Marine FC Cup Third Round v Tottenham Hotspur Rossett Park, home of Marine FC, where Tottenham has to play in the Third Round (via (FootballGroundMap.com)

When the FA Cup Third Round draw was held on Monday evening, all eyes were on tiny Marine FC to see where and against whom they would be playing.

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(Now You Can Skip Ahead to the 4th and 5th Round FA Cup Draws)

Marine, an eight-tier semipro club in the Liverpool area, had just advanced via a dramatic last-minute winner in Round Two. The FA Cup has been held since 1871, and Marine are only the second club from the eighth tier to make the Third Round. They’ve had to win seven games to get this far!

For a taste of the level where they compete, check out this image of their goalkeeper, in full kit, heading out to get some beer after they beat Havant and Waterlooville in Round Two.

So whom did Marine draw in the Third Round of the no-bracket, no-seedings FA Cup? Tottenham Hotspur, currently atop the Premier League — at home!

That’s right, Spurs — in the Champions League Final just about a year and a half ago and, as of this writing, atop the Premier League — have to go play a for-real, competitive game at Marine’s home ground, the 3,185-capacity Rossett Park in Crosby, Merseyside. Fewer than 400 of those spots have seats!

Marine FA Cup Third Round Tottenham

Rossett Park, home of Marine FC, where Tottenham has to play in the Third Round (via (FootballGroundMap.com)

Marine FA Cup Third Round Tottenham

Fewer than 400 actual seats and capacity under 3,200! (via (FootballGroundMap.com)

When I try to tell Americans about what the British call the Magic of the FA Cup, I often resort to a baseball analogy. In that view, this is the Dodgers playing at a club four levels below Single-A — in this case, the Northern Premier League Division One North West. (Here’s a guide to all the leagues and cups of English soccer.)

Needless to say, this game – to be played the second weekend in January — will be on television, which means we Yanks can watch it on ESPN+. And if the current Covid restrictions hold, the Mariners will be able to have about 1,600 people — 50% of capacity — in attendance.

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Looking at the Rest of the FA Cup Third Round Draw

(Home team listed first; games played the second weekend of January, 2021)

Huddersfield Town v Plymouth Argyle

Southampton v Shrewsbury Town

Chorley v Derby County — tier 6 hosting tier 2!

Wolves v Crystal Palace

Stockport County v West Ham — tier 5 hosting Premier League

Oldham Athletic v Bournemouth

Manchester United v Watford

Stevenage v Swansea City

Everton v Rotherham United

Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City

Arsenal v Newcastle United

Barnsley v Tranmere Rovers

Bristol Rovers v Sheffield United

Boreham Wood v Millwall

Blackburn Rovers v Doncaster Rovers

Stoke City v Leicester City

Wycombe Wanderers v Preston North End

Crawley Town v Leeds United

Burnley v MK Dons

Bristol City v Portsmouth

QPR v Fulham — West London derby!

Aston Villa v Liverpool

Brentford v Middlesbrough

Manchester City v Birmingham City

Luton Town v Reading

Chelsea v Morecambe

Exeter City v Sheffield Wednesday

Norwich City v Coventry City

Blackpool v West Brom

Newport County v Brighton

Cheltenham Town v Mansfield Town

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