10 Greatest FA Cup Shocks

York City 1 Arsenal 0, 26/01/1985

This fourth round tie had pretty much every FA Cup cliché you could wish for; a snowbound pitch, John Motson in the commentary box and a dramatic late finish as Third Division York City knocked out the mighty Arsenal thanks to a last minute penalty from Keith Houchen.

York would go on to face European champions Liverpool in the next round, but after holding them to a 1-1 draw at Bootham Crescent they lost the replay 7-0 at Anfield. Let’s gloss over that one.

Shrewsbury 2 Everton 1, 03/01/2003

Former defender Kevin Ratcliffe is Everton’s most successful captain ever, but he’s also the manager who masterminded their downfall on one of their most embarrassing afternoons.

Ratcliffe’s Shrewsbury side – ranked 80 places below the Blues in the league ladder – beat David Moyes’s men 2-1 at Gay Meadow in 2003 thanks a brace from veteran captain Nigel Jemson, who outshone a young Wayne Rooney and headed the winner two minutes from time.

Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 0, 08/01/1984

Harry Redknapp’s fledgling managerial career received a huge shot in the arm when his Third Division Bournemouth side shocked star-studded Manchester United at Dean Court.

Milton Graham and Ian Thompson were the Cherries goalscorers on an unforgettable afternoon, whilst goalkeeper Ian Leigh was promised free pizza from a local restaurant for keeping a clean sheet. That promise was kept up for a couple of years until Redknapp took over the restaurant and starting charging him again!

Leicester 1 Wycombe 2, 10/03/2001

Lawrie Sanchez’s Wycombe Wanderers weren’t supposed to have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals in 2001, and they certainly weren’t supposed to beat Martin O’Neill’s well-respected Leicester City side at Filbert Street.

That they did was down to a gutsy display and a last gasp winning goal from unknown forward Roy Essandoh, who had signed a two-week contract after responding to an advert on Teletext (remember that?) for new players. Sanchez, who had been sent to the changing rooms before the goal, celebrated wildly, but it wasn’t his first brush with FA Cup folklore…

Wimbledon 1 Liverpool 0, 14/05/1988

Because 13 years earlier, Sanchez grabbed the winner at Wembley as Wimbledon shocked the heavily-fancied Liverpool to win the FA Cup for the first time in their history.

Sanchez’s header and Dave Beasant’s penalty save from John Aldridge secured a remarkable success for the Crazy Gang, and was the biggest shock in a final for some 25 years until…

Manchester City 0 Wigan 1, 11/05/2013

Nobody gave Wigan Athletic a chance up against the monied machine that is Manchester City, but Roberto Martinez’s team put up a terrific fight at Wembley and won the FA Cup in the most dramatic of manners when substitute Ben Watson headed in a late corner.

As if to show that it was no fluke, the relegated Latics then followed that up with another win over City in the same competition the following season. What’s that about lightning not striking twice?

Sutton United 2 Coventry 1, 07/01/1989

Coventry were the underdogs when they beat Tottenham in the 1987 final, but just 19 months later they were on the receiving end of one of the greatest cup shocks of all-time when non-league Sutton United embarrassed them in the third round.

Captain Tony Rains and midfielder Matthew Hanlan grabbed the goals as the U’s became the last non-league team to knock out top-flight opposition until Luton Town beat a makeshift Norwich City side in 2013.

Hereford 2 Newcastle 1, 05/02/1972

Even those of us who weren’t around in 1972 are familiar with this scene by now. The muddy pitch, the one-two, the absolutely fantastic strike into the top corner and then the sight of the brilliantly and nostalgically-named Ronnie Radford running away with his arms in the air and his shirt over his naval.

That was the equaliser for non-league Hereford United against high-flying Newcastle in a third round replay at Edgar Street, with substitute Ricky George then grabbing the winner in extra-time to secure a first non-league success over a top-flight team since 1949.

Tranmere 4 Southampton 3, 20/02/2001

Tranmere had won 3-0 at local rivals Everton in an earlier round, but this victory over Southampton is worth remembering for the sheer drama.

Hassan Kachloul, Jo Tessem and Dean Richards had the Premier League Saints 3-0 up by half-time, before John Aldridge’s side remarkably fought back thanks to a hat-trick from veteran forward Paul Rideout – who scored the winner in the 1995 final when Everton beat Manchester United – and then a winner from Stuart Barlow. It was a chaotic night by the Mersey.

Wrexham 2 Arsenal 1, 04/01/1992

Wrexham had finished bottom of the entire Football League the previous season – only staving off relegation because Aldershot were being expelled – whilst Arsenal were the league champions, so it was obvious what was going to happen on a cold day in North Wales, wasn’t it?

That’s right. Alan Smith gave the Gunners the lead shortly before half-time, but the Welshmen roared back and won the game with two goals in the final eight minutes, a fierce free-kick from veteran Mickey Thomas and then a scrambled winner from Steve Watkin. It’s what the FA Cup is all about.

SHOP the official FA Cup retro collection at 3Retro.com

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