The greatest FA Cup underdog stories of all time

The FA Cup is renowned in England and worldwide for its penchant for providing major upsets – or ‘cupsets’, if you like – and fearless underdog stories every season.

Teams separated by hundreds of league positions can meet in the domestic competition and sides from the former First Division and current Premier League have been dealt catastrophic blows by lower division sides eager for their day in the sun.

The magic of the FA Cup continues to throw up surprise after surprise and its history is filled with plucky underdogs who went toe to toe with the Goliaths of English football and came out on top. Here are some of the best success stories.

Notts County v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Sky Bet League OneNotts County v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One

Notts County made history in 1894 / Chris Brunskill/GettyImages

If you needed reminding that the FA Cup is really, really old, this was the 23rd edition of the tournament, and it was 130 years ago. This was the first and only time that Notts County managed to win it.

They beat Burnley, Burton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers on their way to the final, where Bolton Wanderers were waiting. An emphatic 4-1 win meant it was glory for one of England’s most historic clubs. Jimmy Logan became the second player to score a hat-trick in an FA Cup final.

FA Cup run

First round – Notts County 1-0 Burnley – 27/01/1894
Second round – Burton Wanderers 1-2 Notts County – 10/02/1894
Third round – Nottingham Forest 1-1 Notts County – 24/02/1894
Third round replay – Notts County 4-1 Nottingham Forest – 03/03/1894
Semi-finals – Notts County 1-0 Blackburn Rovers – 10/03/1894
Final – Notts County 4-1 Bolton Wanderers – 31/03/1894

Cup WinnersCup Winners

Tottenham’s non-league FA Cup winners / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

Tottenham Hotspur became the first and only team to date to win the FA Cup as a non-league side all the way back in 1901.

The north Londoners are one of the competition’s more successful clubs these days with eight triumphs. Their run over a hundred years ago included victories over the famous Preston North End and holders Bury, eventually lifting the cup after a final replay with Sheffield United.

FA Cup run

First round – Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Preston North End – 09/02/1901
First round replay – Preston North End 2-4 Tottenham Hotspur – 13/02/1901
Second round – Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Bury – 13/02/1901
Third round – Reading 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur – 23/03/1901
Third round replay – Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Reading – 27/03/1901
Semi-finals – Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 West Bromwich Albion – 08/04/1901
Final – Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Sheffield United – 20/04/1901
Final replay – Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Sheffield United – 27/04/1901

Barnsley v Walsall - Sky Bet League OneBarnsley v Walsall - Sky Bet League One

Barnsley were winners in 1912 / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

A historic cup run that wasn’t for the faint-hearted. Amid their unfathomable rise to FA Cup success, Barnsley played 12 games on their way to the trophy and 12 professional games in a single month – records that still stand today.

This was a rugged, disciplined outfit with a fetish for a 0-0 as they conceded just three times during their journey. They certainly weren’t crowd pleasers, but a 1-0 victory over West Brom in a replay saw them lift the FA Cup for the first and only time.

FA Cup run

First round – Birmingham City 0-0 Barnsley – 13/01/1912
First round – Barnsley 3-0 Birmingham City – 22/01/1912
Second round – Barnsley 1-0 Leicester Fosse – 03/02/1912
Third round – Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Barnsley – 24/02/1912
Fourth round – Barnsley 0-0 Bradford City – 09/03/1912
Fourth round, first replay – Bradford City 0-0 Barnsley – 13/03/1912
Fourth round, second replay – Barnsley 0-0 Bradford City – 18/03/1912
Fourth round, third replay – Barnsley 3-2 Bradford City – 21/03/1912
Semi-finals – Barnsley 0-0 Swindon Town – 30/03/1912
Semi-final replay – Barnsley 1-0 Swindon Town – 03/04/1912
Final – Barnsley 0-0 West Bromwich Albion – 20/04/1912
Final replay – Barnsley 1-0 West Bromwich Albion (AET) – 24/04/1912

Wolves Team GroupWolves Team Group

Wolves’ 1908 FA Cup winners / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

During the 1907/08 season, Wolverhampton Wanderers were a Second Division side and they actually only ended the campaign in ninth. They still managed to win their second-ever FA Cup, though.

They made their way to the final and beat Newcastle 3-1 at Crystal Palace. It was a great season for upsets, as 13 of the First Division’s 20 clubs were beaten by teams from leagues beneath them. Three of the four semi-finalists were from outside the First Division.

