Football is nothing without fans.
That sentiment has been aired on a regular basis since the coronavirus pandemic upset the world’s fixture list, and the loss of supporters was keenly felt during the FA Cup third-round matches.
But the most iconic date on the English calendar soldiered on regardless. Here, BitFootball rounds up the best images from a spectator-free Saturday in the oldest football competition on the planet.
Boreham Wood beat three teams to earn the right to host Millwall in the third round, but plans to allow fans into Meadow Park were on hold. The fifth-tier side lost 2-0 to the Championship club.
Yerry Mina needed medical attention as Everton defeated Rotherham United 2-1 after extra time.
Luton Town overcame Reading with a 1-0 triumph at a closed-up Kenilworth Road.
Coventry City players walk through the concourse at halftime. Norwich City won 2-0 at Carrow Road.
Nottingham Forest emerged from their all-Championship clash with Cardiff City as 1-0 victors.
The mandatory images of people peeping over walls and watching from bedroom windows were rife as sixth-tier Chorley knocked out virus-hit Derby County. The home team celebrated the 2-0 win with a dressing room rendition of Adele’s “Someone Like You.”
A member of Blackburn Rovers’ matchday staff took a selfie with some cardboard cutouts of fans before their 1-0 home loss to Doncaster Rovers.
Blackpool, who are mid-table in League One, saw off West Bromwich Albion on penalties. The score was 2-2 after 120 minutes before Sam Allardyce’s outfit became the first Premier League team to be knocked out of the 2020-21 FA Cup by lower-league opposition.
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder found relief from his team’s woeful Premier League form in a 3-2 success at Bristol Rovers.
Burnley outlasted Milton Keynes Dons via a penalty shootout after the two teams couldn’t be separated in a 1-1 draw. Matej Vydra scored in the 94th minute to take the game into extra time before Phil Bardsley struck the decisive spot-kick.
Exeter City and Sheffield Wednesday grappled in front of empty terracing at St James’ Park. The hosts lost 2-0.
Philip Billing congratulates Joshua King for his second goal in Bournemouth’s 4-1 trouncing of Oldham Athletic.
Players patiently wait for a corner to be taken at Loftus Road. Extra-time goals from Bobby Decordova-Reid and Neeskens Kebano earned Fulham a 2-0 victory over London neighbors Queens Park Rangers.
The floodlights fought the fog in Swansea City’s 2-0 win at Stevenage.
A stunning goal from James Justin opened the scoring in Leicester City’s straightforward 4-0 defeat of Stoke City.
Wycombe Wanderers reached the fourth round for only the second time in 20 seasons after a convincing 4-1 win over Championship rivals Preston North End.
Social distancing in the dressing room. FA Cup holders Arsenal drew a collective sigh of relief when two extra-time goals dispensed of Newcastle United in a 2-0 triumph.
Brentford eliminated Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough when the final whistle blew on a 2-1 win.
The lights are on, but no one’s home. Huddersfield Town succumbed to a 3-2 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle.
Though the real “magic” of the FA Cup is often provided by the smaller clubs, the greatest indication of just how different things are right now was provided by one of the nation’s grandest football theaters: sitting empty, a cavernous Old Trafford was the setting for Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Watford.