Every cup tournament has its heroes. That’s the brilliance of a competition where every game brings with it the possibility of elimination – take over a game in the Capital One Cup, and you’re remembered for the rest of the tournament.
The five men in this list have done just that – two with hat-tricks, and three with two-goal performances that decided a game in their team’s favour. There’s even an honourable mention for one man whose heroics should be remembered even though they weren’t enough to take his team through to the next round. Can you guess who we’re talking about…?
5. James McClean, Sunderland v Morecambe, Round 2
This season, midfield starlet James McClean hasn’t quite lived up to the hype surrounding him since he burst onto the scene in the first weeks of Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland tenure. Perhaps it’s the pressure, a blip in his form, or something else, but that aside, the youngster was back to his best against lower-league opposition with both goals in this comfortable victory, and added another in the win at MK Dons in the next round.
4. Luke Moore, Swansea City v Barnsley, Round 2
One of the forgotten men of English football popped up to propelSwanseapast stubborn Championship opponentsBarnsleyin this otherwise fairly close encounter.Moore’s first goal came on a perfectly-executed turn and strike in the closing minutes of the first half, before he struck again in the closing minutes to seal the win. His career may not have panned out as projected after bursting onto the scene as a youngster at Aston Villa, but clearlyMoorestill has goals in him.
3. Christian Benteke and Miles Storey, Aston Villa v Swindon Town, Round 4
This game was a story (no pun intended) of two very different tales – Benteke, the Belgium international brought in at considerable expense by Villa in the summer but struggling for goals and a regular place in the side, and Storey, who has progressed through the Swindon academy after being released byWest Bromand is only now embarking on the first steps of his professional football career. Benteke’s diving header (and a sweet strike from Gabriel Agbonlahor) had Villa 2-0 up as the game approached its final 15 minutes, but Storey, on as a substitute, sent the home fans into delirium with two goals in four minutes. TheBirminghamboy’s fairytale night was not to be however, as Benteke nodded home a Stephen Ireland free-kick to send Villa to the quarter-finals.
2. Theo Walcott, Arsenal v Reading, Round 4
You’re all probably very familiar by now with Walcott’s heroics in inspiring one of the greatest comebacks in Arsenal’s recent history. A timely strike just before half time saved his teammates the embarrassment of trailing by four at the break, before Walcott came up with the 96th-minute goal to force extra time. And with the score at 5-5 and penalties just minutes away, who should pop up with the decisive goal before Marouane Chamakh put the icing on the cake? You guessed it. Having already scored twice in the third round demolition of Coventry, Walcott is currently the tournament’s leading goalscorer this season, and has played a large part in Andrey Ashavin climbing to the top of the assist charts.
1. James Collins, Swindon Town v Stoke City, Round 3
One of the most famous wins in Paulo Di Canio’s managerial career coincided with one of the outstanding performances of striker James Collins’ football life, as the League 1 side’s striker put Thomas Sorensen to the sword with a sublime hat-trick in this upset win. A poacher’s goal and a header helped Swindon take an early game, but the game was deadlocked at 3-3 after 119 minutes when Collins capped off a memorable night by sliding in to poke home the winner.