Friday, March 1, 2024

Sixth-tier Maidstone United defeat Championship side Ipswich Town 2-1 in historic FA Cup fourth-round upset

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It’s a historic Saturday as non-league club Maidstone United sent ripples throughout the soccer world by defeating Ipswich Town 2-1 in the FA Cup. A full 98 places separate the two clubs in the English soccer pyramid as Ipswich are currently second in the Championship which would earn an automatic berth to the Premier League, while Maidstone sit in England’s sixth tier. But a first half goal from Lamar Reynolds changed the tide of the match as Ipswich spent much of the half raining down shots on the Maidstone keeper.

The Stones could’ve crumpled after Jeremy Sarmiento brought things level early in the second half for Ipswich, but Same Corne got the eventual winner as Reynolds went from scorer to provider to set up the goal. The two goals were Maidstone’s only two shots of the match. Supported by 4,000 traveling fans at Portman Road Stadium, Maidstone were able to withstand 38 shots from the Tractor Boys while taking advantage of their only opportunities.

It has been a dream run for Maidstone who already have plans to lay a new pitch with some of the money from this FA Cup run, but it’s one that won’t be coming to an end yet as they’ll now march into the round of 16 following this victory with the opportunity to face a Premier League side. Already having defeated Ipswich, Stevenage, Barrow, and Chesham United, the growing level of quality in opposition isn’t slowing the Stones down.

Led by former Wolverhampton midfielder George Elokobi, the lowest ranked side remaining in the FA Cup will continue their run while also sitting fifth in the National League South, which would see them in a playoff place for promotion to the National League. In 1992 Maidstone temporarily ceased to exist as debts rose but new owners took over a youth side Maidstone Invicta to revive the club from the bottom of the pyramid. They regained senior status in 2001 and now, 23 years later, they’re rubbing shoulders with the best clubs in the world in the last 16 of the FA Cup.

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