FA Cup run

First round – Bradford City 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers – 11/01/1908
First round replay – Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Bradford City – 15/01/1908
Second round – Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Bury – 01/02/1908
Third round – Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Swindon Town – 22/02/1908
Fourth round – Stoke City 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers – 07/03/1908
Semi-finals – Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Southampton – 28/03/1908
Final – Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 Newcastle United – 25/04/1908

Granting of the FA cup to the "West Bromwich Albions" soccer team. Wembley. London, England. Photograph. April 25th 1931.Granting of the FA cup to the "West Bromwich Albions" soccer team. Wembley. London, England. Photograph. April 25th 1931.

West Brom collect their trophy / brandstaetter images/GettyImages

The second-tier Baggies were blessed with a relatively kind route to Wembley as they played just one First Division side on their way to the final.

West Brom overcame Portsmouth in the fifth round before eventually taking on crosstown rivals Birmingham, who were in the top tier at the time. West Brom had won all the previous FA Cup meetings between the pair, and their streak continued in the 1931 final as a brace from WG Richardson sunk the Blues.

The Baggies were the last team from outside the top division to win the trophy until 1973.

FA Cup run

Third round – West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Charlton Athletic – 10/01/1931
Third round, first replay – Charlton Athletic 1-1 West Bromwich Albion – 14/01/1931
Third round, second replay – West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Charlton Athletic – 19/01/1931
Fourth round – West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur – 24/01/1931
Fifth round – Portsmouth 0-1 West Bromwich Albion – 14/02/1931
Sixth round – West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers – 28/02/1931
Sixth round replay – Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 West Bromwich Albion – 04/03/1931
Semi-finals – West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Everton – 14/03/1931
Final – West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Birmingham City – 25/04/1931

Colchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Pre Season FriendlyColchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Pre Season Friendly

Colchester reached the fifth round in 1948 / Stephen Pond/GettyImages

Colchester United were in the regional Southern Division in 1947/48, and 17 members of the squad were part-time professionals. That meant it was a real story when they beat three Football League clubs on their way to the fifth round.

They beat Chelmsford City, Banbury Spencer, Wrexham, Huddersfield Town and Bradford Park Avenue before getting hammered by First Division Blackpool 5-0. Over 17,000 fans attended their home match against Bradford in the fourth round.

FA Cup run

Fourth qualifying round – Chelmsford City 1-3 Colchester United – 15/11/1947
First round – Colchester United 2-1 Banbury Spencer – 29/11/1947
Second round – Colchester United 1-0 Wrexham – 13/12/1947
Third round – Colchester United 1-0 Huddersfield Town – 10/01/1948
Fourth round – Colchester United 3-2 Bradford (Park Avenue) – 24/01/1948
Fifth round – Blackpool 5-0 Colchester United – 07/02/1948

Soccer - nPower League Division One - Yeovil Town v Shrewsbury TownSoccer - nPower League Division One - Yeovil Town v Shrewsbury Town

It was big year for Yeovil in 1949 / Matthew Ashton/GettyImages

Yeovil Town were proper minnows as they progressed through the rounds in 1948/49.

Few expected much out of the Southern League side, who had earned a couple of pre-war third round berths. While their campaign would conclude with a thumping 8-0 defeat at Maine Road to Man Utd, Yeovil’s fourth round triumph over Sunderland remains one of the club’s most memorable.

The First Division Wearsiders were envied for their riches at the time, but they succumbed to an Eric Bryant extra-time winner at a foggy Yeovil in what’s regarded as one of the greatest FA Cup upsets of all time.

FA Cup run

First round – Yeovil Town 4-0 Romford – 27/11/1948
Second round – Weymouth 0-4 Yeovil Town – 11/12/1948
Third round – Yeovil Town 3-1 Bury – 08/01/1949
Fourth round – Yeovil Town 2-1 Sunderland – 29/01/1949
Fifth round – Manchester United 8-0 Yeovil Town – 12/02/1949

Bobby KerrBobby Kerr

Sunderland defeated Leeds in the 1973 final / Evening Standard/GettyImages

Sunderland’s second-ever FA Cup triumph came when they were a Second Division side. The fact that they made it to the final was impressive enough, but they beat the holders Leeds United in the final.

Leeds finished third in the First Division that season, they were a genuine force and were the overwhelming favourites to win the final. Around 100,000 were at Wembley to see John Porterfield score the only goal of the game after half an hour.

