THE Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round weekend provided truly outstanding thrills and spills.

There was a monumental giantkilling whilst another unfancied team ruffled the feathers of their massive Premier League adversaries.

Here are the main stories catching my eye…


Our last remaining Non-League representatives Maidstone United dramatically executed one of the greatest FA Cup shocks of all-time in triumphing 2-1 at Ipswich Town.

Firstly, let me put everything into context. Maidstone occupy fourth spot in the National League South whereas 1978 FA Cup winners Ipswich Town are second in the Championship.

Significantly, these two sides sit 98 places apart in the football pyramid rankings although the Tractor Boys made 10 team changes from their previous League outing. 

In addition, it is worth highlighting the incredible match stats. Ipswich racked up 78% possession plus 38 shots including 13 on target and 11 corners. Maidstone’s return was 22% possession, just two shots – both on target – and 0 corners.

Indeed, Ipswich rattled the woodwork three times during totally one-sided first half exchanges.

However those two Maidstone shots on target resulted in vital counter-attack goals via Lamar Reynolds (43 minutes) and Sam Corne (66 mins) overshadowing a Jeremy Sarmiento deflected strike for Ipswich on 56 minutes.

Reynolds’ dinked chip having run from his own half to open the scoring was simply sublime.

Visiting keeper Lucas Covolan amassed a lexicon of sprawling stops throughout leading to tremendous joyful celebrations amidst the 4,600 Maidstone fans at full-time.

By knocking out three EFL opponents so far, they have become the first club situated beneath English football’s top five divisions to reach the FA Cup Fifth Round since Blyth Spartans of the Northern League in 1978.

The Stones will now travel to face either Sheffield Wednesday or Coventry City. It could well be worth betting on a further major upset!


Slumbering below halfway in League Two, Newport County gave 12 times FA Cup winners Manchester United a scare at sold-out Rodney Parade.

There was so much interest in this tie that temporary seating was installed to help accommodate the 9,086 crowd.

Yes, United scored twice within the initial 13 minutes where Bruno Fernandes and teenager Kobbie Mainoo converted.

But back came Newport to level things through a Bryn Morris 30 yard masterblaster (36 minutes) and Will Evans poking in at close range (47 mins) to defy FA Cup odds

Evans really personified the FA Cup’s unique magic. A former farmer who has only played professionally for two years scoring against the team he supported as a schoolboy!

County boss Graham Coughlan said afterwards: “When we got to 2-2, I was dreaming and I thought we had United. They were certainly a bit rattled! Our own cup final would’ve been a replay at Old Trafford so it was so unfortunate we didn’t make it.” 

The Premier League big boys eventually rallied to seal matters by virtue of Antony (68 mins) and £72 million summer signing Rasmus Højlund (90+4 mins). Yet the Newport County players thoroughly deserved their proud standing ovation on the final whistle. 

Manchester United will visit Bristol City or Nottingham Forest in Round Five.


Also from League Two, Wrexham manufactured a stunning effort to forge ahead at Championship hosts Blackburn Rovers on Monday night before succumbing 4-1.

With 7,000 away supporters giving vociferous backing, the Hollywood club drew first blood on 19 minutes when Andy Cannon smashed home 16 yards out following a sweeping move. “Cannon has delivered a cannon,” enthused one TV commentator.

Nevertheless, Blackburn drew on their six times FA Cup winners’ pedigree to muster goals by Sammie Szmodics (32 and 45+1minutes), Sam Gallagher (34 mins), and Sondre Tronstad (59 mins).

Szmodics has netted 21 times this season – incorporating five in two FA Cup games – cementing his position of the Championship’s leading marksman. 

Next up, Rovers will entertain Newcastle United for a place in the Quarter Finals.


Tony is an experienced football broadcaster who has worked for Clubcall, Capital Gold, IRN Sport, talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. 

His devotion to Queens Park Rangers saw him reach 50 years without missing a home game in April 2023.

Tony is also a Non-League football expert having visited more than 2,500 different football grounds in his matchday groundhopping.

You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo.