Top FA Cup 3rd Round Plays of the Day

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2013

Top FA Cup 3rd Round Plays of the Day

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    The FA Cup third round is well and truly underway.

    Already, Premier League giants have struggled to overcome the threat of England's lesser sides. Many minnows have the opportunity to impress in front of a great audience on this classic stage.

    I've picked the top five plays of the day from a selection of real corkers. We've got Championship brilliance knocking out Premier League experience, rescue acts from unlikely sources and, indeed, rescue acts from likely sources.


Andrea Orlandi Sends Seagulls into Next Round

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    Score: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Newcastle United

    Location: Falmer Stadium, Brighton

    The first game of the day didn't disappoint. Gus Poyet's Brighton side were extremely confident heading into the clash with a broken Newcastle squad. Alan Pardew's men lost the services of Demba Ba to Chelsea this past week and continue to suffer poor results in the Premier League (via BBC Sport).

    Even so, Brighton's win shouldn't have been so straightforward.

    Andrea Orlandi's superb moment of creativity sent the Seagulls soaring with 30 minutes on the clock. Wayne Bridge worked hard to deliver a teasing ball from the left, which eventually fell to Orlandi, who had his back to goal. Instead of turning, Orlandi flicked the ball into the bottom corner without a moment of hesitation.

    A rotten week for the Magpies.

Carlos Tevez Crushes Watford's Hopes of an Upset

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    Score: Manchester City 3-0 Watford

    Location: Etihad Stadium, Manchester

    Much of City's pre-match buildup focused on the antics of Mario Balotelli (via BBC Sport). Fortunately for the Premier League champions, a capable Watford side were quickly quashed through the brilliance of another striker.

    Carlos Tevez opened the scoring with a thunderous free kick with 25 minutes gone. Jonathan Bond did his best to keep the ball out, but the Argentinian's strike powered beyond the 19-year-old. Once hit, this one remained straightjust like City's progression into the fourth round.

Giorgos Karagounis Spares Fulham Blushes

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    Score: Fulham 1-1 Blackpool

    Location: Craven Cottage, London

    Blackpool were one of four sides to hold Premier League opposition to a draw. Up until the final 10 minutes, it seemed Michael Appleton's team were going to follow Brighton's lead and eliminate a club from the top division.

    Fortunately for Fulham, Giorgos Karagounis picked a useful time to score his first goal for the club. The Greek veteran picked up the ball on the wing, cut inside and curled a left-footed effort past Matthew Gilks to take the tie into a replay.

    Blackpool will be confident of an upset in the next fixture.

Collins and Cole Double-Act Nearly Sinks Manchester United

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    Score: West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United

    Location: Boleyn Ground, London

    Joe Cole's return to West Ham produced two moments of absolute quality. The former Liverpool man curled a couple of excellent crosses toward James Collins, who scored his first and second goals for the London club.

    Collins' first header left David De Gea stranded with its accuracy. The towering defender glanced his opportunity into the back of the net with a reactive finish to Cole's pinpoint ball.

    Into the second half, Collins rose above Nemanja Vidic to loop another header beyond De Gea. The United keeper had no chance on either goal and rightfully berated his laughable defence.

Robin van Persie Sets Up Enticing Replay with the Hammers

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    Score: West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United

    Location: Boleyn Ground, London

    Just as Sam Allardyce was preparing to congratulate his side on a fantastic FA Cup win over Manchester United, a certain Dutch striker came off the bench to blast home a late equaliser.

    Robin van Persie's first touch and right-footed finish was textbook. Ryan Giggs' long ball forward was stunning.

    The Welshman picked his colleague out with a lofted pass in the final minutes, but at this point, the work had just begun. Van Persie's ability to ghost away from his marker, control the ball and lash his shot into the Hammers' net set up an enticing replay at Old Trafford.

    Do you agree with my selections? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to follow me on Twitter: