Although the third round is still a month away I have decided to honour the achievements of Crawley Town’s achievements encourage all the other potential giantkillers out there by running a series of posts looking back at some of the classic ‘cupsets’ over the years, which I have entitled ‘FA Cup Upsets and Cupsets’.
Despite there seemingly being fewer non-league sides in the hat for the third round than usual Crawley Town kept the giant killing dream alive last night with an extra time away victory against Swindon to set up a tie against Derby County.
This victory should serve as a timely reminder to the Premiership and Championship sides facing lower league opposition in the FA Cup, that these ties are far from the certainties that they appear on paper.
This message is of particular importance to the players in the Premier League this season, as over half of the teams in the Premiership face Championship opposition in the next round.
We will start close to the present day with Barnsley Town’s heroics in 2008.
Barnsley’s 2008 FA Cup Run
Barnsley may have been struggling in the Championship but this did not stop them making it all the way to the semi-finals of the 2008 FA Cup defeating Liverpool and Chelsea along the way.
Liverpool 1 Barnsley 2 – Fifth Round
Liverpool: Itandje, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Benayoun, Lucas (Gerrard 75), Alonso, Babel (Kewell 69), Kuyt, Crouch.
Goals: Kuyt 32.
Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Souza, Foster, Kozluk (Van Homoet 60), Devaney, De Silva, Howard, Leon (Campbell-Ryce 71), Ferenczi, Nardiello (Odejayi 55).
Goals: Foster 57, Howard 90.
Having gone behind twice against non league Havant and Waterlooville Liverpool fans expected an improvement in their fifth round tie at home against the Tykes.
The early signs reassured the Anfield crowd and seemed to point to victory for the Merseyside club, who were ahead at half time courtesy of a Dirk Kuyt goal.
However the second half is what will be remembered in this tie, Stephen Foster drew the Tykes level on 57 minutes and looked to be heading for a replay going into the final few minutes.
After trying to find the word I feel the best way to describe the final few minutes is through the Sky Sports Soccer Saturday Team
Barnsley won the day and the heroes were goalkeeper Luke Steele who made a string of amazing saves and boyhood Liverpool fan Brian Howard who scored the last minute winner in the stadium of his boyhood heroes.
Barnsley 1 Chelsea 0 – Quarter Finals
Barnsley: Steele, Van Homoet, Foster, Souza, Kozluk, Campbell-Ryce, Hassell, Howard, Devaney (Togwell 73), Odejayi (Coulson 80), Ferenczi.
Goal: Odejayi 66
Chelsea: Cudicini, Belletti (Pizarro 74), Terry, Carvalho, Bridge, Essien, Ballack, Malouda (Kalou 62), Wright-Phillips, Anelka, Joe Cole.
Barnsley were not rewarded for their giant killing against Liverpool with a soft quarter-final tie, instead they drew the holders Chelsea.
However in a determined organised display the Tykes once again defied the odds going into half time level against a strong Chelsea side, the main worry being that there most effective striker in the half had not scored since in six months.
However in typical FA Cup folklore fashion it was Odejayi who scored as Barnsley countered following lots of Chelsea pressure early in the second half with twenty five minutes to play.
Despite enormous pressure being put on the Barnsley back line in the last fifteen minutes the Tykes held on with help from a hero of the the two ties goalkeeper Luke Steele to seal their first FA Cup Semi Final since the year the Titanic sank.
Barnsley did not go onto win the competition losing to Cardiff at Wembley, but did get some memories that the fans, the neutral and especially the sides they defeated will remember for generations.
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