With Wigan’s defeat of Manchester City reigniting the giant-killing aspect of the tournament, Goal Singapore takes a look at the most surprising victories in the last 10 years
After beating the Manchester giants last year in the FA Cup final, the Latics repeated the feat again this season in the quarter-finals when they convincingly beat the hosts 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Jordi Gomez scored from the spot after Martin Demichelis, not for the first time, conceded a penalty after a clumsy challenge on Marc-Antoine Fortune. They doubled their lead just after the restart thanks to James Perch and despite Samir Nasri reducing the arrears, it was too little too late as Wigan ensured lightning struck twice.
Yet again, the result breathed fresh air into the giant killing aspect of the FA Cup, a trademark fans have grown to love about the competition.
While there have been many giant killings over the years since the FA Cup started over a century ago, we take a look at the best FA Cup upsets over the last decade in this week’s Goal Singapore Top 5.
|5. Stevenage FC 3-1 Newcastle United
FA Cup third round, 2011
|Starting off the list is Stevenage’s famous victory over Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United in the third round of the FA Cup in 2011.
After a goal-less first half, Stacy Long’s deflected strike and Michael Bostwick’s long-range shot gave the hosts a 2-0 advantage. Despite Joey Barton pulling a goal back in added time, it was too little too late as Stevenage ran out deserved winners, with Peter Winn ensuring his team regained their two-goal margin by slotting home right at the death to prompt a pitch invasion after the final whistle.
The tie was a rematch between the two teams that initially faced each other in a fiery encounter in 1998 where Newcastle, who were led by the legendary Alan Shearer, could only manage a 1-1 draw at Broadhall Way. Stevenage tried to eliminate the Magpies at St. James’ Park in the reply encounter, but were unfortunate to lose 2-1 on that occasion.
Fast-forward 13 years, the result was sweet revenge for the team plying its trade in the third tier in the English football league system. It was also the first time they had ever beaten a team who were playing in the top flight.
|4. Nottingham Forest 5-0 West Ham United
FA Cup third round, 2014
|Premier League side West Ham United exited the third round of the FA Cup in the most humiliating fashion after being thrashed by Championship side Nottingham Forest earlier this year.
The Hammers were struggling during the turn of the year and Sam Allardyce, who was under immense pressure in that period after a string of abysmal results, decided to prioritise the Premier League and the Capital One Cup semi-final.
Forest didn’t need a second invitation and exploited the Hammers’ vulnerability, crushing the highly inexperienced and youthful team in the most embarrassing fashion.
The home side, who are chasing Championship promotion this season, should rue the fact that the score margin was not any bigger as they missed a host of chances despite Djamel Abdoun converting an early penalty. Still, a quick-fire second half hat trick by Jamie Paterson, along with Andy Reid's strike in stoppage time, completed the rout in sensational fashion.
|3. Manchester United 0-0 Exeter City
FA Cup third round, 2005
|You wouldn’t exactly call a draw result a “giant-killer.” But such was the extent of Conference club Exeter City’s solid performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford, it can be considered a major upset as well.
United fielded a relatively weakened first eleven but the likes of Phil Neville, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes all started the match. Undeterred by the big names, the visitors somehow managed to hold the reigning FA Cup champions and could have even snuck in a winner had United fan Dean Moxey scored after the ball reached him from a goalmouth scramble, only for him to shoot wide.
Sir Alex Ferguson was so impressed with the performance of Alex Inglethorpe’s team that he congratulated the team after the final whistle.
Exeter did lose 2-0 in the replay, but the receipts and media coverage from the two matches meant the club managed to clear their debt and rebuild their financial situation.
|2. Barnsley 1-0 Chelsea
FA Cup quarter-final, 2008
|Having knocked out Liverpool in the previous round, Barnsley were looking to claim a second big scalp of their FA Cup run against the might of Chelsea.
And that’s exactly what they did as they carried the spirit of the FA Cup with them, eliminating the holders in a 1-0 victory in front of their home fans.
Chelsea fielded a full-strength team, with the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Michael Ballack and John Terry all in the starting line-up. But it was Nigerian Kayode Odejayi who starred in the match, scoring the only goal of the game just after the hour mark.
It was Odejayi's first goal in almost 30 appearances for Barnsley and the first time the club had reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup since 1912. For then-Chelsea coach Avram Grant, well, the same old story on how money doesn’t guarantee success raged on.
|1. Wigan 1-0 Manchester City
FA Cup final, 2013
|Rounding off the list, we go back to where we begin - with arguably the biggest FA Cup upset in the last decade.
Wigan Athletic shocked Manchester City and the entire footballing world as they overcame the overwhelming favourites to lift the FA Cup trophy.
The victory was especially significant, as it was the club’s first major trophy in their 81-year history. City dominated the match as expected, but were lackluster and looked like a side with all the pressure in the world.
As for Wigan, they managed to comfortably hang on for most periods without conceding before Pablo Zabaleta’s sending off six minutes from time gave them a sudden attacking impetus. True enough, they scored the only goal of the match with their one and only shot on target at the very last minute of the game as Ben Watson headed home from a corner.
While Roberto Martinez achieved legendary status with the club, it is interesting to note that no top-flight club has ever won the FA Cup and been relegated in the same season. Until Wigan, of course.