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One of the only perks to cold winter nights is that they are often the backdrop for a slaughter of FA Cup giants.
Seeing the elite reduced to size by a brave underdog is a favorite pastime of the British public, which is why cup surprises hold such a special place in the hearts of so many.
But which giants slaughter is the best of all time? A great question. Here are the top 10 ranked.
Entering their fourth round tie against League One Wigan Athletic, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were at the peak of their powers. The Citizens were 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League table and had pumped Leicester 5-1 in their previous match.
They subjected Wigan to a similar beating, enjoying 82% possession, 29 shots and 15 corners.
However, unlike Leicester, the Latics manage to withstand this barrage and when Fabian Delph was sent off by the visitors, they began to get hopeful. This hope turned to euphoria in the 79th minute when Will Grigg stroked the ball past Ederson to put them 1-0 up.
Grigg’s goal went unanswered, meaning Wigan were one of only five teams – Manchester United, Liverpool, FC Basel and Shakhtar Donetsk – to beat the Cityzens that season in all competitions.
When Fourth Division Colchester United hosted First Division leaders Leeds United at Layer Road in 1971, everyone in the country supported them, but few gave them any hope of a result.
Ten of Don Revie’s team were internationals with players like Jack Charlton, Norman Hunter and Johnny Giles striking fear in the hearts of teams across the country.
Despite their star power, Leeds were shocked when the U took a 2-0 lead in less than half an hour, courtesy of a brace from Ipswich Town legend Ray Crawford. Colchester then made it 3-0 just after the break that sparked the mother of all Leeds blitz.
Somehow, the hosts held out to reserve their spot in the quarterfinals and provoke wild scenes on Layer Road.
After six years apart, old rivals Leeds and Manchester United met in the third round of the FA Cup.
The advantage was firmly with United. They were reigning Premier League champions for one and also had the advantage of hosting the game at Old Trafford.
As in many previous FA Cup qualifiers, the pregame guide had little influence on this one, with the Whites achieving a 1-0 victory thanks to a road one goal that Jermaine Beckford finished off very well.
Sutton United’s 1-0 win over Leeds in 2017 did not follow the normal script of a slaughter of FA Cup giants.
This was away from the brave underdogs sneaking around, Sutton really played his opponents out of the park, sorry 4G tone should we say.
The U forced Leeds goalkeeper Marco Silvestri to make a series of good saves before finally taking the lead from the penalty spot through captain Jamie Collins.
Sutton’s reward for his excellent performance was a date with Arsenal in the fifth round where, as you may recall, goalkeeping coach Wayne Shaw ate a pie on the bench, which the media would mistakenly label cake.
The 85 league standings separated Luton Town and Norwich City when they met in the Fourth Round in 2013.
Wes Hoolahan, Grant Holt and even a fresh-faced Harry Kane showed up in the Canaries that day, but it wasn’t enough to avoid an embarrassing upset.
After stopping the Norwich tide for 80 minutes, backup Scott Rendell appeared with a goal for the Hatters, making Luton the first team outside the league to defeat a top-flight team on the road since 1986.
When Ramires put Chelsea 2-0 up in 40 minutes against Bradford City in 2015, they would have forgiven you for changing the channel.
If you had done that, you would have missed one of the best FA Cup comebacks of all time.
Just two minutes after Ramires’ attack, the Bantams had recovered one through veteran forward Jon Stead. Then, for the final 15 minutes, the game came to life with Bradford scoring three unanswered goals to secure one of the best results ever.
Reigning First Division champions Arsenal couldn’t have asked for an FA Cup third round draw much easier than Wrexham.
The Red Dragons had only avoided relegation to the Conference the previous season on a technicality and had a youth first team with some aging Welsh internationals.
The game started as expected with Arsenal dominating the proceedings. Alan Smith finally scored, ensuring the Gunners went 1-0 up at halftime.
Wrexham improved dramatically in the second half and would eventually pull off an irresistible quick double in the final ten minutes. First, Mickey Thomas hit a good free kick before Steve Watkins landed a winning goal soon after.
Burnley’s 2015/2016 season would eventually end in a Premier League relegation, but his biggest humiliation would be saved for the FA Cup.
The Clarets were abandoned by Lincoln City, which was not part of the league, administered by the famous Cowley brothers. After weathered the storm brilliantly, Sean Raggett soared high and nodded in the 89th minute.
The game itself was seen at the box office with Joey Barton being rocked by a series of Lincoln players.
Sand covered mouth? Check. A bricklayer scoring the winning goal? Check. Thousands of viewers struggling to get a decent view? Check. Yes, this is definitely a slaughter of FA Cup giants.
Appearing for the second time on this list, Sutton secured his most famous victory in 1989, beating Coventry City 2-1.
Captain Tony Raines led the U’s to the front in the first half, but that goal was disallowed by Sky Blues defender David Phillips. Take a step forward with the aforementioned bricklayer, Matt Hanlan, who climbed to the end of a great cross to secure his side, and his city, an iconic victory.
Without Ronnie Radford’s incredible blow to Newcastle in 1972, the phrase “slaughter the FA Cup giants” might not exist.
Hereford’s shocking victory over the Magpies in the fifth tier is the most iconic cup win of all time and the images of the winning goal still elicit reactions from football fans of a certain generation.
With scores tied at 1-1, on a field containing more mud than grass, Radford played a quick one-two before unleashing a wacky 35-yard yell in the top corner.
If you need more proof of the high status of the strike in soccer folklore, consider it. In 2011, the Ronnie Radford Giant-Killing Award was launched. It is an annual gong given to the team that achieves the most impressive surprise of the competition; a fitting tribute to an incredible moment.