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Darlington chairman George Reynolds
" I'm very, very excited about it, we deserve it"
 real 28k

Darlington manager Dave Hodgson
"It's great for the fans that we've made history in this way"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 1 December, 1999, 15:31 GMT
Lucky Darlington land Villa trip

Holders Man Utd: Controversial withdrawal left gap

Darlington have been drawn as the FA Cup's lucky losers, and will travel to Aston Villa in the third round.

The third division side came out first in a draw of 20 clubs who had lost second round ties.

The club managed by David Hodgson lie fourth in their division of the Nationwide League, but lost 3-1 to Gillingham in the second round on 20 November.

Everyone loves an underdog
Darlington chairman George Reynolds
Ironically while Darlington enjoy the big stage of Villa Park on 11 December, Gillingham will be just a few miles up the M6 motorway at Walsall's more modest Bescot Stadium.

Darlington chairman George Reynolds said the draw was "wonderful" and would give his team a lift.

"Everyone loves an underdog," Reynolds said. "It will give our lads a lift and Villa will have their work cut out. It is a good break for us, we have worked hard."

Villa have struggled in recent weeks, and went out of the cup at home to lower division opposition last season, when Fulham won 2-0 in the fourth round.

Short draw

The unusual draw, which was the shortest and perhaps the strangest in the competition's history, took place because of the absence of Manchester United in the 1999/2000 competition.

Reasons for draw
Man Utd withdraw to play in Brazil
Path left open for u-turn
United refuse to change minds
64th team needed
The holders pulled out in order to contest a second "world title" in two months - the new World Club Championship in Brazil.

On Tuesday, the European Cup-winners won the Intercontinental Cup against South American side Palmeiras in Tokyo.

This long-established method of finding the globe's best club side has been joined this season by a tournament bringing together eight clubs from six continents.

The Brazilian event coincides with January's FA Cup fourth round.

The FA left a place open for United in case of a u-turn from Old Trafford, but when management there refused to change their minds, a 64th club was needed to make up the numbers.

Villa had known since the traditional third round draw a week last Sunday that they would be at home to the wild card entry.

Revised FA Cup third-round draw

Friday 10 December
ko 1945GMT

  • Nottingham Forest v Oxford United
  • Cambridge United v Crystal Palace
Saturday 11 December
ko 1500GMT

  • Reading v Plymouth
  • Norwich City v Coventry City
  • Wigan v Wolverhampton
  • West Brom v Blackburn
  • Charlton Athletic v Swindon Town
  • Hull v Chelsea
  • Walsall v Gillingham
  • Sheffield Wednesday v Bristol City
  • Tranmere Rovers v West Ham United
  • Watford v Birmingham City
  • Queens Park Rangers v Torquay United
  • Wimbledon v Barnsley
  • Preston North End v Oldham Athletic
  • Crewe Alexandra v Bradford City
  • Exeter City v Everton
  • Sunderland v Portsmouth
  • Grimsby Town v Stockport County
  • Fulham v Luton Town
  • Wrexham v Middlesbrough
  • Hereford United v Leicester City
  • Derby County v Burnley
  • Bolton Wanderers v Cardiff City
  • Aston Villa v Darlington
Sunday 12 December

  • Chester City v Man City (1300GMT)
  • Sheff Utd v Rushden & Diamonds (1300)
  • Huddersfield v Liverpool (1400)
  • Leeds Utd v Port Vale (1500)
  • Tottenham v Newcastle (1600)
Monday 13 December

  • Arsenal v Blackpool (1945GMT)
  • Ipswich v Southampton (2000GMT)

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See also:
21 Nov 99 |  FA Cup
Spurs handed revenge chance
28 Oct 99 |  UK
Man Utd confirm exit from FA Cup
08 Nov 99 |  Football
FA Cup to have 'wild card' entry
Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.