FA Cup run

Third round – Notts County 1-1 Sunderland – 13/01/1973
Third round replay – Sunderland 2-0 Notts County – 16/01/1973
Fourth round – Sunderland 1-1 Reading – 03/02/1973
Fourth round replay – Reading 1-3 Sunderland – 07/02/1973
Fifth round – Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland – 24/02/1973
Fifth round replay – Sunderland 3-1 Manchester City – 27/02/1973
Sixth round – Sunderland 2-0 Luton Town – 17/03/1973
Semi-finals – Sunderland 2-1 Arsenal – 07/04/1973
Final – Leeds United 0-1 Sunderland – 05/05/1973

Kenny AllenKenny Allen

Wimbledon beat Bath City in the first round / Evening Standard/GettyImages

This was certainly a tamer Wimbledon iteration compared to the battle-hardened underdogs that’d stun the English game just over a decade later.

Still, this Wimbledon side proved a tough out in the 1974/75 FA Cup. The non-league side overcame the likes of Wokingham Town, and Guildford & Dorking United to progress into the first round. After edging past Bath City and Kettering Town, Wimbledon, yet to concede a goal in the competition, then completed a memorable upset over First Division Burnley to progress into the fourth round.

The Dons then gave the country’s supreme force, Leeds Utd, a major scare, but the Yorkshire outfit eventually prevailed 1-0 in a replay.

FA Cup run

First round – Wimbledon 1-0 Bath City – 23/11/1974
Second round – Wimbledon 2-0 Kettering Town – 14/12/1974
Third round – Burnley 0-1 Wimbledon – 04/01/1975
Fourth round – Leeds United 0-0 Wimbledon – 25/01/1975
Fourth round replay – Wimbledon 0-1 Leeds United – 10/02/1975

Lawrie McMenemy, Peter OsgoodLawrie McMenemy, Peter Osgood

Southampton enjoyed their day in the sun in 1976 / Keystone/GettyImages

Southampton won their first and only piece of major silverware as a club in 1976 when they upset the odds to beat First Division Manchester United.

United had finished third in the league while Southampton came sixth in the division below but the gap meant little on the day as Bobby Stokes scored the only goal of the day.

FA Cup run

Third round – Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa – 03/01/1976
Third round replay – Aston Villa 1-2 Southampton – 07/01/1976
Fourth round – Southampton 3-1 Blackpool – 24/01/1976
Fifth round – West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Southampton – 14/02/1976
Fifth round replay – Southampton 4-0 West Bromwich Albion –
Sixth round – Bradford City 0-1 Southampton – 06/03/76
Semi-finals – Southampton 2-0 Crystal Palace – 03/04/76
Final – Manchester United 0-1 Southampton – 10/05/76

Blyth Spartans AFC v Birmingham City - FA Cup Third RoundBlyth Spartans AFC v Birmingham City - FA Cup Third Round

Blyth Spartans have enjoyed some big results in the FA Cup / Stu Forster/GettyImages

This extensive run from the non-league Blyth Spartans included 11 games which would eventually conclude with a fifth round defeat in a replay to Wrexham.

The humble Northumberland outfit overcame fellow minnows Shildon, Crook Town, and Consett to progress through the round before they started upsetting the professionals. Blyth left Chesterfield and Stoke City in their wake before they were finally beaten on home soil by the Welsh club.

FA Cup run

First qualifying round – Shildon 0-3 Blyth Spartans – 17/09/1977
Second qualifying round – Crook Town 1-1 Blyth Spartans – 08/10/1977
Second qualifying round replay – Blyth Spartans 3-0 Crook Town – 11/10/1977
Third qualifying round – Consett 1-4 Blyth Spartans – 22/10/1977
Fourth qualifying round – Bishop Auckland 0-1 Blyth Spartans – 05/11/1977
First round – Blyth Spartans 1-0 Burscough – 26/11/1977
Second round – Blyth Spartans 1-0 Chesterfield – 17/12/1977
Third round – Blyth Spartans 1-0 Enfield – 07/01/1977
Fourth round – Stoke City 2-3 Blyth Spartans – 06/02/1978
Fifth round – Wrexham 1-1 Blyth Spartans – 18/02/1978
Fifth round replay – Blyth Spartans 1-2 Wrexham – 27/02/1978

FA Cup Final 1980 West Ham v ArsenalFA Cup Final 1980 West Ham v Arsenal

West Ham beat Arsenal in the 1980 final / David Ashdown/GettyImages

West Ham are the last team to date to win the FA Cup while outside of the top division.

