For the first time in 182 long days Sheffield United savoured that winning feeling after surviving a FA Cup third-round scare at Bristol Rovers.
It was not a vintage performance and the League One side twice pulled level but the Premier League strugglers eventually prospered from this five-goal affair after Jayden Bogle struck what proved to be the winner within seconds of Rovers equalising. After 18 defeats in their previous 21 matches, Chris Wilder could be forgiven for not caring how they got the job done.
Wilder acknowledged Rovers would be licking their lips at the prospect of causing an upset and, until Bogle’s strike on 63 minutes, they appeared to have the measure of the visitors, who looked vulnerable at set pieces and were twice punished for some slack marking. Alfie Kilgour levelled superbly after powering a header beyond Aaron Ramsdale and, in the second half, the Rovers captain Max Ehmer prodded in at the back post after Jack Baldwin kept Zain Westbrooke’s corner alive. From there, though, Rovers came unstuck and, less than a minute later, Sheffield United regained the lead.
Lys Mousset, whose Lamborghini was involved in a collision with several parked cars last weekend, had opened the scoring and the substitute Oliver Burke drilled in after being played through on goal by John Fleck, but they struggled to shake Rovers until Bogle punctured the hosts’ belief.
Wilder was desperate to build some momentum and only tweaked personnel, making a sole change from the defeat to Crystal Palace last time out with John Lundstram replacing the injured Enda Stevens. Things started promisingly, with Mousset sending a looping header beyond Joe Day on seven minutes after meeting a delicious left-footed cross by Ben Osborn. It was almost a carbon copy of a first-minute move that left Wilder in disbelief, only on that occasion Mousset failed to convert from close range.
Sheffield United twice left the door open to hand Rovers a route back in but Bogle ultimately had the final say. Less than 60 seconds after Rovers pulled level, they allowed the roaming wing-back to burst down the right flank and finish from an acute angle. Burke almost earned United some breathing space but was denied by a post and David McGoldrick, too, could have put the game beyond doubt. At long last, a team that had forgotten how to eke out victories had stumbled on a winning formula.
Millwall avoided a potential banana skin at Meadow Park as they comfortably overcame Boreham Wood 2-0 to advance to the fourth round.
The Championship side took the lead on the half-hour mark. Scott Malone fed the ball through to Kenneth Zohore, who slotted home effortlessly. And with 16 minutes of the game remaining, Millwall got the second goal their play had threatened. An inswinging corner by Malone found the head of Shaun Hutchinson, who connected powerfully to seal the tie for the south Londoners.
Leicester advanced into the fourth round in comfortable fashion as the Premier League high-fliers beat Stoke 4-0 at the Bet365 Stadium. James Justin put the Foxes in front with a fine strike in the 34th minute, shortly after Sam Vokes had missed a good chance to give the Championship hosts the lead. Marc Albrighton doubled the advantage with a 59th-minute finish, Ayoze Perez made it 3-0 with 11 minutes of normal time to go, and Harvey Barnes added a fourth two minutes later.
Norwich scored two early goals to see off fellow Championship side Coventry 2-0 in a low-key tie at Carrow Road. An assured sixth-minute finish from Kenny McLean and a firm header from Jordan Hugill 80 seconds later settled a game that rarely hit the heights after an exciting start.
George Moncur scored the only goal of the game as Luton beat fellow Championship side Reading 1-0. The midfielder volleyed the only goal of the third-round tie in the first half to decide the contest at Kenilworth Road.
Lyle Taylor ended his longest goal drought since October 2017 to fire Nottingham Forest to 1-0 win against Cardiff. The former Charlton striker took less than three minutes to claim the only goal of the game and his first in 13 outings.
Wycombe reached the fourth round for only the third time in their history thanks to a dominant 4-1 win over Preston. Goals from Fred Onyedinma, Joe Jacobson and Josh Knight had the Chairboys 3-0 up after just 25 minutes, before Emil Riis pulled one back from the penalty spot just short of half-time. But Preston never looked like mounting a comeback, and Alex Samuel put the tie to bed with a cool finish late on to earn Wycombe their first ever home win over Preston.
League One high-flyers Doncaster caused an upset by defeating Championship side Blackburn 1-0 at Ewood Park, Taylor Richards’ third goal of the season three minutes before half-time enough to put Darren Moore’s men into the draw for the fourth round. And Sheffield Wednesday overcame both a coronavirus outbreak and a gallant Exeter to book their place in the fourth round with a 2-0 win at St James Park.
Headers from Wayne Routledge and Viktor Gyokeres ensured Swansea comfortably went through with a 2-0 victory at Stevenage, while Josh King netted his first two goals of the season as Bournemouth swatted aside League Two Oldham with a 4-1 victory at the Vitality Stadium.
More results to follow