With the majority of the lower league teams gone from the competition, much to the delight of some of the so-called big boys, smaller clubs are still no stranger to this stage of the competition. However, from time to time a big upset can leave the big boys wishing they had never met.
For FA Cup shocks of round three and four please click on the following links.
Famous Shocks Of The FA Cup Fifth Round
Leyton Orient 3-2 Chelsea, 1972
With Orient near the bottom of Division Two and Chelsea fielding the likes of Ron “Chopper” Harris, Peter Osgood and Peter “The Cat” Bonnetti, the team who had won the cup just two years prior were overwhelming favourites to progress.
When David Webb and Peter Osgood put The Pensioners two-nil up at a packed Brisbane Road, no one was too surprised. But Orient were in no mood to give up the fight just yet. Phil Hoadley struck from 25 yards out before half-time to give the team and their supporters a glimmer of hope going into the second half.
Mickey Bullock equalised to set off a mini pitch invasion and the magic of the FA Cup was now in full swing. Chelsea were now on the ropes and Orient were now looking for an unlikely victory. It was a victory they didn’t have to look long for as a defensive mix up allowed Barrie Fairbrother to take advantage and seal victory for Orient and complete one of the great FA Cup comebacks.
Colchester United 3-2 Leeds United, 1971
When the draw was made, Colchester were seriously thinking about requesting the tie to be switched to Elland Road, Leeds. The thought process was that seeing as The U’s were very likely to be beat, they may as well be beat at a bigger ground and make more money from the game. Thankfully they thought again and sixteen thousand crammed into Colchester’s Layer Road ground to see Don Revie’s conquering Leeds United side and hopefully see their side give their mighty opponents a good game.
With several of Colchester’s players over the age of 30, some in the media unkindly labelled the side “Grandad’s Army”. Little things like this tend to spur on the underdog and this was no different. Leading up to the match, Colchester manager Dick Graham sent one of his injured players to watch Leeds several times in a hope he would pick up something that they could exploit. It proved to be a masterstroke.
Colchester targeted Leeds United’s goalkeeper Gary Sprake and crosses and long high balls into the box were to be the tactic. The Fourth Division side never let their star-studded opponents settle during the first half and by the break they were unbelievably but deservedly two-nil up thanks to two goals by veteran striker Ray Crawford. It got even better much to the delight of the home supporters when ten minutes into the second half they went three goals up after Dave Simmons scored with a header after a cross into the box caused Leeds all sorts of problems.
With 35 minutes left to play, few would argue that the game was effectively over. However, Colchester weren’t playing a fellow fourth division side, they were playing a top Division One side packed with internationals who weren’t about to give up.
On 60 minutes, Norman Hunter headed in from a corner to reduce the deficit and give themselves a chance. Leeds now piled on the pressure and with 17 minutes left they pulled another goal back through Johnny Giles. The ball and Leeds were permanently camped in the home side’s half and surely it was only a matter of time until the equaliser came. But after a brilliant backs-to-the-wall performance Colchester somehow hung on to record one of the most famous shocks the FA Cup has seen.
Liverpool 1-2 Barnsley, 2008
Even though Liverpool had struggled in the cup so far, just beating Luton and non-league Havant and Waterlooville, they were still expected to dispatch a Barnsley side struggling at the wrong end of the Championship.
Liverpool, with one eye on their European game against Inter a few days later, left out the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres but still had many internationals in their side. Barnsley, backed by 7000 travelling fans, couldn’t afford luxuries like Liverpool and due to injuries they even had to sign goalkeeper Luke Steele on an emergency loan just two days before the game.
Liverpool began the game with no intention of letting a shock happen in this game and on 32 minutes they took the lead through Dirk Kuyt. However, Barnsley’s on-loan keep Steele was proving to be a thorn in Liverpool’s side. Time and time again he denied the Liverpool attack and Barnsley had him to thank that the scoreline was only 1-0 at half time.
Barnsley were still in the game and there was plenty of fight in them and on 57 minutes they were rewarded when a great cross into the box was met by Stephen Foster, whose header could only be helped into the net by Liverpool’s reserve keeper Charles Itandje. The goal sent the travelling supporters wild and with Steele continuing to keep the reds attack at bay, the men from Yorkshire had chances at the other end too. But as the game wore on it looked like Liverpool would be the only winners, if they could get past goalkeeper Steele of course. The home side poured forward and only the crossbar and Steele were denying them the winner.
The game looked like it was heading for a replay and Barnsley thoroughly deserved a second game, however, there was still time for one last attack. It came the away team’s way. Brian Howard, a boyhood Liverpool fan and Barnsley captain, found enough space on the edge of the box and struck a superb shot into the bottom corner to send his team through, their fans mad and creating yet another entry for the shocks of the FA Cup list.
Sunderland 3-1 Manchester City, 1973
Even after a 2-2 draw at Maine Road, few outside of Sunderland gave them much hope in the replay at Roker Park. City, with the likes of Rodney Marsh, Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell in their side, were expected to finish the job. Prior to the replay City manager Malcolm Allison announced that “Sunderland have no chance, we’ll murder them in the replay” and Francis Lee said he would forfeit a week’s wages if City failed to progress to the next round. Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe had mainly let City do all the talking but he did promise everyone a night to remember.
City had clearly been rattled in the first game and their big talk was a ploy to disguise the fact that they were clearly worried about their trip to Second Division Sunderland. They may have been better off keeping quiet. Backed by over 51,000 fans, the famous Roker Roar was at its best and City were clearly rattled. Just four minutes into the game, City’s Mike Doyle was booked for an awful challenge on the man who scored Sunderland’s opener in the first game, Billy Hughes.
On 15 minutes the breakthrough came, a flowing Sunderland move ended with the ball at forward Vic Halom’s feet. From the right side of the penalty area, Halom unleashed a right foot drive passed Joe Corrigan in the City goal and into the far side of the goal. The goal is seen by many as the greatest goal seen at the famous old Roker Park ground.
The Black Cats extended their lead eleven minutes later when Billy Hughes drove the ball home from inside the box past a helpless Corrigan. City rallied but could not find a way back into the game before half time. As the second half wore on City began to cause the home side problems and on 53 minutes Francis Lee pulled a goal back after good work from both Colin Bell and Tony Towers. City pressed for an equaliser and came close several times. Sunderland were desperate for another goal to make the game safe and much to the home supporters’ delight that goal came in the 78th minute. Dennis Tueart’s shot was blocked by Corrigan but Hughes was on hand to finish off the move and send the home side into the next round.
Sunderland deserved their victory and maybe after this game, the likes of Malcolm Allison and Francis Lee will have thought a little more before commenting on a game. Sunderland boss Bob Stokoe promised pre-match a night to remember and never was a promise more decisively fulfilled.