Former All Whites goalkeeper Max Crocombe has helped his English football club Grimsby Town to one of the great FA Cup upsets of all time.
Two penalties for Gavan Holohan saw League Two side Grimsby Town stun relegation-fighting Premier League side Southampton 2-1 and reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1939.
Grimsby Town were the lowest-ranked side left in the competition going into the fifth round and 65 places separated the two clubs in the league pyramid. However, that didn’t stop them setting up a showdown in the last eight with Brighton and a chance at heading to Wembley Stadium for a semifinal.
“Honestly lost for words,” Crocombe said via his social media channels. “I’m so proud of this team and this football club. The atmosphere tonight was incredible, what a fan base we have, could hear them signing all night long. So proud, FA Cup quarter-finals.”
Crocombe played two games for the All Whites in 2018 after coming through New Zealand’s Under-20 and U-23 squads as a youngster. He spent two seasons playing in the A-League with the Brisbane Roar and the Melbourne Victory before transferring to Grimsby Town in 2021.
With the victory, Grimsby Town also became the first side in FA Cup history to eliminate five teams from a higher division than them in a single campaign from the first round onwards.
Elsewhere, Manchester United moved a step closer to a second trophy this season by advancing to the quarters with a 3-1 win over West Ham United.
Fresh from winning the League Cup this week, Erik Ten Hag’s team looked set to crash out of the FA Cup after Said Benrahma put West Ham in front with a curling shot in the 54th minute.
And as the game edged toward the closing stages, United’s frustration grew when Casemiro had a would-be equaliser ruled out by VAR for offside.
But the home fans were soon cheering when Nayef Aguerd headed into his own net in the 77th minute.
Alejandro Garnacho swept United in front in the 90th and substitute Fred added a third in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Tottenham Hotspur were also a casualty in another Cup shock, losing 1-0 to second-tier Sheffield United.
It was a nightmare for Spurs, whose wait for a first trophy since 2008 goes on.
Illiman Ndiaye struck in the 79th minute to secure a famous win for Sheffield United, in a game that saw Harry Kane start on the bench.
“I can only apologise to the fans for our performance and they deserve much more than this,” said assistant manager Cristian Stellini, who is still in charge of Tottenham while Antonio Conte recovers from gall bladder surgery.
In the night’s other FA Cup game, second division leader Burnley beat Fleetwood 1-0 with a 90th-minute goal from Connor Roberts.
- with AP