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Ipswich Town 1-2 Maidstone United: Non-league side stun Championship high-flyers in FA Cup

National League South side Maidstone United pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks to knock Championship high-flyers Ipswich Town out of the fourth round at Portman Road.

Superb counter-attack strikes from Lamar Reynolds and Sam Corne - Maidstone's only attempts on target - earned the non-leaguers an astonishing victory over a side 98 places above them in the football pyramid.

A much-changed Ipswich side, who are second in the second tier and pushing for promotion to the Premier League, battered their opponents in the first half, hitting the woodwork three times and wasting numerous chances, but they somehow trailed to an exquisite dinked finish by Reynolds.

The stubborn resistance was finally broken when Jeremy Sarmiento's low shot took a tiny, but telling, deflection to beat outstanding Stones keeper Lucas Covolan.

But Sam Corne's composed finish restored the lead and Maidstone survived the inevitable frantic finish and eight minutes of stoppage time to become the first side from National League North or South to reach the last 16 since the regional split was introduced in 2004 and sparked joyous scenes.

Stones show true grit

Boss George Elokobi led those celebrations in front of around 4,600 travelling fans as the lowest ranked team left in this season's competition revelled in their achievement and contemplated a place in the last 16.

Ipswich will argue the second Stones goal should have been ruled out for a foul in the build-up and that George Edmundson was fouled in the penalty area after Corne's strike.

And they will point to their utter first-half dominance, a total of 38 attempts on goal and an inspired display by Brazilian keeper Lucas.

But no one could argue with the character, grit and sheer resilience of Elokobi's side who were so outclassed before the break.

Stones, who were already playing in the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in their history, are the first team to win their first match in the competition against a side from the top-two leagues since Kidderminster Harriers beat Birmingham City in January 1994.

But there seemed almost no possibility of matching that feat early on.

Wasteful Ipswich made to pay

Any thoughts Town's fringe players would struggle to gel were instantly dispelled as they monopolised possession, teasing, probing and creating a hatful of chances from the off.

On-loan Brighton midfielder Sarmiento struck the inside of the post from distance, Chelsea forward Omari Hutchinson's deflected effort also came back off the upright and Nathan Broadhead, Hutchinson, and Sam Morsy all saw shots saved by the overworked Lucas.

Maidstone could barely get a touch and had no answer to the quality, pace and movement of a side brimming with confidence.

Centre-back Edmundson, the only survivor from the side that drew 1-1 with fellow promotion-chasers Leicester City on Monday, somehow made a hash of a free header from six yards, Hutchinson went close again, the outstanding Sarmiento had another long-range shot loop off a defender and skim the crossbar, and veteran striker Sone Aluko scuffed a shot wide from 10 yards.

The visitors had only managed 22 competed passes in the first 20 minutes and seemed likely to end the half without an attempt on goal, although a couple of long balls and pacey counter-attacks had brought some brief respite and a glimmer of hope.

But incredibly they went in ahead and the goal was an absolute beauty, both in the making and taking. Stones stayed calm defending a set-piece and Liam Sole's delightful crossfield ball into space picked out Reynolds, who raced on to chip keeper Christian Walton after a perfect first touch.

The Ipswich onslaught calmed slightly after the interval but the equaliser seemed just a matter of time and Sarmiento obliged with a clever strike after cutting in from the left.

But Corne ensured Maidstone's 100% conversion rate continued when Sarmiento was controversially dispossessed in midfield and he held off Edmundson and coolly finished inside the near post after being expertly teed up by Reynolds.

Stones, who have now knocked out three EFL sides in seven matches in this season's competition, once again showed remarkable grit and withstood increasing Ipswich pressure, with Gavin Hoyte and Paul Appiah impressive in defence and Lucas making save after save.

Most were regulation but he made notable stops to keep out headers from substitutes Conor Chaplin and Wes Burns as an increasingly desperate and riled Ipswich brought on some of their more regular starters.

However, the changes - and an overall possession statistic of 78% - failed to help the hosts salvage a draw, and ensured the bewildered Stones players were able to lap up the atmosphere after an historic victory which sees them become the first club from outside the top five tiers of English football to reach the FA Cup fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978.

'Fans helped us through' - post-match reaction

Maidstone manager George Elokobi told BBC One:

"This is what it means to our community, it is all about us being together on days like this. It was up to the players to go out and enjoy competing against a fantastic Championship side.

"We had to be lucky in the first half but then we had to be resilient. And we knew they played so high, so can we catch them on the break if we played the right passes and had the runners behind."

Maidstone goalscorer Sam Corne told BBC One:

"I don't think I've got the words to describe it. We had belief and it showed on the pitch, that desire to put our bodies on the line.

"The manager said we had to have that belief not to sit too deep, to counter attack and if we did concede we may be able to nick another one and we did that.

"The fans aren't going anywhere, they'll stay and celebrate. To follow us all the way to Ipswich, they are the 12th man for us and helped us through, especially in the later stages."