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FEATURE | Five of the best FA Cup third round victories

We take a look back at some of the Red Dragons’ most famous Third Round wins

5 January 2024


FEATURE | Five of the best FA Cup third round victories

We take a look back at some of the Red Dragons’ most famous Third Round wins

5 January 2024

Wrexham have had a vast involvement in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup over the years, claiming famous giant-killings that will forever be etched in the history books at the STōK Cae Ras.

While historic victories have followed the Red Dragons across the storied competition, Phil Parkinson’s side have also created their own FA Cup story – having reached the fourth round of the competition last season as Paul Mullin scored the highest total of goals in the competition with nine.

2023: Coventry City 3-4 Wrexham AFC

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The most recent Wrexham giant-killing to date, Wrexham produced an incredible triumph against the Sky Blues – who went on to appear in the Championship play-off final at the end of last season.

Sam Dalby opened the scoring after 12 minutes at the CBS Stadium, as the Red Dragons started in blistering form against Mark Robins’ side. Elliot Lee then went on to double Wrexham’s advantage, as Parkinson’s side continued their onslaught against the hosts after just 18 minutes.

Ben Sheaf hit back for Coventry with less than ten minutes remaining in the first half, but the hosts’ fightback did not last long as Tom O’Connor responded in injury time to restore Wrexham’s lead and restore their control in the fixture.

With a Fourth-Round place on the line for the first time in 22 years, Jonathan Panzo saw red for a deliberate handball, giving away a vital spot-kick. Paul Mullin stepped up to the spot to fire home Wrexham’s fourth goal of the match in the 58th minute.

Eleven minutes later, current Sporting Lisbon striker Viktor Gyökeres got a goal back for the hosts, as he continued his prolific goalscoring which saw him become one of the Championship’s most-feared frontmen.

Kasey Palmer netted Coventry’s third goal of the match to put pressure on the Red Dragons, but it was not enough as Parkinson’s side recorded a famous FA Cup scalp.

1997: West Ham United 0-1 Wrexham AFC

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Having forced a replay in North Wales, Wrexham travelled up to London hopeful of progression to the fourth round of the competition against Premier League side West Ham who were managed by Harry Redknapp.

Despite having struggled in the top-flight of English football, over 16,000 fans arrived at the Boleyn Ground with ongoing improvements to the north bank limiting the capacity to just over 20,000.

Redknapp named a side containing a youthful pairing of Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, who both went on to be named in the Premier League Hall of Fame following the conclusion of their careers.

Wrexham were managed by the legendary Brian Flynn, who had already masterminded The Red Dragons’ giant-killing of Arsenal in 1992.

His side fought valiantly against Premier League opposition and having been unlucky not to have progressed through at home with Bryan Hughes opening the scoring in a 1-1 draw, but they managed to go one better in East London.

The Red Dragons were made to wait for their moment, but it eventually came in the 90th minute as substitute Kevin Russell scored in the last minute to set up yet another famous FA Cup win.

1992: Wrexham AFC 2-1 Arsenal


The most famous FA Cup win in Wrexham’s history, the Red Dragons overcame George Graham’s impressive Arsenal side at the Cae Ras to record one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of all-time.

Featuring stars such as David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, David Rocastle, Kevin Campbell, Alan Smith and Paul Merson – the Gunners were littered with talent across the board for their trip to North Wales.

Smith opened the scoring for the First Division side after 42 minutes, but it wouldn’t deter Brian Flynn’s side from going toe-to-toe with the London heavyweights, despite their Fourth Division status.

What came next would be written in the history books of the competition forevermore, as Mickey Thomas scored a monumental goal that went down as one of the most iconic FA Cup goals of all-time.

Wrexham’s ‘magic little man’ stepped up to take a free-kick in the 82nd minute from the edge of the ball and smashed the ball into the top-left corner past Seaman to send the home supporters into jubilation.

Just two minutes later, Steve Watkin picked up the ball from Gordon Davies’ pass with Tony Adams quickly trying to dispossess the 20-year-old from getting a shot on goal in the dying minutes of the match.

Watkin wouldn’t be pressured by the legendary defender and managed to take a touch before finding the bottom corner. He scored the winner after 84th minutes to write his name into Wrexham AFC folklore, amongst all the other heroes in the Red Dragons’ 1991/1992 squad.  

1982: Nottingham Forest 1-3 Wrexham AFC


Mel Sutton’s side travelled to the City Ground and were forced into producing a brilliant second-half comeback to secure their place in the Fourth Round of the Competition.

The 1979 and 1980 European Champions were managed by the legendary Brian Clough, with Peter Shilton lining up in goal for the hosts.  

Wrexham got off to the worst possible start as Mark Proctor opened the scoring for Forest after just two minutes to give his side control of the tie in front of over 15,000 supporters.

However, the goal didn’t dishearten Flynn’s side, who continued to remain in the match and eventually got the rewards for their efforts in a thrilling second-half.

Steve Dowman levelled the scores in the 61st minute, as he gave Wrexham hope of overturning the early goal and progressing into the Fourth Round.

Mick Vinter then gave the North Wales side the lead nine minutes later, as the Red Dragons completed an impressive comeback against the top-flight side.

Club President and legendary forward Dixie McNeil wrapped up the victory for Wrexham in the 73rd minute, completing one of the Club’s greatest cup victories ever.

1999: Wrexham AFC 2-1 Middlesbrough

Prior to last year’s victory over Coventry City, Wrexham’s last third round victory came in 1999, as they overcame Middlesbrough in North Wales.

The visitors from the north-east took the lead on the brink of half time through Brian Deane, much to the dismay of the home fans, who turned out in their numbers to back Brian Flynn’s side against their Premier League opponents.

Managed by Bryan Robson, Boro fielded a side containing Mark Schwarzer, Juninho, and most notably Paul Gascoigne at the Cae Ras.

Robin Gibson levelled the scores after 50 minutes, giving his side hope at progression into the fourth round of the competition for the first time in two years.

After 68 minutes, Darren Ferguson went on to score Wrexham’s second goal of the match to dump the visitors out of the FA Cup and spark mass celebrations within the ground to set up a tie with Cambridge United in the Fourth Round. 

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