Simply Imps-pressive: Lincoln City first non-league club to reach quarter-finals since 1914
Lincoln City first non-league club to reach quarter-finals since 1914
Lincoln boss Danny Cowley savoured an "incredible feeling" after the National League outfit pulled off a shock 1-0 win at top-flight Burnley on Saturday.
Sean Raggett's late winner ensured Cowley's men became the first non-league club to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals since Queens Park Rangers did so in 1914.
Raggett climbed at the far post from an 89th-minute corner to power in a header which Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton could only push away after it had crossed the line.
"It was an incredible feeling really to win the game like we did," said Cowley, whose side, also known as the Imps, are on course for promotion into the English Football League as they top the National League.
"We thought it was going to be a one-in-a-hundred chance and we wanted to break the game down into small parts, six 15-minute periods.
"We grew in confidence I thought and to score with a set-piece, which we work really hard on, was pretty apt.
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
"It just shows, if you're willing to work hard, what you can achieve.
"Our supporters are Premier League. They deserve this moment. I'm so pleased for them.
"And our players, I thought were outstanding - they played for each other, for their families, and are rightly feeling proud as punch, because they deserve all the back-slapping they are no doubt going to get."
Lincoln are into the last eight of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
Along the way, they had beaten Championship sides Ipswich and Brighton before taking on Premier League opposition in Burnley.
BY THE NUMBERS
Lincoln’s highest transfer fee paid to Carlisle for Dean Walling in October 1997 and again in August the following year to sign Tony Battersby from Bury.
The last time Lincoln City reached the last eight of the FA Cup was in 1902.
When asked what he felt Lincoln had done for the FA Cup this term, Cowley - who along with his brother and assistant manager Nicky quit their full-time jobs in education last year to focus on football - replied: "I think we've brought some of the magic back.
"It is a brilliant cup competition. Whoever says the FA Cup is dead hasn't lived in Lincoln for the last six to eight weeks.
"And it has galvanised our football club.
"This club have had some really tough times and this run has brought Lincoln back to the forefront of people's minds in the city and brought it to people's hearts as well.
"It has been massive for us and we've loved every minute.
"It has been life-changing for us, this period, there's no doubt about that."
Regarding the last-eight draw, Cowley added: "We want a home draw or to go to a big ground, where all of our fans could come.
"Because it was so frustrating - we could have only 3,000 here and we could have brought 15,000."
Lincoln's hero Raggett said he and his teammates had always believed they were capable of extending their fairy-tale run.
"I'm lost for words, it's mad, I can't believe it," said the 23-year-old central defender.
"They're a top quality side, drew with Chelsea last week, it's amazing. Belief? Massively, we didn't come to draw, we came to win the game.
"Crazy, a non-league side in the quarter-finals in modern football, it's unheard of."
Barrel-chested striker Matt Rhead, whose physical presence caused the Burnley defence problems throughout the match, said they had matched their opponents in every area.
"It is unbelievable. When we started back in October, it was a dream," said the 32-year-old, who has trawled the non-league arena throughout his career.
"It is something you dream of as a kid. We went toe-to-toe with a Premier League team.
"We are confident if we set up as we have today, we can beat anyone." - WIRE SERVICES