Lincoln boss hails ‘life-changing’ Cup run after beating Burnley
The manager of non-league Lincoln City said his club had been on a “life-changing” run in the FA Cup after they knocked Premier League Burnley out of the competition in one of the all-time great upsets.
Sean Raggett’s 89th-minute header secured a famous 1-0 win for Lincoln at Turf Moor as the Imps, who play in the fifth-tier National League, became the first non-league club since 1914 to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
“It was an incredible feeling really to win the game like we did,” said Lincoln manager Danny Cowley.
“We grew in confidence I thought and to score with a set-piece, which we work really hard on, was pretty apt,” he added.
Saturday’s stunning success saw Lincoln into the last eight of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
They had already knocked out Ipswich and Brighton, from English football’s second-tier Championship, during their Cup run before seeing off Burnley.
For several seasons now, with Premier League and even Championship clubs fielding under-strength sides in the FA Cup, because of commitments in other competitions, there have been fears that the status of the world’s oldest senior football knockout tournament was slowly being downgraded.
But Cowley believes East Midlands club Lincoln’s success has highlighted the enduring appeal of the FA Cup.
“I think maybe we’ve brought some of the magic back,” he said. “It is a brilliant cup competition. Whoever says the FA Cup is dead hasn’t lived in Lincoln for the last six to eight weeks.
“And it has galvanised our football club.”
As for his preferred opposition in the quarter-finals, Cowley added: “We want a home draw or to go to a big ground, where all of our fans could come.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who as a player featured in Chesterfield’s surprise run to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1997, was aware of the scale of Lincoln’s achievement.
“We’ve unfortunately played a part in Lincoln’s fairytale and obviously we didn’t want to do that,” said Dyche.