Non-league Sutton United reached the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history as they defeated 1972 winners Leeds United 1-0 on Sunday.
Captain Jamie Collins scored the winning goal, converting a 53rd minute penalty, while Leeds had their own captain Liam Cooper sent off for a second booking in the dying minutes.
Leeds manager Garry Monk continued the recent trend of making wholesale changes for the FA Cup, with just midfielder Stuart Dallas surviving from the eleven that started their 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday. Seventeen-goal top-scorer Chris Wood was rested, while debuts were handed to academy products Paul McKay and Billy Whitehouse.
Sutton were keen to let their Championship opponents know that they were in for a difficult game, with midfielder Craig Eastmond giving away a free-kick after making a strong tackle on Matt Grimes inside the first minute.
The game sparked into life in the seventh minute as Roarie Deacon appeared to have put the non-league side ahead. Deacon ran onto Dan Spence’s long ball over the top of the Leeds defence before firing past Marco Silvestri, but the linesman had adjudged Deacon to be offside, with replays showing it to be a very tight call.
Sutton settled into the game quicker than their more illustrious opponents, and Deacon was involved again a few minutes later. The former Arsenal youth found himself in space on the edge of the Leeds box and struck a fierce effort from 25 yards, forcing Silvestri into making a smart stop.
Sutton were creating numerous chances but were lacking that composure in front of goal. Deacon was involved once again, as he cut into the penalty area and his shot fell kindly to Bedsente Gomis, whose own attempt was then smothered by Silvestri.
Leeds won 6-0 when the two teams met in the same stage of the FA Cup back in 1970, but they had only managed one shot on target in the first half of today’s encounter. Stuart Dallas came closest for the visitors with a powerful free-kick in the 41st minute, but Sutton keeper Ross Worner was equal to the effort.
There was still time for another golden chance for the National League side. Yet again it fell to the lively Deacon, who unleashed another blockbuster of a shot from outside the area, with Silvestri denying the striker much like he had done 30 minutes earlier.
After a slow start to the second half, the game sparked into life in the 52nd minute when Sutton were awarded a penalty. Biamou and Deacon ran onto a long ball and Deacon was brought down after some confusion between Silvestri and Lewie Coyle, and referee Stuart Attwell pointed to the spot.
Captain Jamie Collins stepped up for the hosts, and duly sent Silvestri the wrong way to fire the non-league side into an unlikely, but deserved, lead. The giant-killing was well and truly on.
Monk, recognising the task his side now faced, looked to his bench for inspiration, and replaced Souleymane Doukara with Malik Wilks, who became Leeds’ third debutant of the afternoon.
Kemar Roofe came on for Billy Whitehouse, and his first contribution was to draw a foul on the halfway line, which saw Sutton captain Nicky Bailey go into Stuart Attwell’s notebook.
Leeds were, perhaps unsurprisingly, having more of the ball now, but they had struggled to trouble Worner in the Sutton goal for much of the game, but the goalkeeper showed little sign of rustiness as he held onto Matt Grimes’ powerful low drive from distance.
However, Leeds’ ever dwindling hopes of salvaging the tie took a fatal blow in the 81st minute, when captain Liam Cooper was shown a second yellow for a foul on Eastmond, and his match, and his team’s participation in this season’s FA Cup, was over.
A mass pitch invasion inevitably ensued as Stuart Attwell blew for full-time, with the Sutton supporters rejoicing after witnessing one of the biggest results in the club’s history, and one of the biggest shocks in this season’s FA Cup.
Sutton: Worner, Amankwaah, Collins (c), Downer, Spence, Gomis, May, Eastmond (Traore 90+1), Bailey, Deacon, Biamou. Unused subs: Shaw, John, Fitchett, Gueye, Monakana, Tubbs.
Goals: Collins 53
Bookings: Deacon 40
Leeds: Silvestri, Antonsson, Cooper (c), Whitehouse (Roofe 73), Grimes, Denton, Dallas, McKay, Doukara (Wilks 64), Coyle, Phillips. Unused subs: Peacock-Farrell, Vieira, Sacko, Ayling, Vann.
Bookings: Cooper, Denton 32, Sacko 90+4
Sendings off: Cooper 82
Man of the Match: x