Trevor Brooking went down in Hammers folklore for two goals in the 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the final, making it their third FA Cup triumph after former successes in 1964 and 1975.

FA Cup run

Third round – West Bromwich Albion 1-1 West Ham United – 05/01/1980
Third round replay – West Ham United 2-1 West Bromwich Albion – 08/01/1980
Fourth round – Leyton Orient 2-3 West Ham United – 26/01/1980
Fifth round – West Ham United 2-0 Swansea City – 16/02/1980
Sixth round – West Ham United 1-0 Grimsby Town – 08/03/1980
Semi-finals – Everton 1-1 West Ham United – 12/04/1980
Semi-final replay – West Ham United 2-1 Everton – 16/04/1980
Final – West Ham United 1-0 Arsenal – 10/05/1980

Harry RedknappHarry Redknapp

Redknapp was in charge when Bournemouth beat Man Utd in 1984 / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Bournemouth may only have reached the fourth round of the 1983/84 FA Cup, but one particular result made it a historic year. The Cherries finished 17th in the Third Division this season, but after beating Walsall and Windsor & Eton (thanks to a replay), they were drawn to face Manchester United.

They were the holders of the FA Cup and operating at the top end of the First Division, but were beaten 2-0 on the south coast by lowly Bournemouth. Middlesbrough did what Man Utd couldn’t in the fourth round and knocked Bournemouth out.

FA Cup run

First round – Bournemouth 4-0 Walsall – 19/11/1983
Second round – Windsor & Eton 0-0 Bournemouth – 13/12/1983
Second round replay – Bournemouth 2-0 Windsor & Eton – 19/12/1983
Third round – Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United – 07/01/1984
Fourth round – Middlesbrough 2-0 Bournemouth – 31/01/1984

Lincoln City v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League OneLincoln City v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League One

York enjoyed a great run in 1984/85 / Pete Norton/GettyImages

York loved a cup run in the 80s, and twice they faced England’s dominant force of the time, Liverpool, who brought their journey to an end on both occasions.

Their 1984/85 peaked in the fourth round when they downed the mighty Arsenal 1-0 on home soil to set up a clash with the Reds. Ian Rush opened the scoring in vintage Rush fashion, but a Ricky Sbragia equaliser earned City a replay.

At Anfield, however, Liverpool’s brilliance showed as they waltzed to a 7-0 win.

FA Cup run

First round – York City 2-0 Newcastle Blue Star – 17/11/1984
Second round – Hartlepool United 0-2 York City – 08/12/1984
Third round – York City 3-0 Walsall – 05/01/1985
Fourth round – York City 1-0 Arsenal – 26/01/1985
Fifth round – York City 1-1 Liverpool – 16/02/1985
Fifth round replay – Liverpool 7-0 York City – 20/02/1985

SOCCER - Pre-season friendly - AFC Telford United v Wolverhampton Wanderers XISOCCER - Pre-season friendly - AFC Telford United v Wolverhampton Wanderers XI

The now defunct Telford United played their home games at New Bucks Head / Matthew Ashton/GettyImages

Telford United were one of only four non-league teams at this stage to have reached the fifth round of the FA Cup since World War Two. They beat teams above them in the ladder such as Lincoln, Bradford, Preston and Darlington.

They then had to face Everton in the last 16 and that seemed to be a step too far for the Shropshire team. They were beaten 3-0 in a match they were never expected to win, but it remains one of the great FA Cup runs by a non-league side.

FA Cup run

First round – Lincoln City 1-1 Telford United – 17/11/1984
First round replay – Telford United 2-1 Lincoln City – 20/11/1984
Second round – Preston North End 1-4 Telford United – 08/12/1984
Third round – Telford United 2-1 Bradford City – 05/01/1985
Fourth round – Darlington 1-1 Telford United – 29/01/1985
Fourth round replay – Telford United 4-0 Darlington – 04/02/1985
Fifth round – Everton 3-0 Telford United – 16/02/1985

Lawrie Sanchez, Dave BeasantLawrie Sanchez, Dave Beasant

Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang were victorious / David Cannon/GettyImages

You simply can’t discuss FA Cup underdogs without mentioned the Crazy Gang.

