It’s The Cup of Shocks and it looks as if we just could be getting another after the weekend’s fourth round provided much to ponder on. Premier League title challengers Chelsea were stunned following their cup exit to League One outfit Bradford City, who are no strangers to a cup run. Here are just some other FA Cup blasts from the past…
Liverpool 0 – 1 Wimbledon (1988)
This was rather one of the greatest FA Cup Final shocks rather than one of the greatest FA Cup shocks, but a shock nonetheless. Liverpool in the days of John Barnes, John Aldridge and Alan Hansen were essentially the face of Europe when they came face to face with unfancied Division One side Wimbledon.
Wimbledon took the lead via a set-piece as Lawrie Sanchez’s head met the out-swinging delivery from Dennis Wise to put the underdogs into the lead with 37 minutes on the clock.
The game also made history as it was the first penalty missed in a FA Cup Final. John Aldridge seeing his spot-kick saved by Wimbledon skipper Dave Beasant.
Liverpool: B.Grobbelaar; Steve Nicol, Gary Gillespie, Alan Hansen (c), Gary Ablett; Ray Houghton, Nigel Spackman, Steve McMahon, John Barnes; Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge
Subs: Craig Johnstone, Jan Mølby
Wimbledon: Dave Beasant (c); Clive Goodyear, Eric Young, Andy Thorn, Terry Phelan; Lawrie Sanchez, Vinnie Jones, Alan Cork, Dennis Wise; Terry Gibson, John Fashanu
Subs: John Scales, Laurie Cunningham
Wembley Stadium, London
Wrexham 2 – 1 Arsenal (1992)
Welsh side Wrexham finished the previous season bottom of division four (92nd) and opposition Arsenal were crowned champions of England, but hey, who’s counting in the cup of dreams?
Arsenal were showing the side from North Wales just why they had lost only one league match in their previous season, being dominant with chances and in possession. Although, it’s what you do with the ball that counts and that’s exactly what Alan Smith and Arsenal did when meeting a Paul Merson cross to put the Gunners into a half-time lead at the Racecourse.
Wrexham looked to leave it late with two goals in as many minutes as Mickey Thomas and Steve Watkin putting Wrexham into a 2-1 lead with just over six minutes to go. Wrexham saw the game out despite a late scare from Jimmy Carter and the word “embarrassing” was the adjective to be blasted at the Arsenal side.
Wrexham: Vince O’Keefe; Andy Thackeray, Phil Hardy, Mark Sertori; Mickey Thomas (c), Gordon Davies, Gareth Owen, Wayne Phillips; Karl Connolly, Steve Watkin
Subs: Joey Jones, Jimmy Kelly
Arsenal: David Seaman; Lee Dixon Nigel Winterburn, David O’Leary, Tony Adams (c); David Hillier, David Rocastle, Paul Merson, Jimmy Carter; Kevin Campbell, Alan Smith
Subs: Andy Linighan, Perry Groves
Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Bournemouth 2 – 0 Manchester United (1984)
Division 3 side Bournemouth, who were managed by a now familiar Harry Redknapp met a more than brilliant Manchester United team, who at the time included England captain Bryan Robson in the FA Cup third-round.
With not much to shout about in the first-half, Bournemouth managed to keep the side who had won the competition on five previous occasions at bay. It was the second-half which stunned United with an overwhelming Bournemouth performance, with goals from Milton Graham and Ian Thompson dumping The Red Devils out of the competition.
Not only the result, but also the performance of the Manchester United players that afternoon will still haunt the team till this day with their efforts at goal being intermittent to say the least.
“It’s got to be the greatest day of my life, and I’m sure it’s the greatest day of all the players’ lives,” – Harry Redknapp, 7 January 1984.
Manchester United: Gary Bailey; Graeme Hogg, Mike Duxbury, Arthur Albiston; Remi Moses, Bryan Robson, Arnold Muhren, Ray Wilkins, Arthur Graham; Norman Whiteside, Frank Stapleton
Sub: Lou Macari
Goldsands Stadium, Bournemouth
Bristol Rovers 4 – 0 Manchester United (1956)
Bristol Rovers pulled off an FA Cup upset as they beat Division One side Manchester United 4-0 at Eastville Stadium. Rovers, who have never played top division football to date played host to a Manchester United side in their prime as they were nicknamed the ‘Busby Babes’ in honour of their manager Matt Busby.
The Busby Babes were looking at each other when Rovers forward Alfie Biggs scored twice and ended a miserable as well as a shocking day for United as a the match saw further goals from Barrie Meyer and a Geoff Bradford penalty.
This proved to be a wake up call for Manchester United as they went on to win that years’ league title by a record margin and became the first English team to enter the European Cup.
Bristol Rovers: Ron Nicholls; Harry Bamford, Frank Alcock, Jack Pitt, Denzil Hale; Peter Sampson, George Petherbridge, Alfie Biggs, Geoff Bradford; Barrie Meyer, Peter Hooper
Manchester United: Ray Wood; Bill Foulkes, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones; Jeff Whitefoot, Johnny Berry, John Doherty, Tommy Taylor; Dennis Viollet, David Pegg
Eastville Stadium, Bristol
Hereford United 2 – 1 Newcastle United (1972)
This was one of the most remarkable FA Cup shocks of all time as it was the first time that a non-league club (Hereford) had knocked out a side from the top division of English football. Hereford seemed to have done more than enough by containing Newcastle in the first fixture 2-2 at St James’ Park.
If Hereford United fans were jubilant about the result at St James’ Park, just imagine their pride when they played host in the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay at Edgar Street. Despite the half-time score being 0-0, it was a pulsating first-half of football with the bar being struck twice in quick succession by Newcastle as Hereford rode their luck.
After the half-time interval, Newcastle seemed to continue from where they left off. Yet again, luck seemed to be something Newcastle were short of and Hereford were high on, with Malcolm Macdonald missing an empty net for the Division One side, much to the amusement of the Hereford faithful.
For all of Newcastle’s unfortunate luck in front of goal, they finally broke the deadlock when Macdonald made amends for his earlier miss, meeting a Viv Busby cross from the right to power Newcastle into the lead with just eight minutes left on the clock.
Hereford found an equaliser in spectacular fashion just before the end when Ronnie Radford played a one-two with forward Brian Owen and hit a first time shot from all of 40 yards from goal to sail into the top corner. It is still at this moment in time listed down as one of the greatest FA Cup goals in history.
Hereford weren’t finished yet, as the game went into extra-time they seemed to have settled themselves after Radford’s stunning strike. The game was remarkably won by Hereford when substitute Ricky George found a pocket of space inside the Newcastle penalty area and struck low with his right foot into the bottom corner. Hereford saw the game out as 2-1 winners with both of their goals spurring a pitch invasion with similar scenes at the final whistle, in what was one of the greatest FA Cup shocks to date.
Hereford United: Fred Potter; Rodger Griffiths, Ken Mallender, Alan Jones, Mick McLaughlin; Colin Addison, Tony Gough (c), Dudley Tyler, Ronnie Radford; Billy Meadows, Brian Owen
Sub: Ricky George
Newcastle United: Willie McFaul; David Craig, Frank Clark, Irving Nattrass, Pat Howard, Bobby Moncur (c); Viv Busby, Tony Green, Terry Hibbitt; Malcolm Macdonald, John Tudor
Sub: David Young
Edgar Street, Hereford
Attendance: 14, 313
by Sam Hardwell