Sport Soccer

Monday 24 April 2017

Giantkillers Lincoln City stun Burnley to become first non-league to make FA Cup last eight in 103 years

Lincoln City's Sean Raggett celebrates scoring his side's winner at Turf Moor
Lincoln City's Sean Raggett celebrates scoring his side's winner at Turf Moor
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Sean Raggett could barely believe Lincoln's "crazy" achievement after his 89th-minute goal secured a 1-0 upset at Premier League club Burnley and a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Raggett nodded in at the far post late on as Danny Cowley's Imps, from the Vanarama National League, became the first team from outside the Football League to reach the last eight since QPR in 1914.

The 23-year-old told BT Sport 2: "I'm lost for words, it's mad, I can't believe it.

"The fans were amazing, all through the game.

"They're a top quality side, drew with Chelsea last week, it's amazing.

"Belief? Massively, we didn't come to draw, we came to win the game.

"Crazy, a non-league side in the quarter-finals in modern football, it's unheard of."

The deserved triumph sees Lincoln become the first non-league club to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals since it adopted its current structure in 1925, with QPR, in 1914, having been the last to get to that stage of the competition.

Lincoln's run to this round - featuring victories over Championship sides Ipswich and Brighton - had been remarkable as it was.

But this really was something special from Danny Cowley's men, not just in that they beat a top-flight side away, but particularly given it was Burnley, who had won seven of their previous eight home matches in all competitions.

A feisty encounter saw the visitors approach the task in superb fashion, as they kept their opponents - for whom Andre Gray wasted a decent chance and Joey Barton might have been sent off - at bay before delivering the sucker punch at the end.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche had stressed the importance of not taking anything for granted about the meeting with the National League leaders, and while his starting line-up featured six changes it was strong, with the likes of Gray, Barton, Michael Keane and Heaton having been retained.

Lincoln, whose first XI showed only two adjustments, made a positive start as they claimed the ball in midfield in the fifth minute from a Heaton kick and the subsequent burst forward saw Nathan Arnold tee up a chance for Jack Muldoon, who shot over the bar.

They then showed a combative edge as Alan Power was booked for a rash challenge on Johann Berg Gudmundsson that led to the Icelander having to come off for George Boyd.

Sam Vokes fired Burnley's first real attempt on goal over in the 19th minute and then sent a header off-target, with Gray hitting a low strike straight at Imps goalkeeper Paul Farman between those efforts.

The hosts were starting to impose themselves but Lincoln were still able to exert pressure of their own, with Keane and Jon Flanagan making important interventions in the home box.

As the first half came to an end, Barton's volley from the edge of the box was caught by Farman and Scott Arfield lashed over from a similar range.

Seven minutes after the break, Gray passed up a decent opportunity as he got on the end of a free-kick but skewed his shot wide.

Tempers then flared as Barton and Matthew Rhead, who the atmosphere between had been building all game, were involved in an incident that prompted referee Graham Scott to call both over for a word. Rhead claimed he had been stamped on by Barton, who had gone to ground holding his head.

No cards were produced on that occasion, but moments later Barton was booked following another flashpoint.

After Boyd brought down Alex Woodyard, Terry Hawkridge arrived on the scene and took a hand in the face from Barton before being shoved over by Flanagan.

Graham deemed Barton to be deserving of a yellow card while Flanagan escaped any action.

Lincoln were indebted to Farman in the 80th minute as Gray scuffed another shot, the ball moved to Ashley Westwood and his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper.

And they then left Turf Moor stunned in the dying moments as Luke Waterfall's header to the back post was met by Raggett, who nodded in from close range.

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