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The Greatest FA Cup Upsets of All Time

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The enigma of the FA cup lies in its unpredictability - on any given day a club in its ashes can upset the very best of the Premier League. Be it Newcastle United, who was the casualty at the hand of the non-league division club Hereford United in 1972 or the second division Sunderland, who had already defeated Manchester United and Arsenal, overcoming Leeds in the 197 final or Barnsley knocking out both Liverpool and Chelsea in the 2008 season, overs the years, there have been many such instances when a high-flying club was brought to an abrupt landing by teams that had little recognition. It is this feature of the cup that attracts millions of viewers all around the world. Here's a look back at the upsets that the FA cup has witnessed in the recent past.


Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United
FA Cup third round, 1984
Dean Court was the setting of this dramatic encounter in which a buoyant Bournemouth, a Third Division club, then managed by Harry Redknapp brought United's love affair with the Cup to end that year. It wasn't the most attractive tie but the home team displayed great determination as they got the better of the Red Devils. Goals by Milton Graham and Ian Thompson ensured the early exit of the top division club.

"We don't get many days like this in Bournemouth," said an ecstatic Cherries' manager Harry Redknapp after the match.

Liverpool 0-1 Wimbledon
FA Cup final, 1988
The "crazy gang" would have been excused if they came into the match thinking they were in it just to make up numbers, given the reputation of the mighty Anfield outfit. It was Don Howe, manager of Wimbledon back then who plotted the greatest tactical triumphs as the Red's were never allowed to settle. Wimbledon took the lead thanks to a Lawrie Sanchez looping header. But it was the heroics of their captain and goal-keeper Dave Beasant, who saved John Aldridge's penalty on the hour mark that ensured them the famous win.

Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal
FA Cup third round, 1992
It was 2nd in the Premiership against 24th in the Third Division. The Gunners had taken the lead just before half time courtesy of Alan Smith and were just 10 minutes from securing their passage to the fourth round. A 25-yard scorcher by former Manchester United man Mickey Thomas and a goal from young Steve Watkin provided a great upset, as the reigning Champions bowed out to a lower division Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground.

After a memorable victory for the then bottom most club in the Third Division, Gordon Davies of Wrexham said: "They're big stars and you can see on the television that when things don't go their way they tend to get a bit rattled." But the luck, eventually ran out for the Welsh Club as they bowed out in the next round to West Ham 1 - 0 in the replay after the first game had finished 2 - 2 .

Barnsley 1-0 Chelsea
FA Cup quarter final, 2008
Barnsley continued their great run in the FA cup by progressing to the semi final by beating the mighty Chelsea in their quarter final clash. Barnsley had already beaten another big side, Liverpool in round 4 the same season and their victory over Chelsea proved that they were deserved semi finalists. Nigerian Kayode Odejayi scored the only goal of the game in this famous win for Barnsley.

Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United
FA Cup third round, 2009

Second division side Leeds United turned over Manchester United and that too at Old Trafford. The fact that this was Sir Alex Ferguson's first defeat in the 3rd round of this competition shows the magnitude of this giant killing act. Jermaine Beckford scored the only goal of the game in the 19th minute. The occasion took on a greater importance as Leeds used to compete with United for top honours in England and Europe just a few years back, before financial irregularities led to them getting relegated twice.


File Photograph Copyright: Ryu Voelkel