Minor league sides Lincoln City and Sutton United produced a welcome shot in the arm for FA Cup romantics with surprise wins over two former holders in third-round replays on Tuesday.
Lincoln’s snug Sincil Bank stadium was heaving for the arrival of 1978 winners Ipswich Town, and the National League (fifth-tier) leaders rewarded a vociferous home support with a deserved 1-0 victory secured in stoppage time by Nathan Arnold.
Sutton, who famously put out then top-flight Coventry City in 1989, recovered to beat 10-man AFC Wimbledon 3-1 away.
Tom Elliott gave 1988 winners Wimbledon, back up to League One (third-tier) after the club reformed in the wake of being swallowed up by MK Dons, an early lead.
But Paul Robinson’s sending off meant the hosts had to play with 10 men for 75 minutes and they finally caved in as goals from Roarie Deacon, Maxime Biamou and Dean Fitchett earned Sutton a plum home tie with Leeds United.
Lincoln will host Brighton & Hove Albion in round four – their first journey to that stage since former England manager Graham Taylor, whose sudden death last week was marked by a moving pre-match tribute, took them there in 1976.
Arnold showed tremendous composure to round Ipswich’s Dean Gerken, who had been the far busier of the two goalkeepers, and slot home to spark joyous scenes amongst the fans who had performed a minute’s applause for Taylor before kickoff.
“The way they’ve worked day in day out is incredible. You can have great days like this if you put so much work in like we have done,” Lincoln’s young manager Danny Cowley, assisted by his brother Nicky, said after the win over second-tier Ipswich.
“It’s a great night and an amazing feeling for the club.”
Arnold paid tribute to Lincoln’s manager who is on track to guide the club back to the Football League.
“It’s not coincidence that there’s been success here since the Cowleys came to the club, they breathe football,” he said.
Sam Allardyce finally enjoyed a win as Crystal Palace manager – at the sixth attempt – after Christian Benteke came off the bench to score a late double against Allardyce’s old club Bolton Wanderers who have fallen to the third tier.
Benteke netted in the 68th and 77th minutes to turn the tie around and set up a home clash with Manchester City after James Henry gave Bolton the lead after the break at Selhurst Park.
In other replays, Burnley beat fellow Premier League side Sunderland to set up a fourth-round tie against Bristol City, who won 1-0 at Fleetwood. Fourth-tier Blackpool beat Barnsley 2-1 away to set up a derby clash with Blackburn Rovers.
Sutton made sure Lincoln did not grab all the headlines with a stirring performance in south London.
Deacon’s clever turn and sublime shot brought Sutton level with 15 minutes to go at Kingsmeadow before a breakaway saw Biamou tap the ball home from close range in the 90th minute. Fitchett scored with the last kick of the game.
Sutton manager Paul Doswell said before kickoff that victory would be worth 500,000 pounds ($619,750.00).