Winners and Losers from FA Cup 3rd-Round Replays: Nick Powell Fires Wigan On

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2014

Winners and Losers from FA Cup 3rd-Round Replays: Nick Powell Fires Wigan On

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    The FA Cup is the competition that just keeps on giving, and this week gave audiences another batch of fixtures, as those who failed to establish a winner earlier in the month clashed once again in their replays.

    Among the bigger names to have booked their spot in the next phase of the tournament were last season's finalists Manchester City and holders Wigan Athletic, along with a raft of other English hopefuls.

    Aside from the results on paper, there was a distinct selection of winners and losers on both a team and individual basis, candidates of both extremes either sinking or swimming.

Winner: Joe Garner

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    With his side 1-0 down against Ipswich and Preston North End heading out of the competition, Joe Garner's 62nd-minute introduction at Deepdale turned things around on Tuesday evening.

    The 25-year-old scored just five minutes after coming on to tie matters up at 1-1, but it was only 20 minutes later that the Lilywhites had completed a hat-trick, much to the joy of manager Simon Grayson.

    Garner now has five goals in just three FA Cup appearances this season, but the shock result against Preston's Championship opponents stands out as a particular highlight for the striker.

Loser: Macclesfield's Unbeaten Streak

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    In a way, Macclesfield Town's exit from the FA Cup this week may be a blessing in disguise for Steve King's side, who are just coming upon some good form in their Conference Premier hunt.

    At what's always a crucial time of the season, the Silkmen were handed their marching orders thanks to a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday.

    This coincides with the club winning their last four league games, the first time they've achieved such a streak this season and putting a terrible start to the campaign firmly out of mind.

    However, the loss at Hillsborough was the first game that the side have lost in five matches and is certainly something that the club hope isn't the start of another downward turn as they look to return to League Two.

Winner: Sergio Aguero

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    Having been absent through injury since mid-December, Sergio Aguero took no time at all in reannouncing himself as one of Manchester City's scoring stars.

    The Argentinian international scored within a minute of being introduced as a 72nd-minute substitute in the replay against Blackburn Rovers, helping his side claim an eventual 5-0 win over Gary Bowyer's team.

    Alvaro Negredo's prolific form in front of goal has ensured that Manuel Pellegrini's side haven't suffered in the striker's absence, but the swiftness with which Aguero got back to scoring matters verges on the ridiculous.

Loser: Simon Eastwood

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    Prior to the break at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening, Blackburn were just 1-0 down to the Premier League hosts and would have been holding some hope of still claiming an upset.

    However, a hamstring injury picked up by Paul Robinson on the stroke of half-time meant that summer signing Simon Eastwood was the man charged with stemming the Citizens' tide.

    It didn't go well.

    In the second period, the 24-year-old found himself at the mercy of Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and the aforementioned Aguero in what was an awfully demanding way to make his 2013-14 FA Cup debut.

Winner: Nick Powell's Ongoing Evolution

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    Nick Powell's loan spell at Wigan Athletic has been a highly fruitful venture for Manchester United, who have watched from a distance as their midfield utility has ascended at the DW Stadium.

    However, it was at Stadium MK that the playmaker thrived on Tuesday night, salvaging the fixture for Uwe Rosler's side after coming on as a 60th-minute substitute.

    Following Luke Chadwick's ninth-minute opener for the hosts, Powell took just 19 minutes to draw the Latics level and force the fixture into extra time as a result.

    After the break, Powell netted once again, this time within a minute of the restart, showing his prominence for the Championship outfit and not for the first time this term.

    The midfielder's soaring form at the DW Stadium has been a fascinating side project for the Red Devils to keep their eye on this term, and rescuing Wigan's FA Cup hopes was just the latest piece of heroism to be produced by the youngster.

Loser: Charlton Athletic's Survival Hopes

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    With their bid for Championship survival currently going through one of its better stretches, if there's anything Charlton Athletic don't need to upset that, it's more matches.

    Except that's precisely what Chris Powell's side got as a result of their inability to shut out Oxford United at The Valley on Tuesday night.

    Considering this was the first third-round meeting between the two, the Addicks should have been eager to ensure a replay didn't come their way, too, but a trip to the Kassam Stadium is now slated for next week following their 2-2 draw.

    Oxford will be all too happy to entertain their Championship foes, of course, but the fixture is just another roadblock for the side currently sitting 20th in England's second tier and in need of as much rest for their first-team players as possible.