LONDON (Reuters) – Newport County completed a memorable day of FA Cup shocks as they stunned 2016 English champions Leicester City 2-1 on Sunday to follow fellow fourth-tier side Oldham Athletic and minor league Barnet into the fourth round.
Humble Welsh club Newport had led from the 10th minute but their dream appeared to have been snatched away when Rachid Ghezzal smashed in a late equaliser, only for Padraig Amond to send the Rodney Parade faithful crazy with a penalty winner.
Newport, who took Tottenham Hotspur to a replay last year, held on to beat a top-flight side for the first time since 1964.
Oldham came from a goal down to defeat struggling Premier League Fulham 2-1 away at Craven Cottage while minor league Barnet won 1-0 at four-times Cup winners Sheffield United.
Manchester City recorded their biggest FA Cup victory for 51 years, thrashing Championship side Rotherham United 7-0, but it was a day for the lesser lights, with bookmaker William Hill quoting odds of over 450,000-1 for Newport, Oldham and Barnet all to win.
Newport, 13th in League Two, set about Claude Puel’s Leicester side with relish and went ahead as Robbie Willmott raced down the right and crossed for centre forward Jamille Matt to glance home a header.
Leicester, seventh in the Premier League after recent wins over Manchester City and Chelsea, eventually broke through in the 82nd minute as Ghezzal hammered a ferocious shot past keeper Joe Day who moments earlier had denied Kelechi Iheanacho.
There was a final twist, though, as Marc Albrighton, a stalwart of Leicester’s shock title-winning team, blocked a cross with his arm to gift Newport a shot at glory.
Amond stepped up calmly to send his penalty past Leicester keeper Danny Ward, once a team mate at Morecambe.
“He faced a few of my penalties in training so I was hoping he wouldn’t remember,” Amond said.
The FA Cup has lost some sheen in recent years but Oldham and Barnet, along with third-tier Gillingham who beat top-flight Cardiff City on Saturday, revived the magic.
Woking’s adventure ended in disappointment, however, as the sixth-tier club, the lowest-ranked survivors, succumbed 2-0 at home to Premier League Watford.
Remarkably, both Oldham and Barnet have caretaker managers – Pete Wild and Darren Currie – who were taking charge of their respective teams for only the third time.
There seemed little chance of an upset alongside the River Thames when Denis Odoi gave Fulham the lead in the second half but Sam Surridge equalised from the penalty spot.
Fulham were awarded a soft penalty but Alexsandar Mitrovic, brought off the bench to take the kick, had his effort superbly saved by a Danish keeper Daniel Iversen.
Callum Lang then sent 4,000 travelling Oldham fans wild with a headed winner in the 88th minute.
“It’s Roy of the Rovers stuff. It is one you have to savour. I am the most proud man in Oldham, I can’t believe it,” Wild, in temporary charge after Frankie Bunn was sacked, said.
Sheffield United began the day 84 places above Barnet but were outplayed by their lowly opponents for whom former Tottenham trainee Shaquile Coulthirst won it with a 21st-minute penalty after Richard Stearman brought down Ephron Mason-Clark.
The victory was especially sweet for Currie, in charge after the retirement last month of John Still, as his uncle Tony was once a Sheffield United great and has a stand named after him.
“I am really proud of them,” Currie, who made more than 100 appearances for the club just north of London, said.
“(Sheffield United manager) Chris Wilder said we deserved it too. There were one or two scary moments but we came through it. I am proud as punch of the boys.”
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City joined Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal in the fourth round with a romp.
Raheem Sterling scored early on and youngster Phil Foden’s first home goal for the club and Semi Ajayi’s own goal made the result a formality before halftime. Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane completed the rout.
Championship leaders Leeds United suffered a 2-1 defeat at Queens Park Rangers, third-tier Doncaster Rovers upset Championship side Preston North End 3-1, while Millwall beat Hull City 2-1.