Our top FA Cup upsets

There is no competition that captures the imagination as much as the FA Cup, which is renowned for its ability to house upsets nearly every season.

Shrewsbury Town pulled off a miraculous second-half display on Sunday to earn a replay with world champions Liverpool at Anfield.

Few expected the Shrews to comeback from two goals down when Donald Love slotted into his own net just after the restart but perhaps that is what they call ‘the magic of the cup’.

Despite the Shropshire side being unable to complete the turnaround late on, there are plenty of sides that have caused proper ‘cupsets’ down the years.

Here’s some of the most memorable FA Cup upsets to wet your appetite for next week’s replays:

The Crazy Gang

Liverpool 0 – 1 Wimbledon

Back in 1988 an underdog side including the likes of Vinnie Jones, Dennis Wise and John Fashanu stunned newly-crowned league champions Liverpool to win their only-ever FA Cup.

Captain Dave Beasant saved the first-ever FA Cup final penalty after teammate Lawrie Sanchez had put the Wombles ahead against Kenny Dalglish’s team.

Toon Army Sunk by Minnows

Hereford United 2 – 1 Newcastle United

Further proof that replays shouldn’t be scrapped with this one.

Hereford took Newcastle to a replay in 1972 after a 2-2 draw at St. James Park and the Southern League side did the unthinkable.

The fifth-tier club’s pitch meant that the third-round replay was postponed three times and eventually played on the day allotted for fourth-round matches.

A late Newcastle goal looked to have seen off signs of an upset but part-time carpenter Ronnie Radford hit a 30-yard screamer to take the tie into extra-time.

Ricky George hit the winner on 103 minutes to spark the second pitch invasion of the night and create memories those fans will never forget.

Bantams Stun Special One

Chelsea 2 – 4 Bradford City

Jose Mourinho said a loss to the League One side would be “a disgrace” ahead of the fourth-round match at Stamford Bridge.


Ex-Chelsea academy prospect Filipe Morais levelled the scores at 2-2 after the break before the third-tier side scored two goals without any reply from the London club who sat 49 places above them in the football pyramid.

Andy Halliday and Mark Yeates sent the Bradford fans into a state of delirium as they made a side containing the likes of Didier Drogba, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar all speechless.

1-0, Up The Tics

Manchester City 0-1 Wigan Athletic

Okay, the phrase isn’t exactly right, but it’s fair to say this FA Cup upset is probably what Wigan Athletic are best known for in recent times.

Wigan, having been relegated from the Premier League just weeks earlier, found themselves shocking the nation in the 2013 FA Cup final.

Just the single Ben Watson goal, a header from a 91st minute corner, won it for the Latics.

Even the Man City side, a year on from when they historically lifted their first Premier League trophy, thought the match was heading for an additional 30 minutes of action.

But up steps, up leaps in fact, the ginger skinhead, to make all those Wigan fans’ woes of the season just gone, disappear in an instant.  

Beckford settles the war of the Roses

Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United

Down in League One, Leeds were out in the cold and those Premier League glory days were just a distant memory (they still are!).

However, this trip to Old Trafford in 2010, their first encounter with the Red Devils in six years, gave them a momentary lapse from their third-tier struggles.

Sharp-shooter Jermaine Beckford stunned a Manchester United side littered with class, Neville, Rooney and Berbatov were some of the stars on show.

The forward scored the only goal of the game when he met a through-ball and slid it under Tomas Kuszczak on 19 minutes.

The Whites held on for the rest of the game to earn a famous win over their fierce rivals from across the Pennines.

By Pete Trifunovic

Photo credit: Paul Gillett

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