The representatives of the Premier League, like Newcastle who outclassed their enemy Sunderland (D2) 3-0, experienced no disappointment. Aston Villa, second in the championship, however waited until the 88th minute to crack Middlesbrough (D2). For Chelsea, the good intentions were also slow to materialize but, once the machine was launched, it left no chance to Preston North End, currently fourteenth in the Championship.
The “Blues” offered three goals in eleven minutes to their supporters at Stamford Bridge: Armando Broja (58th) broke the deadlock with his second goal of the season, three months after the first, Thiago Silva also scored with a header (66th) and Raheem Sterling set the sights with a direct free kick (69th). Enzo Fernandez (85th) finished the job. Tenth in the Premier League, Chelsea continue their journey in the FA Cup, one of the possible routes to European competitions next season. Mauricio Pochettino's team will also play their League Cup semi-final first leg against Middlesbrough on Tuesday. Michael Carrick's "Boro", currently twelfth in the Championship, will have to recover by then from its frustrating 1-0 defeat at home against Aston Villa, conceded at the very end of the match on a Matty Cash strike deflected by a his players (88th).
In a bad situation, Newcastle found color and smile by defeating 3-0 its absolute rival, Sunderland (D2), whom it had not beaten since 2011. The “Magpies” immortalized this day of glory by posing in front of their 6,000 ecstatic supporters, who came to fill the visitors' stand at the Stadium of Light, located around twenty kilometers from Newcastle.
The team led by Alexander Isak, scorer of a double, puts behind it a dark series of four consecutive defeats in all competitions, which includes its elimination on penalties against Chelsea in the League Cup. The third round was not a smooth ride, however, for Brighton and Bournemouth, shaken by second division teams. The “Seagulls”, quickly led, overthrew Stoke City (4-2) while the “Cherries” won 3-2 at Queens Park Rangers after being two goals behind at half-time.
The sensation came from the semi-professionals of Maidstone United, little Poucet playing in the sixth division (National League South), 1-0 winner of a team from League One (D3), Stevenage, ranked 69 places higher than her in the English football pyramid. The “Stones” led by ex-Cameroonian defender George Elokobi had already created a surprise in the second round by eliminating Barrow FC, a League Two (D4) team, already in their Gallagher Stadium.
Chesterfield, current leader of the National League (D5), lived the same dream by leading after less than half an hour against Watford (D2), but the end of the match turned into a nightmare when the Hornets equalized in the 76th minute. then scored the winning goal in added time (90th 5, 2-1).