The FA Cup third-round once again delivered on its annual dose of footballing magic, with plenty of Premier League big boys put to the test by underdog opposition.

From Leeds United’s 3-0 hammering by Crawley Town to Aston Villa’s youngsters putting-up a brave fight against Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Co, it was an entertaining weekend.

Looking-back on a memorable FA Cup round, Sportsmail’s experts picked-out their favourite magical moments.

Smile that said it all – by Sami Mokbel

The pure joy on Alfie Devine’s face was a picture.

When you strip it all back, that’s what football should be about — the sheer delight of a young man who has just scored the first goal of his senior career, Tottenham’s fifth at Marine.

During a period that has been utterly depressing for society in general, that look of unbridled elation on the 16-year-old substitute’s face brought a smile to many people.

Show of raw emotion – by Matt Barlow

Nick Tsaroulla’s emotional post-match interview.

His fabulous solo goal sparked Crawley’s magnificent 3-0 win against Leeds, a classic third-round upset that will live long in the memory, yet it meant immeasurably more to a young footballer who has defied bad luck, injuries and rejection to offer the world a glimpse of his talent and emerge as an FA Cup hero.

Little wonder he choked up a bit after the final whistle.

Louie a star in the making – by Tom Collomosse

Nobody gave Villa a chance against the champions with a team of fringe and youth players, due to Covid. The highlight was 17-year-old Louie Barry’s goal.

He found space behind the back line and produced the sort of finish that persuaded Barcelona to take him from West Brom a year ago.

Barry opted to return to England six months later and join the club he supported as a boy. Certainly Villa’s gain.

Villa Thriller – by Joe Bernstein

It’s always special when a new star is born, we all remember Wayne Rooney’s famous goal against Arsenal.

When Louie Barry raced through to equalise for Aston Villa’s youth team against the Premier League champions, it felt like a historic moment.

The first act of a great career ahead.

Flynn’s flashback – by Richard Gibson

The elation on Michael Flynn’s face as the ball spun off Brighton defender Andy Webster’s midriff for Newport County’s 96th-minute equalizer.

Second in League Two, promotion remains the priority but Flynn, manager of his hometown club, was clearly intoxicated by the prospect of adding another top-flight scalp to his c.v. two years after knocking out Leicester.

Alas, penalties ended the dream.

Ground to celebrate – by Jack Gaughan

Chorley groundsman Ben Kay, who worked overnight at Victory Park to preserve their surface and make a win over Derby possible, was so shattered he couldn’t summon the energy to relive his 24 hours until first thing on Sunday, when he outlined what the Cup means, the surprise overnight fame and the glory. Wembley’s head groundsman has invited Ben to be a part of their team for May’s Cup final.


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