West Ham and Everton in FA Cup shocks
Minnows Wimbledon, Millwall and Shrewsbury keep the magic of FA cup alive
London — AFC Wimbledon proved that the spirit of one of the FA Cup’s craziest stories lives on by toppling Premier League West Ham United 4-2 in a sizzling fourth-round duel on Saturday.
Second-tier Millwall dispatched top-flight Everton 3-2 at the New Den and third-tier Shrewsbury Town were denied the scalp of Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers in stoppage time.
Manchester City continued their pursuit of silverware on four fronts by hammering Burnley 5-0 to take their goal tally to 30 in seven matches in all competitions.
Pep Guardiola’s side were upstaged as AFC Wimbledon, bottom of England’s third-tier League One and 58 rungs below West Ham on the English football ladder, reminded a television audience of what makes the FA Cup so intoxicating.
West Ham made six changes from the side that played in their last Premier League match but still had players such as Andy Carroll, Javier Hernandez and Mark Noble on the pitch. They were swept aside, though, as Kwesi Appiah put AFC Wimbledon ahead and Scott Wagstaff’s sublime double either side of halftime took them 3-0 up against Manuel Pellegrini’s team.
Spaniard Lucas Perez pulled one back for West Ham and when Brazilian substitute Felipe Anderson curled in a free kick with 20 minutes left it seemed the hosts might crumble. But substitute Toby Sibbick headed past Adrian in the 88th minute to send AFC Wimbledon into the fifth round for the first time since the club was formed by disgruntled fans of the original, so-called Wimbledon Crazy Gang in 2002.
Manager Wally Downes, part of the Wimbledon team that beat a pedigree Liverpool side in the 1988 final before the club controversially uprooted to Milton Keynes in 2002 and became MK Dons, said the result proves anything can happen in football.
“I don’t know if it was a plan, winning was the plan, not the 4-2,” he said. “Football is random. There is a load of analysis we do, me included, but on any given day, any team can beat any other team and we have done it tonight.
“Three-nil up and hanging on for grim death,” added Downes, who was seated next to another member of the Crazy Gang, Hollywood hardman Vinnie Jones who was working as a television pundit.
Ten Premier League clubs have exited the Cup and another is sure to fall on Sunday, when Tottenham Hotspur play at Crystal Palace.
Millwall twice came from behind to beat Everton although their win was tinged with controversy. Richarlison gave Everton a 43rd-minute lead but Lee Gregory’s header levelled before halftime.
Substitute Cenk Tosun restored Everton’s lead but Millwall again hit back three minutes later through Jake Cooper, although Everton were incensed as the ball clearly went in off his arm.
Everton’s misery was completed in stoppage time when Murray Wallace beat England keeper Jordan Pickford from 6m out.
Shrewsbury, 54 rungs lower than four-times winners Wolves, had their hearts broken when Matt Doherty earned Wolves a 2-2 draw and a replay.
Greg Docherty and Luke Waterfall had given Shrewsbury a 2-0 lead but they could not hang on after Wolves, who beat Liverpool in the third round, hit back through Raul Jimenez.
“Don’t write us off, we went to Stoke and won in a replay,” said Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts, a former Wolves player.
Fourth-tier Newport County, who knocked out 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City in round three, earned a home replay against Middlesbrough as former Boro academy player Matthew Dolan made it 1-1 in stoppage time.
Burnley made seven changes to their line-up for the visit to City and paid the price as Guardiola’s side ran riot. Gabriel Jesus put City ahead with a fine strike after 23 minutes. Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero also scored, with a Kevin Long own goal completing the demolition.
Watford won 2-0 at Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion drew 0-0 at home to Championship side West Bromwich Albion and League One side Doncaster Rovers reached the fifth round for the first time in 63 years after beating League Two Oldham 2-1.