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In Focus: Five greatest FA Cup giant-killings of all time
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Dan Fitch
Ronnie Radford celebrates one of the most famous FA Cup goals as Hereford beat Newcastle
Ronnie Radford celebrates one of the most famous FA Cup goals as Hereford beat Newcastle

Grimsby are the latest club to write their name into FA Cup history after stunning Southampton with a 2-1 victory at St Mary's on Wednesday night.

Mariners midfielder Gavan Holohan struck twice from the penalty spot inside five minutes after the break, before Duje Caleta-Car halved the deficit for the Premier League hosts.

But the fourth-tier side were able to hold on to their slender lead and will now face a second trip to the South Coast in the quarter-finals when they face Brighton.

As another thrilling round of cup action comes to an end, we have taken a look back at some of the biggest FA Cup shocks of all time. 

Chelsea 2-4 Bradford (January 2015)

Even the most successful seasons can contain embarrassing moments, as Chelsea found out in their Premier League title-winning campaign of 2014-15. 

The Blues also won the EFL Cup that season in Jose Mourinho’s second spell at the club. But League One Bradford ensured that there would be no domestic treble at Stamford Bridge.

There have been wider gaps between clubs than the one that separated a Chelsea side that were top of the Premier League and a Bradford team that were sixth in League One. 

Yet this also goes down as one of the great FA Cup comebacks with the hosts 2-0 up in the first half of the fourth-round tie. 

Goals from Gary Cahill and Ramires looked to have won the game but Jon Stead pulled one back for the Bantams just before the break. 

Second-half goals from Filipe Morais, Andy Halliday and Mark Yeates resulted in an unlikely victory that Bradford fans will never forget. 

Sutton United 2-1 Coventry (January 1989)

Sutton United's Matthew Hanlan scores past Coventry's Steve Ogrizovic
Sutton United's Matthew Hanlan scores past Coventry's Steve Ogrizovic

Coventry had won the FA Cup only two years before tasting humiliation at the hands of non-league Sutton United. 

The Sky Blues were riding high in fifth place in the old First Division at the time, so they seemingly had little to fear from the Conference side and their collection of part-time players. 

Though the favourites dominated the first half, they could not make their class tell and it was Sutton that were ahead at half-time after their skipper Tony Rains headed home from a corner. 

Coventry equalised through Welsh international David Phillips, only for a volley from self-employed bricklayer Matthew Hanlan to restore Sutton’s lead. 

It was the first time that a non-league club had beaten one from the top flight in the FA Cup since 1975 and the feat was not repeated for another 24 years when Luton beat Norwich in 2013.

Burnley 0-1 Lincoln (February 2017)

That aforementioned 1975 victory saw Wimbledon defeat Burnley. The Clarets would lose again to non-league opposition when they hosted Lincoln in 2017. 

Sean Dyche’s team were at the start of their recent six-season spell in the Premier League. 

National League Lincoln had beaten League One’s Oldham and Championship sides Ipswich and Brighton to reach the last 16. 

The Imps then pulled off their biggest shock of all. Sean Raggett’s 89th-minute header was their first effort on target in the match and goal-line technology confirmed that Lincoln were ahead at Turf Moor. 

It was the first time in 103 years that a non-league side had reached the FA Cup quarter-finals. Lincoln would be rewarded with a trip to eventual winners Arsenal, to whom they would lose 5-0.

Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal (January 1992)

Mickey Thomas of Wrexham celebrates their win over Arsenal
Mickey Thomas of Wrexham celebrates their win over Arsenal

Arsenal had their own taste of an FA Cup upset back in 1992. The Gunners had won the First Division the previous season and were travelling to a Wrexham side that finished bottom of Division Four. 

George Graham picked a strong team packed with internationals, which was evidenced when Alan Smith scored from a Paul Merson corner, flicked on by David O’Leary, to give Arsenal a half-time lead. 

Wrexham had their own international in the shape of former Manchester United and Wales winger Mickey Thomas. By then a veteran, Thomas scored a sensational 82nd-minute free-kick to equalise. 

Before Arsenal could compose themselves, Steve Watkin gave Wrexham the lead just two minutes later. The pitch of the Racecourse Ground was swamped with jubilant fans celebrating a famous giant-killing. 

Hereford 2-1 Newcastle (February 1972)

When you think of fans on the pitch after an FA Cup shock, there is one match that always comes to mind. 

Southern League side Hereford had earned a home replay after drawing 2-2 in their third-round match at First Division club Newcastle. 

Hereford’s Edgar Street ground was packed beyond its 14,313 capacity with fans positioned in trees and floodlight pylons. 

An exciting match saw no goals until the 82nd minute when future England striker Malcolm Macdonald headed home for the Magpies. 

Three minutes later, Ronnie Radford scored one of the most famous FA Cup goals to equalise, fuelling a parka-clad pitch invasion. 

As familiar as Radford’s 30-yard scorcher has become, you never see the extra-time winner from Ricky George that ultimately won the match for Hereford and enshrined this FA Cup memory.


FA CupNewcastle UnitedArsenalChelseaBurnleyCoventryBradfordLincoln CityWrexham
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