First the FA Cup’s most successful team. Now the holders.
Nottingham Forest reached the fifth round by ousting Leicester 4-1 on Sunday, building on the second-tier side’s previous elimination of 14-time winner Arsenal.
It wasn’t the biggest upset of the fourth round.
The last 16 will feature a fifth-tier team after Boreham Wood won 1-0 at Bournemouth, which is 74 places higher in the English pyramid. It’s now five matches without conceding, stretching back into a qualifying round, for the team based just north of London.
Mark Ricketts, Boreham Wood’s 37-year-old captain who had been out injured for almost a month, scored the goal that eliminated the Championship’s third-place team and secured a trip to a Premier League ground to play Frank Lampard’s Everton next month.
“I ran out of steam towards the end but the adrenaline kept me going,” Ricketts said. “There will be even more interest drummed up in the club and I think it’s fantastic.”
Bournemouth’s focus now is on the quest to return to the Premier League after two years. Forest has been waiting since 1999 to get back into the top division and its impressive cup run is reviving memories of its prowess in the last century.
Forest was champion of England in 1978 and then won back-to-back European Cups. The only titles since then came in the League Cup in 1989 and 1990. Now there will be hope of another deep FA Cup run for the team that reached the 1991 final against Tottenham, with fellow second-tier club Huddersfield next up.
The cup form reflects the revival in the Championship side since Steve Cooper was hired in September. The manager has taken the team from last place to within two points of the promotion playoff spots.
“Some of our attacking play was excellent ... dare I say it, it could have been more,” Cooper said. “Games like this matter. We have a global fanbase.”
Forest stunned Leicester by scoring twice inside 90 seconds through Philip Zinckernagel and Brennan Johnson to take a 2-0 lead by the 24th minute.
The blot on the day came when Joe Worrall headed in from a corner in the 32nd and Forest forward Keinan Davis was targeted amid the goal celebrations by a pitch invader throwing a punch. Police later said a man had been arrested.
It was the first game between the East Midlands rivals since 2014 when Leicester was last in the Championship before gaining promotion and winning the Premier League in 2016 so unexpectedly.
This fourth-round game drifted away from Leicester. Although Kelechi Iheanacho pulled one back in the 40th, there was no comeback with Djed Spence restoring the three-goal cushion to rock Brendan Rodgers’ side.
This time Forest even produced the upset without 13-goal top scorer Lewis Grabban, whose goal eliminated Arsenal in the third round. It’s why Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers couldn’t make excuses about being missing players.
“I said to the players after that, for the first time since I’ve been here I’ve been embarrassed,” Rodgers said, approaching his third anniversary at Leicester this month. “It was an embarrassing performance. I feel for the supporters.”
Teenager Harvey Elliott returned from five months out injured and scored his first Liverpool goal in a 3-1 victory over Cardiff.
Elliott produced a swiveled finish in front of the Kop in the 76th minute for Liverpool’s third goal, capping the 18-year-old midfielder’s recovery from a left ankle fracture dislocation.
The lead came via Diogo Jota’s 15th goal of the season in the 53rd against the second-tier side, heading in a free kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
New Liverpool signing Luis Diaz was brought off the bench for his debut in the 58th — along with Elliott — following his arrival from Porto on Friday and played a role in the second goal.
The Colombia international seized possession and Takumi Minamino met his cutback before striking under goalkeeper Dillon Phillips in the 68th.
Cardiff substitute Rubin Colwill pulled one back in the 80th but Liverpool held on to set up a meeting with top-tier Norwich in the first week of March.
Following the draw on Sunday morning, the only other all-Premier League matchup in the next round is Southampton’s home game against West Ham.
Premier League champion Manchester City will go to second-tier side Peterborough, which has reached the last 16 for the first time since 1986.
Middlesbrough’s reward for knocking out Manchester United is a home match against Tottenham, European champion Chelsea will travel just north of London to Luton and Crystal Palace will host Stoke.