Winners and Losers

With cup upsets happening north and south of the border, Ali Rampling takes a look at this week’s winners and losers.


Winners

Marine FC

Source: @BBCSport

Eighth tier side Marine FC had not played a competitive fixture for over three weeks due to Covid-19 restrictions as they are not classed as elite.

However, they brushed off any cobwebs to book their place in the FA Cup third round for just the second time in their history with a last gasp extra time win over National League South outfit Havant and Waterlooville.

Marine were poised to take Havant and Waterlooville – a side 40 places above them on the football pyramid – to penalties as the deadlock remained unbroken in both normal and extra time, before captain Niall Cummins bundled a free kick home with his back in the 120th minute to complete the cup upset.

The Merseyside outfit celebrated their underdog triumph in style, with goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant popping straight out to the local Co-op to purchase some drinks, dressed head to toe in his full kit (excluding goalkeeping gloves).

Chorley

Chorley pulled off their second FA Cup shock of the season with a 2-1 win at League One high-flyers Peterborough. Having overcome a 2-0 deficit to dump Wigan out in the previous round, the National League North outfit once again came from behind to pull off a giant killing.

Chorley had trailed inside two minutes when Jack Taylor slammed home from a corner, but scored twice in the space of three second half minutes through Connor Hall and Mike Calveley to secure their spot in the FA Cup third round for the first time in their 137-year history.

They too marked the occasion in style with a rendition of Adele’s notorious celebratory anthem Someone Like You.

Atletico Madrid

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Atletico Madrid’s season continues to get better and better. Diego Simeone’s side remain the only team yet to taste defeat in La Liga this term and moved to within one point of league leaders Real Sociedad following their 1-0 win at Valencia on Saturday.

Despite largely dominating proceedings, there was an air of fortuity about Atletico’s winner, with Valencia fullback Toni Lato turning Yannick Carrasco’s cross into his own net 11 minutes from time.

City rivals Real suffered a shock defeat at home to Alavés to open up a six point gap between the Madrid sides and Atletico have a game in hand – while table-topping Sociedad dropped points against Villarreal.

Atletico are unbeaten in La Liga since the first week of February and have not lost at home since December 2019. With Real Madrid and Barcelona both stuttering, Atletico have picked the perfect season to come into a purple patch of form.


Losers

Celtic

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Celtic have ruled Scottish football with an iron fist for the past four years, hoovering up every piece of domestic silverware on offer since the 2016/17 season. This record came to a surprise end on Sunday as the Hoops suffered a 2-0 defeat to Ross County in the League Cup.

A Ross Stewart penalty and an Alex Iacovitti header either side of half time completed the cup upset and condoned Celtic to their fourth successive home defeat for the first time in more than 62 years.

Neil Lennon’s side are also 11 points off top spot in the Scottish Premiership (but do have two games in hand) and cannot qualify for the Europa League knockout stages, having taken one point from their opening four group stage matches.

It’s now just two wins from their last 10 matches in all competitions, and Celtic’s current predicament is further exacerbated by the success rivals Rangers are currently enjoying. The Gers are on a 22-game unbeaten streak and sit top of both the Scottish Premiership and their Europa League group.

Sheffield Wednesday

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With their six-point deduction weighing them down and having won just three of their first 11 league matches, Sheffield Wednesday were marooned in the Championship drop zone when manager Garry Monk was relieved of his duties in the second week of November.

Relegation specialist Tony Pulis was naturally drafted in to inspire the Yorkshire outfit to safety in typical no-nonsense Pulis style.

It is the former Middlesbrough manager’s first job in 18 months. Everything has changed, and yet nothing has changed. Pulis and his brand-new Wednesday baseball cap have played three, drawn two, lost one, scored once, registering two shots on target in 270 minutes and averaging 32% possession. They failed to muster a shot on target during Saturday’s 0-0 draw with his former side Stoke.

Dagenham and Redbridge

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There was not a lot of FA Cup magic for Dagenham and Redbridge on Sunday. Things got off to a bad start after the team coach broke down in the car park and the players were forced to drive themselves Sunday league style all the way to Mansfield for their second round tie.

The National League side’s fortunes improved on the pitch as they took their League Two opponents to extra time following a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.

Dagenham and Redbridge were moments away from taking Mansfield to penalties for a shot at a place in the FA Cup third round. However, they heartbreakingly conceded a 122nd minute Nicky Maynard goal to slump to a 2-1 defeat and crash out of the competition. And then had to drive themselves home again.

No Adele or cans from the Co-op for the Daggers.

Follow Ali on Twitter @AliRampling

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