After third-tier Wigan Athletic toppled Manchester City last night to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals – we’ve decided to look back at some of the greatest upsets in the history of the competition.
The magic of the FA Cup has well and truly been alive on more than one occasion this season – which brings back memories of historic days such as these:
Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal – 1992:
The Gunners were at their peak in this era, going into the tie as reigning champions, expected to cruise past a Wrexham team who were sitting at the very bottom of the fourth tier. Alan Smith put Arsenal 1-0 up and the expectation was that they would canter to an easy victory – however, goals from Mickey Thomas and Steve Watkin sent the home supporters into pandemonium and knocked the giants out of the cup.
Wimbledon 1-0 Liverpool – 1988 FA Cup Final:
Liverpool simply dominated English football throughout the 70s and 80s – and were expected to take the FA Cup crown on this occasion, until the ‘Crazy Gang’ rolled along to spoil the party. Dave Beasant saved a penalty from John Aldridge, and Lawrie Sanchez made no mistake in heading home Dennis Wise’s cross to put the icing on the cake in one of the great underdog stories in English football folklore. The tenacious Wimbledon had wanted it more than Liverpool, who were served their just desserts.
Sutton 2-1 Coventry – 1989:
Sutton were languishing in non-league, whereas Coventry had lifted the cup in 1987 and were going well in the First Division. A team fashioned by an English teacher called Barrie Williams had the last laugh over the professionals, with Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan finding the net in the most unlikely of victories. It was the biggest win in Sutton’s history, and to date is regarded by many as the greatest shock ever in the history of the famous competition.
Shrewsbury 2-1 Everton – 2003:
David Moyes’ Everton side were becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League – as they attempted to bridge the gap to the top four, and stake their claims for silverware. Shrewsbury were flirting with relegation to non-league football but had other ideas. Nigel Jemson was the hero for the Shrews, as he added to his first-half strike by finding the net a minute from time to seal the most unlikely of triumphs.
Bradford 4-2 Chelsea – 2015:
Chelsea were the reigning Premier League champions and coasted into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Ramires and Gary Cahill, with thoughts turning to just how many goals the Blues would win by. However, the League One outfit refused to go down without a fight – and goals from Jon Stead, Filipe Morais, Andy Halliday and Mark Yeates turned it around in extraordinary circumstances to make sure that it would be Bradford heading into the last 16.
The beauty of the FA Cup is that anything can happen in ninety minutes of football, and it can almost always be guaranteed once a season that the underdog will have its day.
We look forward to more memories like these in future – as the Wigans and Wimbledons send the stars packing.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena.
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