The infamous Wimbledon outfit thrust themselves into footballing folklore when they won the 1988 FA Cup by beating Liverpool in the final. Wimbledon’s run wasn’t laden with giant-killings, but they more than made up for it in the showpiece event.

The agricultural Dons led at half-time thanks to a looping Lawrie Sanchez header, with the Reds unnerved by their opponents’ fairly brutal approach. Liverpool gave as good as they got, however, and John Aldridge spurned a gilt-edge chance to equalise as Dave Beasant saved his penalty. From that moment on, a Wimbledon triumph seemed inevitable and they duly held on to claim the trophy.

FA Cup run

Third round – Wimbledon 4-1 West Bromwich Albion – 09/01/1988
Fourth round – Mansfield Town 1-2 Wimbledon – 30/01/1988
Fifth round – Newcastle United 1-3 Wimbledon – 20/02/1988
Sixth round – Wimbledon 2-1 Watford – 12/03/1988
Semi-finals – Luton Town 1-2 Wimbledon – 09/04/1988
Final – Wimbledon 1-0 Liverpool – 14/05/1988

Nigel Jemson of Shrewsbury Town celebrates scoring with team matesNigel Jemson of Shrewsbury Town celebrates scoring with team mates

Shrewsbury celebrate Jemson’s winner / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Shrewsbury Town’s FA Cup exploits in the 2002/03 season are still fondly remembered by fans in the Shropshire town. The Shrews beat Stafford Rangers and Barrow in the first two rounds, setting up a third-round tie against an Everton side that were fifth in the Premier League. Shrewsbury were seventh from bottom in League One.

David Moyes returned to the Gay Meadow, where he was once a player for Shrewsbury, and saw his side lose 2-1 thanks to Nigel Jemson’s 90th-minute header.

That was as good as it got for Shrewsbury, though, as Chelsea beat them 4-0 in the fourth round.

FA Cup run

First round – Shrewsbury Town 4-0 Stafford Rangers – 16/11/2002
Second round – Shrewsbury Town 3-1 Barrow – 07/12/2002
Third round – Shrewsbury Town 2-1 Everton – 03/01/2003
Fourth round – Shrewsbury Town 0-4 Chelsea – 25/01/2003

Jermaine BeckfordJermaine Beckford

Beckford stunned Old Trafford in 2010 / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Leeds were firmly in their modern age doldrum years in 2010, residing in League One a little over six years after their infamous relegation from the Premier League.

Man Utd were second in the Premier League by the time their third-round meeting, two points behind Chelsea, while the Whites had beaten Oldham and Kettering to set up a meeting with their fierce rivals.

Jermaine Beckford scored the winner at Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson slammed his side’s “shocking performance” as well as a perceived lack of injury time, labelling the five added minutes “an insult to the game”.

Beckford was the hero again in the next round, although his goals weren’t enough to send United into the fifth round. A brace at Tottenham, including a 96th-minute equaliser from the penalty spot, ensured a replay, but Spurs showed their class as Jermain Defoe’s hat-trick sent them through.

FA Cup run

First round – Oldham Athletic 0-2 Leeds United – 07/11/2009
Second round – Kettering Town 1-1 Leeds United – 29/11/2009
Second round replay – Leeds United 5-1 Kettering Town (AET) – 08/12/2009
Third round – Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United – 03/01/2010
Fourth round – Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Leeds United – 23/01/2010
Fourth round replay – Leeds United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur – 03/02/2010

Pablo MillsPablo Mills

Crawley reached the fifth round in 2011 / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Crawley’s 2010/11 season was one for the ages, scooping promotion to the Football League for the first time in the club’s history while reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup.

After squeezing through the fourth qualifying round before beating Guiseley, Crawley beat higher league opposition in Swindon, Derby and Torquay United.

They were the lowest-ranked side in the fifth-round draw and hopes of further progression were effectively ended when Steve Evans’ side were gifted a glamour tie at Old Trafford. Wes Brown’s goal proved the difference as one set of Red Devils beat the other.

