Non-league Lincoln and Sutton stun Ipswich and Wimbledon
FA Cup delivers some romance as the last two remaining National League sides triumph in third round replays
Lincoln City 1 Ipswich Town 0
A goal from Nathan Arnold in stoppage time took Lincoln City into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1976. Those were the days when Graham Taylor was in charge and his death last week from a heart attack made Tuesday night's win all the more poignant for the National League side.
"He had a brilliant season here in 75-76 and what he then went on to do at Watford was remarkable," reflected Lincoln manager Danny Cowley of his predecessor. "What he achieved in his career – to go from Lincoln City to England manager – was remarkable."
Cowley's exploits at the helm of the club are also impressive, the former teacher only becoming full-time manager in May last year. "I am massively proud," he said of the result. "There are some people at the top of the game, unfortunately, engulfed by money, and not always good role models for the game we all love. It is nice when you see a group of people work hard and get a result they deserve. This result is for the people."
After twice going ahead but being held to a 2-2 draw at Portman Road ten days ago, Lincoln controlled the replay at Sincil Bank but it wasn't until the first of four additional minutes of stoppage time that Arnold ran on to Adam Marriott's pass and kept his composure to round Ispwich goalkeeper Dean Gerken and score the crucial goal. "What a brilliant finish from Nathan," said Cowley. "Not an easy finish when the whole of Sincil Bank is hoping he sticks it in. It's a great night and an amazing feeling for the club."
Lincoln's reward for beating Ipswich, 59 places above them in the league hierarchy, is a home tie against another Championship side in Brighton. "We need to continue this moment," Cowley told reporters, "I'll let the boys enjoy it but we’ve now got to turn to Dover on Saturday. It's great for the club... it's about moments like this and putting smiles on people's faces. That has been the great thing about this journey we're on."
Meanwhile there was another non-league upset in a third round replay with Sutton United of the National League humbling League One side AFC Wimbledon 3-1 to set up a fourth round tie at home to Leeds.
Despite going a goal down early on, Sutton regrouped in the second-half - taking advantage of Paul Robinson's dismissal - and ran out comfortable winners with goals from Roarie Deacon, Maxime Biamou and Dean Fitchett. "Without being over-emotional about it, we have got a good chance against Leeds on our pitch." said Sutton manager Paul Doswell. "No one likes playing on it apart from us it seems. If they make seven or eight changes against us I think we will have a chance."