Football | Spurs show no mercy to 8th-tier Marine, Crawley stuns Leeds

Tottenham’s Carlos Vinicius scores passing Marine’s goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant

Marine 0, Tottenham 5

The biggest mismatch in the FA Cup’s 150-year history delivered a predictably one-sided result as Tottenham showed no mercy to an eighth-tier opponent whose lineup featured a garbage collector and a factory worker.
It was left, then, to Crawley to provide the so-called “giant killing” long associated with the storied competition, with a British reality TV star helping the fourth-tier team complete a stunning 3-0 win over Leeds.
On a classic day in the world’s oldest club knockout competition, Tottenham’s stars entered the humble surroundings of Rossett Park — a cosy ground located alongside a row of townhouses, from which horn-blaring residents got a free view of the action — and came away with a 5-0 victory over Marine, a team of part-timers 161 places lower in English soccer’s pyramid.
A first-half hat trick from Carlos Vinicius, who was filling in as striker for Harry Kane, settled any early nerves among Tottenham’s players who dressed for the game in a makeshift locker room that is usually a bar. For the locals watching the game from behind a wall or metal fencing — some with a glass of wine in their hands — there was the treat of internationals like Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon coming on as second-half substitutes.
“I’m not English but I know what this means for everyone,” Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said, “so I brought a good team — not just for the result but also for the meaning of the cup.”
So, the dream is over for Marine, though a match broadcast live in 40 territories worldwide will be a huge money-spinner and potential life-changer for a tiny club from England’s northwest whose world has been turned upside down amid a pandemic that prevented any fans from attending the biggest game in its history.
For Crawley, however, the road to Wembley Stadium is still very much open, with the unlikely win over Leeds proving a fairy-tale moment for one of its late substitutes, in particular.
Summing up the “magic of the FA Cup” — a phrase often trotted out at the third-round stage of the competition when the country’s top teams enter — was the sight of Mark Wright coming on for Crawley in the final minutes for his debut in professional soccer.
The 33-year-old Wright has taken part in reality TV shows “The Only Way Is Essex,” “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!” and “Strictly Come Dancing,” and also hosted TV shows in the United States. But he has continued to pursue his dream of becoming a soccer player, and joined Crawley last month on a non-contract basis in a move that has been documented in a BBC program.
For some, Wright’s late showing summed up a triumph of perseverance. For others, it simply capped a humiliating day for Leeds and its widely admired Argentine manager, Marcelo Bielsa, whose record in three seasons in the FA Cup reads: played three, lost three.
“He was very complimentary afterward,” Crawley manager John Yems said of Bielsa, “but I suppose when you lose 3-0, you can’t be anything but.” STEVE DOUGLAS, MDT/AP

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