Three famous FA Cup fourth round shocks

by Chloe Beresford / 26 January 2018, 12:06

The English FA Cup is perhaps more famous for giant killings than anything else.

The third and fourth rounds of the competition often failing to disappoint in this regard, and this weekend sees many sides hoping to overcome the so-called “banana skin” opposition.

Jose Mourinho will perhaps be a little uncomfortable in the less-than-glamorous setting of Huish Park - the home of fourth tier Yeovil Town - on Friday night, while Tottenham and Manchester City travel to Newport County and Cardiff City respectively.

Neil Warnock’s Cardiff may well be in the Championship, but any result for the old-school boss versus the tactical brilliance of Pep Guardiola will be seen as almost as much of a triumph as if Yeovil or Newport can pull off any kind of result.

This is what the “romance of the cup” is all about, and we don’t have to delve too far into the past to find other notable fourth round triumphs.

Chelsea 2-4 Bradford City (January 2015)

It seemed like one of those matches that would be a foregone conclusion as then Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson took on Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the FA Cup 4th round three years ago. Indeed, the opening 38 minutes did nothing to indicate it would be any different as Gary Cahill and Ramires put the Blues 2-0 up.

No away side had ever overcome a two-goal deficit under the reign of the “Special One” at Stamford Bridge, but Parkinson – dubbed “The Real Special One” after the match – had clearly not read the script. The Bantams pulled back what looked to be a consolation goal just before half-time through Jon Stead, but went on to find the equaliser on 75 minutes, their belief instantly shining through.

A final flurry of goals in the 82nd and 94th minutes sealed the unlikeliest of comebacks to send Bradford into the fifth round. Ex-Liverpool Robbie Fowler forward dubbed the result as the “greatest FA Cup upset of all time”, while Mourinho – often ungracious in defeat – reportedly headed to the Bradford dressing room to shake the hand of Parkinson and every opposition player.

Liverpool 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers (January 2017)

Another of the Premier League’s elite group of managers fell foul of lower opposition this time last season as Jurgen Klopp was beaten by new Stoke boss Paul Lambert back when he was in the Championship with Wolves. The often abrasive Lambert shocked the laid-back Klopp when his side took the lead in the first minute at Anfield, hanging on for a 2-1 victory after the Reds had pulled one back in the 86th minute.

While the defeated German tactician unreservedly apologised for the cup exit after the conclusion of the fourth-round tie, his counterpart was ready to take full credit for masterminding the victory. “I think from the off we started well and counter-attacked,” Lambert said before going on to make a not-so-modest admission.

“We pressed when we had to press and sat back when we had to be compact. The game-plan was brilliant.”

Norwich 0-1 Luton Town (January 2013)

Paul Buckle may be currently enjoying the anonymity of coaching Sacramento Republic FC in the United Soccer League in the USA, but back in 2013 he steered Luton Town to become the first non-league side to defeat top flight opposition in the Premier League era. Indeed, you would’ve had to have gone back to 1989 to find the previous occasion that this had happened, leaving Norwich boss Chris Hughton red-faced.

Scott Rendell’s late strike meant that Luton became one of only nine non-league teams to reach the fifth round of the prestigious competition. Buckle’s luck would end there however, as the Hatters were defeated 3-0 by Millwall and he would leave the club in February of that year after a winless run of league matches.

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