Wigan, Blackburn big casualties in FA Cup
Updated: January 07, 2012, 14:38
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LONDON(AP) If Blackburn and Wigan were hoping for some respite in the FA Cup amid their miserable campaigns in the English Premier League, they were to be sorely mistaken.
The topflight's two bottom teams were the big casualties as world football's oldest knockout competition threw up a typically mixed bag of results in the third round on Saturday.
Argentine midfielder Jonas Gutierrez scored the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Newcastle snatched a 2-1 victory over Blackburn in one of the round's two all-Premier League matches.
In the day's biggest giantkilling act, fourth-tier Swindon - managed by former West Ham forward Paolo Di Canio - rallied to beat Wigan 2-1 at the County Ground.
"My lads deserve something from the club - maybe just a small plaque with all their names because they did something special,'' Di Canio said.
It wasn't all plain sailing for the rest of the Premier League teams either.
Queens Park Rangers required a last-minute equalizer by Heidar Helguson to secure a 1-1 draw and a replay against third-tier MK Dons while David Wheater's 77th-minute header earned Bolton a 2-2 draw at Macclesfield, which plays in England's fourth division.
Tottenham, which is third in the Premier League, avoided what would have been the mightiest upset by easing past fourth-tier Cheltenham 3-0 thanks to goals by attacking trio Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Giovani dos Santos.
Some of the famous romance of the cup was lost as Tamworth, Fleetwood and Salisbury were all defeated, ensuring there won't be any non-league teams in the fourth-round draw.
Everton beat Tamworth 2-0 after goals by defenders Johnny Heitinga and Leighton Baines and fellow fifth-tier team Fleetwood was thrashed 5-1 at home by northwest rival Blackpool.
Salisbury, which at 17th in the sixth-tier Conference South was the lowest-ranked club left in the competition, was defeated 3-1 at Sheffield United.
United States midfielder Clint Dempsey scored a hat trick in Fulham's 4-0 home win over Charlton, Ireland striker Simon Cox did the same for West Bromwich Albion in a 4-2 win at Cardiff City while Premier League teams Aston Villa, Stoke and Norwich also progressed.
Liverpool beat Oldham 5-1 on Friday, with the match of the round coming on Sunday when Manchester City and Manchester United - the Premier League's top two teams - meeting in a derby at Etihad Stadium.
With Wigan manager Roberto Martinez making nine changes to his team to give his top players a rest from their exertions in the Premier League relegation battle, Swindon took full advantage to add the latest episode of magic to the renowned competition.
Callum McManaman put the visitors ahead in the 35th minute but Swindon came from behind thanks to strikes by Alan Connell and Matt Ritchie.
"This is what I remember FA Cup ties being like,'' Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray said. "We had a chance to play our football and we won it on merit. Absolutely superb.''
Blackburn and its under-pressure manager Steve Kean can also focus all of their energy on staying in the Premier League after surrendering a lead given to the team by David Goodwillie in the 35th minute.
French playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa equalized for Newcastle, a six-time winner of the competition, in the 70th with a superb solo goal that manager Alan Pardew described as "the greatest goal, in my opinion, I have ever seen.''
Gutierrez nicked the win after exchanging passes with Leon Best as Newcastle took revenge for being eliminated by Blackburn from the League Cup in October.
"We are disappointed we haven't got a replay,'' Kean said. "I felt on our first-half performance, we merited one.''
Newcastle was without key players Demba Ba, who has scored 15 goals in the Premier League this season, and Cheick Tiote as they are away on international duty at the African Cup of Nations.
Aston Villa beat Bristol Rovers 3-1 away, Stoke won 3-1 at Gillingham and Norwich defeated Burnley 4-1 at home.