FA Cup has a glorious history of more than 150 years and it has served up its fair share of memorable giant killings. We all know that it’s the only competition where non-league sides get the opportunity to potentially come up against one of the big boys from the Premier League and the Championship, who come into the draw at this stage. While we await this year’s third round, let’s take a look at some of the biggest giant killing of the FA Cup!
Hereford United 2-1 Newcastle United – 1972
There will not be many football fans in the country that will not have seen the footage from this game, and John Motson’s commentary makes it all the more iconic.
It was a 1-1, the tie going into extra time. Ronnie Radford etched himself into FA Cup history with his wonder strike to send the tie to extra time, before Ricky George netted the winning goal for the Southern League side. A pitch invasion followed at the fulltime whistle celebrating a legendary game.
Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal – 1972
A period when Wrexham was among the Forth Division and when more than half of the team were aged 20 or under! Arsenal, the defending champions, were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by a Mickey Thomas-inspired Wrexham.
Trailing 1-0, the former Manchester United and Wales winger slotted a free-kick past, David Seaman, to level matters and then Steve Watkin struck the winner two minutes from time. The plucky Welsh side had written themselves into FA Cup folklore!
Shrewsbury 2-1 Everton – 2002-03
Shrewsbury managed by Everton’s most successful captain Kevin Ratcliffe caused the upset to end all upsets. In their long history to that point, they never reached more than the second tier. And as for the FA Cup, the best thing they could hope for was to reach the quarterfinals.
The Shrews were battling for their lives to stay in the Football League but defied the odds when 34-year-old striker Nigel Jemson netted both goals either side of Niclas Alexandersson’s strike. The Shrews definitely brought the Blues to the Blue half of Merseyside!
Sutton 2-1 Coventry – 1989
This is arguably the biggest giant-killing of them all. Coventry was in the old First Division while Sutton plied their trade in the Conference.
The Sky Blues had won the competition 2 years before. But Sutton took the lead through Tony Rains, and though David Phillips equalised, Matthew Hanlan volleyed the non-league side into the history books.
It took another 24 years for a non-league outfit to beat a team from the top division, as Luton Town beat Norwich City 1-0 thanks to Scott Rendell’s strike 10 minutes from time in 2013.
Stevenage 3-1 Newcastle – 2011
It’s easily the biggest shock in recent years with the League Two side comfortably seeing off Premier League Newcastle United. Stevenage drew Newcastle after a narrow win at home.
Stevenage completely outplayed the Magpies on the day with Stacy Long giving the lower league side the lead with a wicked deflection of Mike Williamson, before Michael Bostwick doubled their advantage.
Joey Barton pulled one back for Alan Pardew’s side, but Peter Winn was on hand to book Stevenage’s spot in the fourth round. As in time honored tradition, the third round tie ended with the home fans invading the pitch.
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