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Underdogs tamed as big guns avoid banana skins.

IT was a case of what might have been as eight Premier League clubs all saw off threats of a giant-killing in the FA Cup third round.

Manchester City came back from a goal down at the break, after Atdhe Nuhiu had put the Owls 1-0 up at the Etihad, with James Milner scoring twice in reply on his 29th birthday - including the winner in stoppage time - to secure a 2-1 win.

There was disappointment for Wrexham at Stoke after Mark Carrington's header had given the Conference side the lead with 17 minutes remaining. That served only to sting Stoke into action and Marko Arnautovic plus two late Stephen Ireland goals made it 3-1 and ended hopes of another remarkable chapter in Wrexham's FA Cup history.

There was also late drama at Aston Villa where Christian Benteke smashed home from outside the box with two minutes left to secure a 1-0 win over Blackpool.

Championship side Ipswich did force a 1-1 draw at Premier League high-flyers Southampton. Veteran midfielder Darren Ambrose struck first for Ipswich only for Morgan Schneiderlin to grab the equaliser.

Manchester United finished up 2-0 winners at Yeovil, despite some stoic opposition from the League One side, who have a famous giant-killing pedigree.

Yeovil had even come closest to scoring before Ander Herrera and Angel di Maria secured United's place in the fourth round.

Chelsea breezed past Watford winning 3-0 with Willian, Loic Remy and Kurt Zouma all on the scoresheet.

Alan Pardew's reign at Crystal Palace began in comfortable style against Conference side Dover Athletic.

Scott Dann scored twice - his first ever brace - before Dwight Gayle and Kevin Doyle rounded off a 4-0 win at the Crabble yesterday.

There was also a 1-0 win for Sunderland against Leeds where Patrick van Aanholt's drilled strike in the 33rd minute at the Stadium of Light was enough for the Black Cats to go through.

There was little of the excitement of last year's FA Cup final as Arsenal cruised past Hull 2-0 at the Emirates.

Per Mertesacker's header saw the Gunners go in ahead at the break before man-of-the-match Alexis Sanchez wrapped it up.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 5, 2015
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