Hammer fans pull off FA Cup shock

Danny and Nicky Cowley


  • Hammers fans Danny and Nicky Cowley led Lincoln City to an unforgettable FA Cup victory at Burnley
  • Former West Ham goalkeeper Jimmy Walker is also on the Imps' backroom staff
  • Toni Martinez was on target for League One Oxford United, who were edged out at Middlesbrough

West Ham United’s own Emirates FA Cup dreams may have been dashed, but three Hammers are still flying the Claret and Blue flag in the world’s most-famous knockout competition.

Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley, assistant Nicky and goalkeeper coach Jimmy Walker enjoyed another unforgettable FA Cup weekend as the Imps became the first non-league club in 103 years to reach the last eight.

Lincoln scored a 1-0 victory over Premier League Burnley at Turf Moor, continuing the National League club’s amazing run, which has also seen them overcome League One Oldham Athletic and Championship sides Ipswich Town and Brighton & Hove Albion in this season’s competition.

Danny Cowley

Lifelong Hammers, the Cowley brothers have enjoyed a memorable rise through the game in recent months.

Less than a year ago, the pair were teaching physical education at a secondary school in the Essex town of Rayleigh, combining those full-time roles with the management of National League club Braintree Town.

After leading the part-time Iron to the National League play-offs last season, where they were edged out by full-time Grimsby Town in the semi-finals, the Cowleys were given the task of leading Lincoln back to the Football League after a six-year absence.

The Imps sit top of the National League table with games in-hand on the clubs below them due to their extended run in the FA Cup.

Now, they are 90 minutes from leading their team out at Wembley Stadium, with a sixth-round tie against either fellow National League side Sutton United or Premier League giants Arsenal to look forward to in the last eight.

The brothers were not the only West Ham-related presence in the weekend’s FA Cup, as young loanee Toni Martinez almost wrote another giant-killing headline of his own.

The Spaniard scored an equaliser for League One Oxford United at Premier League Middlesbrough as the U’s came from 2-0 down to level at the Riverside Stadium, only for Boro to sneak a 3-2 victory and a place in the quarter-finals.

Toni Martinez

Martinez has been in good form for Oxford, scoring four goals in six matches, including strikes in FA Cup ties with Newcastle United and Middlesbrough.

Elsewhere in the FA Cup, Stephen Hendrie was an unused substitute for Blackburn Rovers, who were edged out 2-1 by Manchester United at Ewood Park.

In the EFL, Josh Cullen was again in the thick of the action as Bradford City maintained their spot in the League One Play-Off places with a 2-2 draw with third-place Bolton Wanderers at Valley Parade.

Two West Ham loanees came face-to-face at the Bescot Stadium, where George Dobson’s Walsall earned a 2-0 win over Martin Samuelsen’s Peterborough United. Both Hammers were introduced as second-half substitutes.

Jaanai Gordon was also introduced from the bench for League Two’s bottom club Newport County, who were defeated 3-2 at Cambridge United.

Marcus Browne and Reece Burke were not involved as relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic earned a goalless draw with Preston North End in the Championship.

Elsewhere, defender Josh Pask was also absent from Gillingham’s 2-1 defeat at Coventry City in League One, while full-back Alex Pike missed Cheltenham Town’s 2-0 win over Yeovil Town in League Two.

In the non-league ranks, goalkeeper Sam Howes’ Hampton & Richmond Borough were edged out 2-1 by East Thurrock United in National League South.

Striker Sam Ford was introduced as a half-time substitute for Bishops Stortford in the same division, but his side were also beaten, 4-1 by Poole Town.