Maid in heaven: Absolute scenes as sixth-tier battlers pull off massive upset to score shock berth in FA Cup fourth round
Little Maidstone United have reached the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in their history, pulling off the day’s biggest shock in the famous old competition by defeating League One Stevenage at their overjoyed Gallagher Stadium.
Sam Corne’s penalty just before halftime on Saturday proved enough for the National League South side as Stevenage, three divisions above them, paid the price for near-misses when both Jamie Reid and Kane Hemmings hit the woodwork early in the second half.
National League (fifth-tier) Eastleigh will join Maidstone in the fourth-round draw after a Chris Maguire penalty sealed a 1-1 draw with Newport at Rodney Parade.
Elsewhere, there was heartbreak for National League leaders Chesterfield, who led at Championship side Watford for much of the game before eventually being beaten 2-1, sunk by a stoppage-time strike from Tom Dele-Bashiru.
Joe Quigley’s 28th-minute header for Chesterfield evoked memories of their famous run to the 1997 semi-finals, but Mileta Rajovic came off the bench to level and Dele-Bashiru denied the visitors a second chance when he struck in the fifth minute of added time.
Premier League sides survived potentially difficult away trips to also confirm their places in the fourth-round draw.
Newcastle relieved the growing pressure on head coach Eddie Howe with a thoroughly professional 3-0 win at Sunderland in the north-east derby.
A Dan Ballard own goal got the visitors up and running, before a second-half brace from Alexander Isak wrapped up a convincing win.
Sheffield United also found it easy at League Two (fourth-tier) Gillingham as a brace each for William Osula and James McAtee sealed a straightforward 4-0 win at Priestfield.
Bournemouth were forced to battle back from two goals down to escape an upset against QPR at Loftus Road.
Goals from Sinclair Armstrong and Lyndon Dykes gave Rangers a 2-0 halftime lead, but Marcus Tavernier reduced the deficit after the re-start.
Kieffer Moore then flashed home a near-post header just before the hour mark and 10 minutes later Justin Kluivert sealed a 3-2 victory for the Premier League side.
Brighton fell behind early at Stoke after an own goal from Jan Paul van Hecke, but goals from Pervis Estupinian and the returning Lewis Dunk put them in command before the hour mark.
Lewis Baker gave Stoke hope when he levelled from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute, but a late brace from Joao Pedro sealed a 4-2 win for the Seagulls.
In later games, Chelsea had no problems dispatching Championship outfit Preston 4-0, while a late goal from Matty Cash enabled Aston Villa to get past a rather tougher second-tier outfit at Middlesbrough.
Championship promotion hopefuls Ipswich eased to a 3-1 win at League Two Wimbledon, who had Harry Pell sent off on the hour mark, while Ryan Fraser scored two in Southampton’s 4-0 win over Walsall.
Sammie Szmodics hit a hat-trick in Blackburn’s 5-2 win over Cambridge, and Thomas Cannon’s goal just past the hour mark proved enough for Leicester to win an entertaining all-Championship clash at Millwall.
Coventry breezed to a 6-2 win at Oxford, while Ian Foster began his reign as Plymouth manager with a 3-1 win over League Two strugglers Sutton United.