FA Cup run

Fourth qualifying round – Newport County 0-1 Crawley Town – 23/10/2010
First round – Guiseley 0-1 Crawley Town – 06/11/2010
Second round – Crawley Town 1-1 Swindon Town – 26/11/2010
Second round replay – Swindon Town 2-3 Crawley Town (AET) – 07/12/2010
Third round – Crawley Town 2-1 Derby County – 10/01/2011
Fourth round – Torquay United 0-1 Crawley Town – 29/01/2011
Fifth round – Manchester United 1-0 Crawley Town – 19/02/2011

Norwich City v Luton Town - FA Cup Fourth RoundNorwich City v Luton Town - FA Cup Fourth Round

Luton enjoyed a historic run in 2012/13 / Jan Kruger/GettyImages

Luton Town are more renowned these days for the majestic xG numbers Nathan Jones put up before joining Southampton for an ever-so-brief spell with the Saints.

Starting their run in October, then-Conference Premier side Town made it to the fifth round aided by victories over Nuneaton Town and Dorchester. They then won at Championship Wolves before becoming the first ever non-league team to beat Premier League opponent in the FA Cup by defeating Norwich 1-0.

FA Cup run

First round – Luton Town 1-1 Nuneaton – 03/11/2012
First round replay – Nuneaton 0-2 Luton Town – 13/11/2012
Second round – Luton Town 2-1 Dorchester – 01/12/2012
Third round – Luton Town 1-0 Wolves – 05/01/2013
Fourth round – Norwich City 0-1 Luton Town – 26/01/2013
Fifth round – Luton Town 0-3 Millwall – 16/02/2013

Roberto Martinez, Ben WatsonRoberto Martinez, Ben Watson

Watson’s header made him a Wigan legend / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Wigan Athletic remain the only team to win the FA Cup and be relegated from the Premier League in the same season. They haven’t been seen in the tip flight since, but that doesn’t cheapen the legendary status now attached to Ben Watson, Roberto Martinez and countless other Latics heroes.

They were gifted ties against weak opposition before they stunned David Moyes’ Everton in the sixth round, setting up a semi-final against Millwall where goals from Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman were enough for a 2-0 win.

Manchester City were heavy favourites in the Wembley final but Wigan held firm before substitute Watson leapt highest to head in a corner, making the Latics the 43rd team to win the FA Cup.

FA Cup run

Third round – Wigan Athletic 1-1 Bournemouth – 05/01/2013
Third round replay – Bournemouth 0-1 Wigan Athletic – 15/01/2013
Fourth round – Macclesfield Town 0-1 Wigan Athletic – 26/01/2013
Fifth round – Huddersfield Town 1-4 Wigan Athletic – 17/02/2013
Sixth round – Everton 0-3 Wigan Athletic – 09/03/2013
Semi-finals – Millwall 0-2 Wigan Athletic – 13/04/2013
Final – Manchester City 0-1 Wigan Athletic – 11/05/2013

Wayne ShawWayne Shaw

Remember this guy? / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Sutton United were struggling to make much of a splash in the National League in 2016/17, but an FA Cup run opened up new possibilities and dreams for fans of the Yellows.

Wins came against Forest Green Rovers, Dartford, Cheltenham and Wimbledon before they dumped out Championship outfit Leeds with a 1-0 home victory.

In the end, a fifth-round clash with Arsenal proved one step too far as they were eliminated with a 2-0 defeat, but not before stout reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw wolfed down a pie on camera after a bookmakers offered 8-1 odds.

The magic of the cup, eh?

FA Cup run

Fourth qualifying round – Sutton United 2-1 Forest Green Rovers – 15/10/2016
First round – Dartford 3-6 Sutton United – 05/11/2016
Second round – Sutton United 2-1 Cheltenham Town – 03/12/2016
Third round – Sutton United 0-0 Wimbledon – 07/01/2017
Third round replay – Wimbledon 1-3 Sutton United – 17/01/2017
Fourth round – Sutton United 1-0 Leeds United – 29/01/2017
Fifth round – Sutton United 0-2 Arsenal – 20/02/2017

Burnley v Lincoln City - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth RoundBurnley v Lincoln City - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round

Lincoln City stunned Burnley in 2017 / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

As far as non-league FA Cup runs go, this effort from Lincoln City was the best since 1914 as they reached the quarter-finals.

After disposing of Altrincham in the first round, the Imps knocked out Oldham, Ipswich and Brighton – all of whom were higher in the English league pyramid – before claiming a Premier League scalp in the form of Burnley.

A trip to eventual cup winners Arsenal signalled the end of Lincoln’s journey as they were thrashed 5-0, holding out for 45 minutes before the goals streamed in.

