Maidstone become lowest-ranked since 1978 to reach FA Cup 5th round Loop Jamaica

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Maidstone United’s Sam Corne, second left, celebrates scoring with teammates during the English FA Cup fourth round football match against Ipswich Town at Portman Road, in Ipswich, England, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP).

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IPSWICH, England (AP) — Non-league team Maidstone pulled off one of the biggest FA Cup upsets in years by beating second-division Ipswich 2-1 on Saturday to become the lowest-ranked team since 1978 to reach the fifth round.

Sam Corne scored the winner for the sixth-tier team in the 66th minute and goalkeeper Lucas Covolan made a string of saves in the final minutes to set off wild celebrations among the more than 4,400 away fans at Portman Road.

“The magic of the FA Cup is very much alive,” Maidstone manager George Elokobi said.

Maidstone are the first team from outside the top five English leagues to make the fifth round of the FA Cup since Blyth Spartans in 1978.

Lamar Reynolds put the visitors ahead against the run of play by finishing off a quick counter in the 43rd minute by lobbing Ipswich goalkeeper Christian Walton. Jeremy Sarmiento equalized for Ipswich in the 56th but Walton then set up Corne in the area 10 minutes later, and he rifled home inside the near post.

Maidstone beat fourth-tier team Barrow and third-tier side Stevenage to get to the fourth round, and can now dream of a meeting with one of the Premier League giants in the last 16. The draw for the fifth round will be held Sunday.

Ipswich are in second place in the second-tier Championship and on course for promotion to the Premier League, but manager Kieran McKenna gambled by making 10 changes from the team that played Leicester in the league on Monday.

Still, Ipswich dominated early and struck the post twice before being stunned by Reynolds’ opener.

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