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10 non-league clubs to reach the FA Cup fifth round

| 07.02.2022

The best FA Cup runs by non-league clubs

Boreham Wood will take on Everton next month as only the 10th of the non-league clubs to reach the FA Cup fifth round in the post-war era.

Luke Garrard’s side, fifth in the Vanarama National League, caused a major shock by dumping out Championship high-flyers Bournemouth on Sunday.

Here we look at all the teams from outside the top four tiers to reach the last 16.

Colchester, 1947-48

United, then of the Southern League, won five ties to reach the fifth round in the third season after English football resumed following World War II.

Having beaten Chelmsford, Banbury Spencer, Wrexham, Huddersfield and Bradford Park Avenue, they lost 5-0 to the Blackpool team of Stan Mortensen and Stanley Matthews, who went on to reach the final.

Yeovil, 1948-49

The next year saw the Glovers also advance from the fourth qualifying round to the last 16.

They saw off fellow non-league clubs Lovell’s Athletic, Romford and Weymouth before wins over Second Division Bury and First Division Sunderland, but defending champions and eventual semi-finalists Manchester United beat them 8-0.

Blyth Spartans, 1977-78

Almost 30 years later, the self-styled “most famous non-league football team” began to write their FA Cup history, starting in the first qualifying round and playing 11 games including a replay against Crook Town.

They finally succumbed to Wrexham after controversially being taken to a replay – played in front of over 42,000 at Newcastle’s St James’ Park – and would go on to reach the main draw several more times, including round three in both 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Telford, 1984-85

The fifth-tier side saw off Third Division opposition in Lincoln, via a replay, Preston and Bradford and fourth-tier Darlington before – like Boreham Wood this season – being drawn away to Everton in round five.

They went down 3-0 to goals from internationals Peter Reid, Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven.

Kidderminster, 1993-94

The Harriers, who narrowly missed out on joining Wood in this season’s fifth round as West Ham scored late in both normal time and extra-time, achieved the feat in 1994.

Graham Allner led his team to wins over Chesham, Kettering, Woking, second-tier Birmingham and then Preston before a 1-0 defeat to the Hammers with Lee Chapman on the scoresheet.

Crawley, 2010-11

The remaining five non-league clubs to advance to this stage have come since 2010, starting when Crawley beat teams including Derby and Swindon before losing 1-0 to Manchester United.

Striker Matt Tubbs led the way and Sergio Torres scored a last-minute winner against the Rams before Wes Brown’s goal ended the fun.

Luton, 2012-13

The Hatters kick-started their rise back up the pyramid with an impressive run including the scalps of Wolves, then in the Championship, and Premier League Norwich as first Alex Lawless and then Scott Rendell made themselves heroes.

They were eventually beaten 3-0 by another Championship side, Millwall.

Lincoln, 2016-17

The Imps are the only non-league club to reach a post-war FA Cup quarter-final, beating Premier League Burnley in the fifth round thanks to defender Sean Raggett’s late winner – having previously accounted for Championship pair Ipswich and Brighton.

Danny Cowley’s men eventually lost 5-0 to Arsenal.

Sutton, 2016-17

The Gunners also ended the run of the other of the non-league clubs in the fifth round of that season’s remarkable competition.

Paul Doswell’s side upset Championship Leeds in round four before going down 2-0 to the eventual cup winners in a game remembered for reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw’s pie-eating antics on the bench, later revealed to be a betting stunt.

Boreham Wood, 2021-22

Mark Ricketts’ winner against Bournemouth saw Wood join the list, having already disposed of AFC Wimbledon in the previous round.

Their fifth-round opponents looked rejuvenated in their first game under Frank Lampard’s management, thumping Brentford 4-1.

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Andrew McDermott