New stats detail five most embarrassing FA Cup upsets including Newcastle shock
Is there anything better in football than an FA Cup upset?
The sight of a lowly underdog overcoming the odds to topple one of the nation's finest footballing sides is always a spectacle to behold and one synonymous with the competition's rich history.
Since the tournament's inception way back in 1871, countless teams have etched their names into FA Cup folklore, slaying the giants of the game to keep the romance of the cup well-and-truly alive and kicking.
With so many to choose from, it's nigh on impossible to determine which have been the biggest and best in the competition's illustrious history.
However, the boffins over at the University of Bath's Institute for Mathematical Innovation may have done just that.
Dr Adwaye Rambojun and Professor Andreas Kyprianou have crunched the numbers using Opta data from over 8,000 FA Cup ties from the past 50 years to finally reveal the greatest FA Cup third round upsets ever.
Using a mathematical model that takes into account the overall probability of the lower league team reaching the third round, the difference in league status and the timing and sequence of the goals scored in each tie, the brainiacs have calculated the odds.
With this season's third round upon us, Daily Star Sport brings you the top five most embarrassing FA Cup upsets from over the years using their findings… Enjoy!
HAVE YOUR SAY! What is your favourite upset in the history of the FA Cup? Comment below.
5. Oxford United 3-2 Swansea City (2016) – 1 in 3,487
Rangers striker Kemar Roofe was the hero on this day as his brace helped League Two Oxford United dump Swansea of the Premier League out of the cup.
A Jefferson Montero stunner sets the Swans on their way before Liam Sercombe levelled for the in-form U's from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time.
The home side hit three in the space of 14 minutes as a Roofe double secured the shock result and one of the most memorable third rounds ties in recent history.
4. Birmingham City 1-2 Altrincham (1986) – 1 in 4,376
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Non-league Altrincham garnered a reputation as uncomfortable oppositions in the 1970s after holding both Everton and Tottenham in the competition, but their finest hour came the following decade in 1986.
Robert Hopkins opened the scoring for First Division side Birmingham but a swift reply from Ronnie Ellis gave the visitors a surprise equaliser.
Just as the non-leaguers were heading for another memorable draw, a Blues blunder sparked scenes of unprecedented joy as goalscorer Hopkins went from hero to villain when his misplaced back-pass eluded a hapless David Seaman and ended up in his own net.
The Cheshire side joined an exclusive club as they became only the second non-league team to beat top-flight opposition away from home in history.
3. Stevenage 3-1 Newcastle United (2011) – 1 in 7,712
Stevenage were already punching above their weight as they embarked on their first ever season in the Football League back in 2011, but proved their worth as they famously punished Premier League opponents Newcastle.
Strikes from Stacy Long and Michael Bostwick gave the Boro a shock two-goal lead before an injury-time long-ranger from Joey Barton provided the Magpies, who were down to 10 men following Cheick Tiote's dismissal, with a glimmer of hope.
It was short-lived, however, as Peter Winn sealed the stunning upset and Newcastle became only the fourth top-flight team since the formation of the Premier League to lose to fourth-tier opposition.
2. Hereford United 2-1 Newcastle United (1972) – 1 in 32,449
This match provided one of the competition's most famous goals in one of the competition's most iconic of upsets.
After defying the odds to hold First Division side Newcastle to a 2-2 draw at St James’ Park, the Bulls welcomed the Magpies to a raucous Edgar Street for the replay.
Malcolm Macdonald’s 85th-minute header set Newcastle on course to finally overcome this potential banana skin, but Ronnie Radford had other ideas.
His 35-yard thunderbolt levelled for Hereford before Ricky George netted the dramatic extra-time winner. Cue bedlam.
1. West Bromwich Albion 2-4 Woking (1991) – 1 in 15,959,312
And the honour of biggest FA Cup upset goes to… Woking, for their miraculous triumph over West Brom back in 1991.
At a remarkable rate of 1 in 15,959,312 the Isthmian League side really did defy the odds to overcome the Baggies at the Hawthorns.
Colin West edged the Second Division favourites in front before an 11-minute hat-trick from Tim Buzaglo and a late effort from Terry Worsfold saw a Woking outfit led by Geoff Chapple's romp to an unforgettable 4-2 triumph.
“I remember sitting there after the match thinking: ‘Am I dreaming? This can’t be happening. We’re from Surrey, nobodies, what’s going on here?’,” Chapple told the FA.
“Our players were part-time. We had couriers, painters, decorators and builders. But I always used to instil in them that anything was possible, especially in the FA Cup, and this result proved it.”
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