Non-league Boreham Wood made history by reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup thanks to a rousing victory over League One AFC Wimbledon. The Hertfordshire side, fourth in the National League, ousted the visitors 2-0 thanks to goals in each half by Tyrone Marsh and Adrian Clifton, sparking ecstatic scenes among 3,500 fans at Meadow Park.
“I’m on top of the world,” said Boreham Wood’s manager, Luke Garrard, who remains a cult hero at Wimbledon after making more than 100 appearances as a player.
“This is my biggest achievement as the manager here for six years. It’s full credit to the players, I can’t describe it. They threw everything at us but we are good defensively and well drilled.
Wimbledon failed to muster a shot on target against their accomplished hosts. Garrard had guided Boreham Wood into the third round for the first time last season before their progress was halted by Millwall in an empty ground – he said he was determined to go a step further this time to repay the loyalty of the club’s chairman, Danny Hunter, who, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, reassured staff by telling them immediately they would continue to receive their full salaries despite the club being forced to shut down. Hunter had to remortgage his house to cover the cost.
Huddersfield, sixth in the Championship, marked the centenary of their solitary FA Cup triumph by knocking out top-flight Burnley – just as they did before lifting the trophy 100 year ago.
Matty Pearson’s late winning goal at Turf Moor secured a victory that was all the more impressive because the Premier League side had taken the lead through Jay Rodriguez.
Josh Koroma drew the teams level with 16 minutes left after a mislaid pass by Matt Lowton before Pearson headed in the decisive goal from a corner in the 87th minute. James Tarkowski spurned a glaring chance to save Burnley in stoppage time, heading over from close range.
Huddersfield’s manager, Carlos Corberan, refused to entertain talk of another cup triumph. “What is special is to be seven games without losing [in all competitions] but I cannot talk about the future,” he said. “To go seven games without losing means the players are playing really well. The challenge is to keep playing well.”
Huddersfield’s win was the latest setback in a season of woe for Burnley, who have not won since October and languish in the Premier League’s relegation zone. They were without nine players owing to injuries and Covid – and Sean Dyche was self-isolating at home, too – but were still able to send out a strong side. Corberan made 10 changes from his team’s last outing in the Championship.
“There are no excuses,” said Burnley’s assistant manager, Ian Woan. “We wanted to get the game on [despite the absences]. I’m sure we could have got the game off but that is not the way we work.
“We have to keep believing in what we do and hopefully get some bodies back for the next couple of weeks.”