Lincoln City made history this evening by beating Championship Brighton by three goals to one in front of a record crowd at Sincil Bank.
The FA Cup fifth round beckons for the first time since 1887, and it was no more than the splendid Lincoln side deserved.
Brighton currently sit at the top of the Championship, on the cusp of the Premier League, but for ninety minutes it was the Imps that looked like the side destined for the top flight.
9469 fans crammed into Sincil Bank, breaking the two week old record set against Ipswich in the last round. However, the early impetus seemed to be with the high-flying Seagulls.
As early as the second minute Imps keeper Paul Farman was called into action, forced to palm away a Glenn Murray header which Sam Habergham cleared.
City looked to have taken the lead in the eighth minute. Centre back Luke Waterfall turned to take two players out of the game before crossing for Theo Robinson to score, but his effort was adjudged to be offside.
It was the higher placed team that grabbed a lead against the run of play. Murray again was involved his flick on was fired into the net by Richie Towell. It was harsh on Lincoln, but the Championship side’s class looked like it was beginning to show.
Less than ten minute later Nathan Arnold, the hero of the last round, fired a wonderful drive from twenty yards towards the Brighton goal, his effort clawed away by Brighton keeper Niki Maenpaa.
The Imps trailed at half time, but if anyone thought the smaller side would let their heads drop then they were sadly mistaken. Just eight minutes after the restart Theo Robinson chased a long ball forward.
As he jostled for the ball with Murray, the former Crystal Palace man dragged him down. He tumbled in the area and collided with Maenpaa, and the referee pointed to the spot. Maenpaa stayed down, and after eight minutes of treatment he was replaced.
After the lengthy wait Alan Power stepped up to take the pressure penalty, and he kept a cool head to drive past the substitute goalkeeper Casper Ankergren.
The Imps seized on the delight of the packed stands to launch a sustained spell of pressure, and just five minutes later they got the goal their team had earned. A cross from Nathan Arnold looped over everyone, and was turned in at the far post by Brighton defender Tomohiro Tomori.
As Sincil Bank erupted, the possibility of a first fifth round tie in over 130 years beckoned. Brighton began to find some space in and amongst the tiring legs of the Imps battlers, but anything they could muster was saved by the excellent Farman.
With Brighton pushing forward they always looked susceptible to a break, and on 85 minutes City put the tie beyond all doubt. Matt Rhead threaded the ball through to Theo Robinson, and he finished clinically to ensure Lincoln would be in Monday night’s fifth round draw.