In Focus: LiveScore’s five FA Cup stars of the weekend
The FA Cup third round never fails to deliver memorable moments and this season’s slate was no exception.
From young wonderkids to lethal finishers, we run the rule over five players who lit up football’s oldest competition this weekend.
Kaine Kesler Hayden (Swindon)
League Two Swindon may have found Premier League champions Manchester City too hot to handle — but Friday evening’s 4-1 defeat proved to be a resounding success for one home player.
Aston Villa loanee Kaine Kesler Hayden could hardly have looked more at home against the likes of Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne, catching the eye on several occasions in a confident display.
The full-back’s performance — which even featured a nutmeg on Joao Cancelo — clearly caught the eye of Steven Gerrard, who reportedly instructed club officials at Villa to recall the 19-year-old immediately.
Kesler Hayden has emerged as one of the fourth-tier outfit’s star performers and made 21 appearances for Ben Garner’s side in all competitions.
His departure will come as a hammer blow for Swindon but marks an exciting step in the career of a youngster who Premier League fans may be seeing a lot more of in the coming months.
Joe Ironside (Cambridge)
Cambridge stole the headlines this weekend by stunning Premier League Newcastle 1-0 at St James’ Park, with goalscorer Joe Ironside following in the footsteps of a childhood hero in the process.
The U’s forward, 28, kept his cool to swivel and slide home his 12th goal of the campaign, helping to secure one of the League One outfit’s greatest ever results.
It was all the sweeter for Ironside given his pre-match comments regarding Toon legend Alan Shearer, admitting the prolific centre forward was one of his role models growing up.
Ironside told the press last week: "I idolised Shearer as a kid. I even owned a few shirts with his name on the back!"
His strike in front of over 4,000 adoring away fans will mean Cambridge-based youngsters are now asking for Ironside on the back of their own replica kits.
Amari Morgan-Smith (Kidderminster)
Kidderminster continue to fly the flag for the non-league in this year’s FA Cup after the sixth-tier outfit stunned Championship Reading 2-1 at Aggborough on Saturday.
Few could begrudge Kiddy frontman Amari Morgan-Smith from netting the winner either, considering the hard-working 32-year-old has spent the bulk of his career plugging away in English football’s lower reaches with little fanfare.
His goal will not win any awards for beauty — bundling home a corner from less than a yard out while grappling with beleaguered Royals goalkeeper Rafael Cabral — yet few in attendance seemed to care at all.
The victory prompted a full-time pitch invasion which Reading manager Veljko Paunovic claimed put his players in danger but the match-winner was quick to defend the jubilant scenes.
Morgan-Smith said: "It’s one of those moments we’ve all seen happen so many times over the years in the FA Cup.
"We give everything for the fans and the vast majority were only on to show their appreciation, which was nice."
Djed Spence (Nottingham Forest)
Nottingham Forest are making a habit of knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup, having done so for the second time in four seasons at a bouncing City Ground on Sunday evening.
Steve Cooper’s side were worthy winners against an out-of-sorts Gunners, out-fighting their loftier opponents as epitomised by the tireless performance of flying full-back Djed Spence.
Proving a constant thorn in the side of the 14-time FA Cup winners, Spence was singled out for special praise by ITV commentator Ally McCoist who described himself as "blown away" by his efforts.
Still only 21, Spence is on loan in Nottingham from fellow Championship side Middlesbrough but has already endeared himself to the Forest faithful with a string of energetic displays.
Boro boss Chris Wilder, who arrived at the Riverside after Spence was loaned out, has admitted to considering recalling him but will instead leave him where he is for the rest of the campaign.
Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford)
The final name in our list is a more familiar one for Premier League fans, with Brentford forward Bryan Mbeumo showing his clinical edge to help the Bees past a stubborn Port Vale.
Darrell Clarke’s League Two hosts were proving a tough nut to crack in Burslem, hanging in the contest at 1-0 with an hour played, which led Thomas Frank to turn to his bench.
On came French forward Mbeumo, returning after a two-game lay-off with a calf issue and tasked with putting the tie to bed, and he certainly delivered.
A 21-minute hat-trick, including a fizzing second strike which cannoned in off the post from 20 yards, was a timely reminder of the former France Under-21s star’s quality.
Mbeumo, 22, has three Premier League strikes for the Londoners this term and will be hoping to carry his fine form into tomorrow’s top-flight clash with Southampton.