Premier League strugglers Wigan Athletic 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 Town 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.
Bolton Wanderers narrowly avoided becoming another Premier League casualty as they were forced to come from behind to scramble a 2-2 draw at Macclesfield Town, 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 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 Hotspur breezed past Cheltenham Town 3-0 with goals from Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Giovani Dos Santos. Fulham meanwhile crushed League One leaders Charlton Athletic 4-0 at Craven Cottage, Clint Dempsey scoring a hat-trick and Damien Duff getting on the scoresheet for Martin Jol's side.
Bad day for non-league sides
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 City while Swansea City were made to work hard before downing Barnsley by the same scoreline. Norwich City proved too strong for Championship side Burnley, Paul Lambert's team romping to a 4-1 win at Carrow Road.
Newcastle United won the day's only all-Premier League clash, coming from behind to beat Blackburn Rovers 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 City manager Tony Pulis meanwhile enjoyed a winning return to his former club Gillingham, the Potters winning 3-1 at Priestfield. 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 Town were thrashed 5-1 by Championship side Blackpool as Salisbury City bowed out 3-1 at Sheffield United.
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.
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 City and Wolverhampton Wanderers ground out a drab 0-0 draw in a Midlands derby at St Andrews.
Liverpool had got the third round under way yesterday with a 5-1 victory over Oldham Athletic 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 United on Monday.