Belfast Telegraph

There are highs, pies and sighs on a weekend of cup and downs

By Billy Weir

It's not only here that cup football has brought a smile to the chubby-cheeked footy fan this weekend, as the FA Cup in England suddenly became a big hit again.

You got the feeling that BT Sport weren't that sure though, as they opened the weekend's proceedings with the lunchtime visit of little Lincoln City (population 93,541) against mighty Burnley (population 73,201).

Lincoln were looking to become the first non-league team to get to the quarter-finals since 1914 and if you're looking to topple the professionals then naturally you want a man called Cowley. Or better still, two of them.

Danny and Nicky Cowley are the siblings in charge of the Imps but BT clearly hadn't got the message as it was the B-team presenting squad sent along to Turf Moor, as they sent Jake Humphrey along to Wolves who were to take on Chelsea later in the day.

Darrell Currie filled in, joined by Michael Owen saying nothing of interest whatsoever on the sidelines, while Peter Drury was handed the commentating duties and he was well prepared.

"Edward VII was on the throne and Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House without Twitter, when 115 years back Lincoln last played in the last 16 of the FA Cup," he said.

With precious little time left, the chance for more history was on as the game was scoreless, Lincoln had a corner and we panned in on a man holding a camera.

"That is Rev Canon Andrew Vaughan, club photographer and club chaplain, saying his prayers," Drury told us but never revealed whether Canon was his title or make of camera.

And then a cross, naturally, a moment of inspiration and arms stretched to the heavens as Sean Raggett headed home the winner and Drury, beside himself, screamed at the end "the incredible Imps have achieved the hitherto Imp-ossible" and they settled back to see if another fairytale would bring the fifth round to a close on Monday night.

Lincoln would play the winner of fellow non-leaguers Sutton United or Premier League side Arsenal and the Beeb had turned up in force and with the builders at Gander Green Lane, where they had to erect their own studio.

All talk was of reserve team manager and substitute goalie Wayne Shaw, a youth team-mate of Alan Shearer at Southampton.

"I followed my dreams to the Premier League, he followed his to the burger van," chortled Shearer as we followed the rotund shot-stopper but there was more patronising nonsense to come from commentator Steve Wilson about Sutton.

"People who prefer ground-hopping to glory-hunting and people for whom Costa is a coffee and Kane is a stick but Sutton United are playing Arsenal," he said as we all wished he'd burger off.

Shaw did, as, with all substitutions made, he was spotted getting buried into a pie and much hilarity ensued, and even though Sutton lost there was still a pleasant taste in the mouth.

It went sour within 48 hours, Shaw was at the centre of the Pie-gate alleged betting controversy and was out of a job, but let's not take away from Lincoln, they left a refreshing taste in the mouth, a bit like an Imp-erial mint. Bring on the Gunners.

Belfast Telegraph


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