game and allowing Wayne Bridge so much space down the left side, rumours broke out in the stands that The Saturdays would be performing there in the second half.
Special mention goes to Shola Ameobi, who at least bothered to stick his head above the parapet. The fact that it was shot off when he did was academic by that point anyway.
Result: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Newcastle United
The “Don’t Look Now Award For Brillantly Executed Distraction Techniques”: Mansfield Town
Don’t look. That is not a dignified scene. Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire.
We thought it was a bit rich of Mansfield chief exec Carolyn Radford to claim her boys were “robbed” of a fourth round spot by Luis Suarez’ handball, especially since they came so close to pulling off their own successful smash and grab. Radford spent the game distracting TV cameras by bouncing about in in her corporate pen, presumably in the hope that no one would notice their attempts to inhibit Liverpool’s attacking play by preparing the pitch in homage to the Somme.
They’d have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that pesky Uruguayan.
Result: Mansfield Town 1-2 Liverpool
The “Did You Read The Script At All?” Award For Spoiling A Lovely Story: Robin van Persie
Image: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images.
The Manchester United front man has more late goals this season than Leo Messi has Balon’ D’or Awards, but you’d think he’d have a sense of propriety for the big occasion, wouldn’t you?
After conducting an extensive tour of stadium benches, Joe Cole made his second debut for boyhood club West Ham this weekend, and came unnervingly close to putting Manchester United out of the Cup with two beautiful assists for James Collins. The Hammers looked more or less capable of hanging onto to their 2:1 lead right up until the 68th minute, when Hernandez went off , van Persie came on, pootled around for twenty minutes and casually scored an exquisite equaliser from Ryan Giggs’ cross.
The “Vindicating Alan Hansen Eighteen Years Too Late” Award: Cardiff City FC
Fortunately for Alan, we only remember what he said. Not the hair or the suit he was wearing when he said it.
Alan Hansen has spent the best part of two decades regretting his now infamous “You can’t win anything with kids” pronouncement, but he can take comfort in scant vindication this morning as Cardiff City FC ponder an embarrassing defeat to non-league Macclesfield after fielding a gang of teenagers. Cardiff manager Malky MacKay made eleven changes for the trip north and while the defeat is unlikely to affect their push for Premier League football, he’s still copping a massive amount of stick for the decision.
He should take heart. If history repeats itself they’ll be on for the treble in 2017.
Result: Macclesfield 2-1 Cardiff City