The FA Cup is currently one of the most important domestic competitions in soccer. After all, the tournament formed way back in 1871 is now the oldest national soccer competition the world. The early rounds of the FA Cup regularly produce huge upsets and cinderella stories in the sport.

Although a handful matchups of the competition were played earlier in the week, a majority of the FA Cup third round was played on Saturday, January 6th. In fact, 19 total fixtures were played throughout the day across England and Wales. Of the plethora of games, six total Premier League sides took to the pitch in hopes of advancing to the fourth round.

Bournemouth, Brighton complete comebacks to win their games

The early Saturday time slot featured a mouthwatering matchup between bitter rivals Sunderland and Newcastle. While the Black Cats looked to produce a significant upset at home, the Magpies ended up crushing their rivals 3-0 at the Stadium of Light. The visitors took the lead in the 35th minute thanks to an own goal by Sunderland defender Daniel Ballard. Star striker Alexander Isak then finished off the victory with a second-half brace.

Queens Park Rangers looked almost certain to be the first team to knock off a top flight club on the day. The Rs took an early two-goal advantage against Bournemouth thanks to strikes from Sinclair Armstrong and Lyndon Dykes. Nevertheless, the Cherries stormed back to score three goals in about 20 minutes to win the match. Justin Kluivert netted the eventual winner in the 69th minute.

Brighton also had to come back from a deficit to win their matchup with Stoke City as well. Much like Newcastle, the Potters took advantage of an early own goal to take the lead in their game. Brighton, however, then stormed back with four goals to complete the comeback. Joao Pedro scored two late goals to finally give the Seagulls the 4-2 victory.

Sixth-tiered Maidstone earns biggest upset of the day

In one of the more heartwarming stories of the day, Maidstone topped Stevenage to advance to the fourth round of the competition. The Stones were previously formed back in 1897, but were forced to go through significant changes after bankruptcy in 1992. After a reformation, the semi-professional club eventually progressed through the non-league pyramid.

Maidstone now plays in the sixth-tier of English soccer after being relegated from the National League last season. Despite their struggles, the Stones topped Stevenage by a narrow score of 1-0 on Saturday. Sam Corne scored the only goal of the game with a penalty just before the halftime break.

Chelsea and Aston Villa also progressed in the competition by beating their opponents on Saturday. Although the Blues started slowly against Preston North End, the Premier League side eventually scored four second-half goals to easily win the game. Villa, on the other hand, needed a late goal by Matty Cash to win their third-round tie against Middlesbrough.

Saturday’s FA Cup third round results (Premier League clubs in bold):

Wimbledon 1 – Ipswich 3

Coventry 6 – Oxford 2

Maidstone 1 – Stevenage 0

Millwall 2 – Leicester 3

Sunderland 0 – Newcastle 3

Blackburn 5 – Cambridge 2

Gillingham 0 – Sheffield United 4

Hull City 1 – Birmingham City 1

Newport County 1 – Eastleigh 1

Norwich City 1 – Bristol Rovers 1

Plymouth Argyle 3 – Sutton United 1

Queens Park Rangers 2 – Bournemouth 3

Southampton 4 – Walsall 0

Stoke City 2 – Brighton & Hove 4

Watford 2 – Chesterfield 1

Chelsea 4 – Preston North End 0

Middlesbrough 0 – Aston Villa 1

Sheffield Wednesday 4 – Cardiff City 0

Swansea City 2 – Morecambe 0

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