The FA Cup gives smaller teams the opportunity to face up against the more well-established teams in the country.
Over the years, this has led to huge upsets and shock results, establishing the FA Cup as one of the most exciting football competitions around.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ‘giant killings’ in The FA Cup’s history…
Oxford United 3-1 Blackburn Rovers
1964 FA Cup Fifth Round
In February 1964, Oxford United were in their second season as a Football League club, having achieved promotion from the Southern League in 1962.
After making their way to the Fifth Round, they played host to Blackburn Rovers, who were then in the First Division (the top tier).
A then-record 21,700 people crammed in at the tiny Manor Ground to watch their minnows play the giants of Blackburn. The Rovers team included England international, Ronnie Clayton, as well as Mike England and Ireland’s Mick McGrath.
United didn’t disappoint, as they did the unthinkable and won the match after two goals from Tony Jones and one from Billy Calder in the dying minutes.
Hereford United 2-1 Newcastle United
1972 FA Cup Third Round (replay)
When non-league Hereford United were drawn against Newcastle, not even the savviest punters gave them a chance of winning.
Amazingly, Hereford pulled off a 2-2 draw at St James’ Park to force a home replay at Edgar Street. Bad weather caused the replay to be postponed three times, and the match finally took place on February 5th, on a pitch that had seen better days.
Newcastle striker and top scorer, Malcom MacDonald, spent the week leading up to the rematch boasting of his desire to score 10 goals against the Bulls and beat the record for number of goals in an FA Cup tie.
The match went without a goal until MacDonald did finally put the Magpies ahead in the 82th minute. Just three minutes later, Hereford’s Ronnie Radford scored what has to be one of the greatest goals in FA Cup history to bring the scores level.
The match went into extra time and Ricky George scored the winner for Hereford in the 103rd minute of the match. Many consider Hereford’s win over Newcastle to be the biggest shock in FA Cup history.
Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal
1992 FA Cup Third Round
In January 1992, Arsenal were league champions, whereas Wrexham were in the fourth tier and had finished at the very foot of the league.
The Welsh club had only avoided relegation to the Conference because Aldershot FC had gone out of business. This meant that there wasn’t any relegation out of the Football League in 1991-92.
During the match, Alan Smith put the Gunners ahead in the 43rd minute. But a stunning free-kick from 37-year-old former Welsh international, Mickey Thomas, put the hosts level in the 82nd minute.
Just two minutes later, Tony Adams missed a chance to clear, and Wrexham’s Steve Watkin fired past David Seaman to give the Dragons a historic giant-killing FA Cup win.
For many, shock results are what makes the FA Cup such a special competition.
Over the years, there have been many giant killings in the FA Cup, yet the three described above arguably stand out from the rest.
With a host of surprise results in the 2014-15 season, it seems that this trend is here to stay, and we can expect more shocks in years to come.