Stevenage stun Aston Villa with last-gasp victory in FA Cup

Fourth-tier side score two late goals to secure famous third-round win on Sunday

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Fourth-tier Stevenage launched a magnificent late comeback to knock Premier League Aston Villa out of the FA Cup on Sunday.

Villa took a first-half lead through Morgan Sanson's first goal for the club and appeared on their way to securing a fourth-round clash away to Stoke City.

But two minutes from time Leander Dendoncker was shown a straight red card for bringing down Dean Campbell in the box and Jamie Reid brought the League Two side level.

And while it appeared a replay was on the cards, Campbell then took advantage of a sleeping Villa defence to secure a famous victory in the 90th minute.

It provided a stunning finale for Stevenage and capped a miserable day for Unai Emery's Villa who also lost Matty Cash and Ludwig Augustinsson to injury.

It means that eight Premier League sides have been knocked out in the third round following the defeats of Everton, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Newcastle United and Chelsea – the latter losing 4-0 at Manchester City on Sunday.

Leeds United narrowly avoided joining the top-tier exits after coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Championship outfit Cardiff City, while table-topping Arsenal take on League One side Oxford United on Monday night.

Villa’s lates defeat means their awful run in the competition continues. Since losing the 2015 final 4-0 to Arsenal their only win has come in a third-round replay against Wycombe in 2016.

Emery immediately targeted silverware when he was appointed as Steven Gerrard's replacement in October but Villa crashed to another early exit.

They saw plenty of the ball early but had only Douglas Luiz’s tame effort to show for it and it allowed the visitors to give them a scare.

Exactly 12 years ago, Stevenage dumped Newcastle out of the FA Cup and they were dreaming of another upset after 17 minutes.

Boro worked the ball well on the left and Luke Norris crossed for the unmarked Danny Rose to tap in, only for the celebrations to be cut short by an offside flag on Norris.

It was a warning for Villa, who were yet to click, and Philippe Coutinho’s deflected effort was easily gathered by Taye Ashby-Hammond with the Brazilian also shooting wide.

It had been an inauspicious opening half an hour from Villa as they struggled to break down the confident and organised visitors.

Ultimately, it was the only bit of quality of the half which unlocked Stevenage as Emery’s side grabbed a scarcely deserved lead after 32 minutes.

Coutinho, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings were involved in some snappy one-touch build up before the latter slipped in Sanson and he fired in his first goal for Villa from 16 yards.

Stevenage remained undaunted with Norris’ ambitious effort from the corner of the box clipping the bar as Steve Evans’ side searched for the reward their composed and positive display deserved.

Any hopes of a comeback were almost extinguished when Bailey’s close-range effort deflected wide immediately after the break as Villa emerged with renewed vigour.

Stevenage remained robust, though, and displayed the confidence of a side who have now only lost two of their last 23 games.

They frustrated Villa, who by the hour were camped well into the visitors’ half, and Calum Chambers prodded wide after 66 minutes.

Bailey shot over but, with five minutes left, Villa imploded. Robin Olsen played Dendoncker into trouble on the edge of the box and he was robbed by Campbell.

The midfielder pulled the forward back as he broke into the box and, after referee Graham Scott initially gave a free-kick, he awarded a penalty and sent Dendoncker off.

Following a VAR check Reid buried the spot kick and better was to come two minutes later when Villa fell asleep from a short corner and Campbell beat Olsen at his near post to win it.

Updated: January 08, 2023, 7:07 PM