Happy new year, everybody! It’s now the first Saturday of 1981 and that can only mean one thing – the Third Round Proper of the FA Cup. The big match of the weekend saw a single goal from Paul Mariner enough for Ipswich Town to knock Aston Villa out at Portman Road, whilst Everton beat Arsenal by two goals to nil at Goodison Park, Liverpool beat Altrincham of the Alliance Premier League by four goals to one at Anfield and Tottenham Hotspur beat Queens Park Rangers by three goals to one on White Hart Lane. We have four matches for you from the Third Round and its replays, starting at The Vetch Field, where the BBC’s cameras headed in hope of a surprise as First Division Middlesbrough made a visit to play John Toshack’s Swansea City.

Next up is an all-First Division match between Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford, and this is followed up by the return of Malcolm Allison to Maine Road – Allison had been sacked by Manchester City in October 1980 – as the manager of Crystal Palace. Allison was out of work again by the start of the following month. And finally, we skip forward to the following week’s replay’s. Enfield, of the Isthmian League, had already knocked Hereford United out in the previous round and had drawn their first Third Round match at Vale Park the previous Saturday. The replay at Southbury Road saw the two teams playing for the right to travel to Yorkshire to play Barnsley in the Fourth Round of the competition.

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