FA Cup run

First round – Lincoln City 2-1 Altrincham – 05/11/2016
Second round – Lincoln City 3-2 Oldham Athletic – 05/12/2016
Third round – Ipswich Town 2-2 Lincoln City – 07/01/2017
Third round replay – Lincoln City 1-0 Ipswich Town – 17/01/2017
Fourth round – Lincoln City 3-1 Brighton – 28/01/2017
Fifth round – Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City – 18/02/2017
Quarter-finals – Arsenal 5-0 Lincoln City – 11/03/2017


Crawley shocked Leeds in 2021 / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

Cupsets are much better in front of packed-out crowds, though Crawley Town weren’t lucky enough to have fans in attendance during the Covid 19-affected 2020/21 season.

Tight wins over Torquay United and Wimbledon sent the Red Devils into the third round, where a home tie with Leeds awaited them. A brilliant second-half performance saw Nick Tsaroulla, Ashley Nadesan and Jordan Tunnicliffe strike and eliminate United at the third round for the fourth successive season.

It was so comfortable that TV personality Mark Wright, of The Only Way Is Essex fame, made a late Crawley debut having signed for the club on non-contract terms.

FA Cup run

First round – Torquay United 5-6 Crawley Town (AET) – 08/11/2020
Second round – Wimbledon 1-2 Crawley Town – 29/11/2020
Third round – Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United – 10/01/2021
Fourth round – Bournemouth 2-1 Crawley Town – 26/01/2021

Kasper SchmeichelKasper Schmeichel

Scenes of chaos unfolded during Leicester’s celebrations / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Wigan aside, Leicester City are the main outliers of recent FA Cup winners.

The Foxes enjoyed their crowning Wembley moment in 2021 thanks to a glorious second-half screamer from Youri Tielemans, leaving Chelsea defeated in the final.

Brendan Rodgers’ side had previously toppled Manchester United in the quarter-finals before edging past Southampton in the last four.

FA Cup run

Third round – Stoke City 0-4 Leicester City – 09/01/2021
Fourth round – Brentford 1-3 Leicester City – 24/01/2021
Fifth round – Leicester City 1-0 Brighton – 10/02/2021
Quarter-finals – Leicester City 3-1 Manchester United – 21/03/2021
Semi-finals – Leicester City 1-0 Southampton – 18/04/2021
Final – Chelsea 0-1 Leicester City – 15/05/2021

Kane SmithKane Smith

Boreham Wood caused a massive shock at Bournemouth / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

Boreham Wood knocked out a Football League team in the FA Cup for just the fourth time in their history when they shocked Bournemouth in the fourth round in 2022.

The Cherries, who were successfully plotting promotion to the Premier League, couldn’t break down the visiting minnows despite having 82% of the ball.

They made Everton work hard in the next round but the gap in quality between the two sides – separated by 78 league places at the time – eventually told with a hard-fought 2-0 win for the Toffees.

FA Cup run

Fourth qualifying round – Barnet 0-1 Boreham Wood – 16/10/2021
First round – Boreham Wood 2-0 Eastleigh– 06/11/2021
Second round – Boreham Wood 4-0 St Albans City – 06/12/2021
Third round – Boreham Wood 2-0 Wimbledon – 08/01/2022
Fourth round – Bournemouth 0-1 Boreham Wood – 06/02/2022
Fifth round – Everton 2-0 Boreham Wood – 02/03/2022

Anthony Driscoll-GlennonAnthony Driscoll-Glennon

Grimsby enjoyed a famous night as they dumped out Southampton / Alex Davidson/GettyImages

Grimsby Town reached the last eight of the 2022/23 FA Cup with a string of memorable victories. After besting the likes of Plymouth, Cambridge United, Burton and Luton, the Mariners went to Southampton and won 2-1 thanks to two penalties from Gavan Holohan.

The League Two side made another trip to the south coast in the quarter finals after being drawn away at Brighton, but that outing proved less fruitful as they were sent packing with a 5-0 defeat.

FA Cup run

First round – Grimsby Town 5-1 Plymouth Argyle – 05/11/2022
Second round – Cambridge United 1-2 Grimsby Town – 26/11/2022
Third round – Grimsby Town 1-0 Burton Albion – 07/01/2023
Fourth round – Luton Town 2-2 Grimsby Town – 28/01/2023
Fourth round replay – Grimsby Town 3-0 Luton Town – 07/02/2023
Fifth round – Southampton 1-2 Grimsby Town – 01/03/2023
Quarter-finals – Brighton 5-0 Grimsby Town – 19/03/2023


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