Stevenage defied the odds and put on an impressive display to hold Tottenham to a goalless draw in the FA Cup fifth round clash at the Lamex Stadium.
The League One side started the day 47 places below Spurs in the league ladder, but they more than held their own with some dogged tackling and confident passing in midfield to send the tie to a replay.
Carlo Cudicini saved well from Scott Laird’s header in the first half and Joel Byrom blasted just over in the second period while Tottenham had a goal ruled out for offside.
Just eight days ago, Spurs waltzed past Newcastle with a fine display of attacking football, but today they were looked out of sorts and never settled in to their rhythm.
Credit must go to Stevenage, however. The Hertfordshire club, who are in contention for their third successive promotion, were given a massive reception from the 7,100 fans inside the packed out stadium and they responded with a gritty display.
Brighton manager Gus Poyet accused his side of “comic” defending after they scored three own goals in a 6-1 FA Cup hammering at Liverpool.
Liam Bridcutt twice found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, whilst Lewis Dunk’s disastrous attempt at controlling a Luis Suarez cross also ended in calamity.
In front thanks to Martin Skrtel, only to be pegged back by Kazenga Lua Lua’s excellent effort, Liverpool cruised home with Andy Carroll capping an outstanding display with his third goal in 10 games before setting up Suarez, who had earlier missed a penalty, to complete the Reds biggest win since September 2009.
“I watched the goals on the computer,” said Poyet.
“There are a few funny ones in there. They were comic goals.
“I haven’t spoken to the players about it. There were so many individual mistakes it would take all day.”
Tony Pulis was relieved to see Stoke progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals but furious at Rory Delap’s dismissal.
Last year’s losing finalists avoided a fifth-round upset against Crawley - the lowest ranked side left in the competition - thanks to goals from Jon Walters and Peter Crouch.
Stoke will now feature in the quarter-finals for the third year running, despite Delap receiving a straight red card for a challenge on David Hunt.
Potters boss Pulis was pleased with the way his side rallied after the 17th-minute sending off but bemused by the decision.
Quarter-final draw (to be played March 17-18):
Liverpool v Stoke
Chelsea/Birmingham v Leicester
Stevenage/Tottenham v Bolton
Everton v Sunderland