The chairman of The National League, Brian Barwick, has hailed the success of Lincoln City and Sutton United after both member clubs overcame Football League opposition to reach the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
An astonishing crowd of 9,069 crammed in to Sincil Bank along with a watching audience from BBC One TV to witness Nathan Arnold score a last-gasp 91st minute winner to see Lincoln – leaders of the Vanarama National League – topple Championship club Ipswich Town 1-0.
Sutton, meanwhile travelled the short distance to AFC Wimbledon for their Third Round replay, and beat the League One club 3-1, thanks to goals from Roarie Deacon, Maxime Biamou and Dan Fitchett.
“I am delighted for everyone associated with both Lincoln City and Sutton United,” Barwick said.
“It was a magical night of FA Cup action and it was fantastic to see our clubs perform with such commitment and spirit, deservedly winning their respective ties.
“Their victories highlight the strength in depth we possess as a competition, and we are sure that both clubs will do themselves and The National League proud when they face higher-league opposition again in the next round.”
The Red Imps’ Third Round replay triumph means they are in round four for the first time in 41 years, and they host another high-flying Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, 28th January.
The U’s also have a home tie in the fourth round, with a resurgent Leeds United visiting Gander Green Lane in a match that will be shown live on BT Sport on Sunday 29th January (2pm kick-off).
It is clear that with performances like these the history and above all else the sheer magic of the FA Cup is still alive and beats strongly in the aspirations and hearts of clubs, not only in The National League but across the whole of the non-League game.