Five of the Biggest Recent FA Giant-Killings

Published on 30 January 2024 at 16:00

At the epicentre of the FA Cup's magic is the possibility of an unexpected giant killing. The reason the illustrious English Cup is loved so much is the jeopardy and risk it brings, where anything is possible and anyone can win. After non-league Maidstone United's unbelievable 1-0 Fourth Round victory over high-flying Ipswich Town on Saturday, we take a look at some of the biggest FA Cup shocks in the last few seasons.


Ipswich Town: 0 - Maidstone United: 1   (2023-24)

Promotion chasing Ipswich Town were 98 places above National League North side Maidstone United when the two teams faced each other in this weekend's fourth round of the FA Cup tie. The Stones were dominated in the first half, by an Ipswich side who had made 11 changes from the 1-1 draw with Leicester last Monday. But, it was Maidstone who lead the game after Lamar Reynolds exquisitely chipped Chris Walton to instil belief in the 4,600 travelling fans that a FA Cup shock was on the cards. Jeremie Sarmiento eventually equalised, but the Championship side squandered so many chances totalling 38 shots in the game. It was Sam Corne's goal that sent Maidstone United into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup to become the first National League North/South side to reach it since 2004. George Elokobi's side were the lowest ranked team left in this season's FA Cup and had already knocked out three EFL teams on this remarkable run. They discovered on Sunday night, that they will face either Coventry City or Sheffield Wednesday in the next round, as the fairy tale continues.


Crawley Town: 3 - Leeds United: 0      (2021-22)

League Two Crawley Town advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup for only the third time in the club's 125 year history, beating an under-pressure Leeds United at the Broadfield Stadium. 62 places separated Crawley, eighth in League Two, from Premier League strugglers Leeds United who parted ways with manager Marcelo Bielsa 48 days later. 21 year old Nick Tsaroulla scored a superb opening goal in only his seventh senior game of football, sprinting through Leeds' backline to fire his shot past Kiko Casilla. The Red Devils had a tremendous second-half and had scored two goals in three minutes when Jordan Tuncliffe scored in the 53 minute. It was the first time in four attempts that Crawley had beaten a Premier League opposition and despite Leeds dominating the possession, the home side ensured victory when Ashley Nadesan added a late third goal. Despite Marcelo Bielsa making seven changes to his team the Yorkshire giants were still favourites to knock out Crawley, but instead they became the first top flight team in 34 years to lose to a fourth tier side by three or more goals. Former the Only Ways Essex celebrity star Mark Wright even made a substitute appearance in stoppage time for Crawley to add further salt to the wounds for the away side.


Newcastle United: 1 - Cambridge United: 0      (2021-22)

The promise of a new dawn at Newcastle United with the long-awaited takeover by The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund was blurred by a grey cloud after the Premier League side succumbed to a third round FA Cup exit to Cambridge. A boyhood idoliser of Alan Shearer, Cambridge striker Joe Ironside put the U's in front 12 minutes after half-time to send 5,000 travelling away fans delirious. Newcastle were bottom of the Premier League and had hoped a tie against 16th place League One side Cambridge could kickstart their season under Eddie Howe, but instead it further increased scepticism around St. James Park. Cambridge were winless since early December, but were resolute and defiant against Newcastle's persistent attacking on-slaught, where the home side lacked the clinical edge to find an equaliser. Mark Bonner's side thought they had scored a second late on in the game, but Jake Lankester's goal was ruled out for offside. Newcastle introduced Kerian Trippier for his debut following a £15m transfer from Atletico Madrid, but even the England international couldn't prevent a famous win for Cambridge.


Chelsea: 2 - Bradford City: 4          (2014-15)

Bradford arrived at Stamford Bridge against Premier League title contenders Chelsea, who were aiming at winning the quadruple under Jose Mourinho. Mourinho's nine changes did not seem to affect the home side early on in this fourth round tie, with Chelsea taking a two goal lead in the 38 minute through Ramires. A stunning header from Jon Stead ignited Bradford's comeback just before half-time and it was a former Chelsea academy star Junior Morais whose equaliser came back to haunt his former club. Late goals from Alan Halliday and Jon Stead cemented a famous win for the Bantams, who were the first team to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge all season. Mourinho introduced Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas late in the game to salvage the upset, but it was to no avail. Even though 49 places separated the League One club from Chelsea, they still defied the odds to overturn a two goal deficit, reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 18 years. The reason it was so memorable was because Chelsea went on to lift the Premier League title just four months later.


Oldham: 3 - Liverpool: 2            (2012-13)

Brendan Rogers Liverpool had a torrid afternoon at League One Oldham, suffering defeat away from home by a club two divisions lower for the first time since 1959. Towering striker Matt Smith scored a well-earnt brace either side of Luis Suarez's 21st goal of the season and a goal from Reece Wabara ensured progression into the fifth round. Joe Allen's late volley at Boundary Park did result in a nervous ending for the Lactic's, with late substitute Steven Gerrard crashing an effort against the crossbar. Paul Dickov's side managed to reach full-time with the win against seven time FA Cup winners Liverpool even though they were 56 places below their Premier League opponents. Oldham were winless in their last nine matches, but were flying in the FA Cup beating Kidderminster Harriers, Nottingham Forest and Doncaster Rovers on their way to facing Liverpool. 


Written by Lewis Eadie

Add comment


There are no comments yet.