Luton shock Norwich, Arsenal struggle through

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Luton_celebrate Reuters Minor League Luton Town players celebrate after beating Premier League side Norwich City.

London – Minor League Luton Town made a mockery of the 85 places between themselves and Norwich City to complete a remarkable 1-0 away victory in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.

Scott Rendell scored after 80 minutes to ensure Luton became the first minor league club to beat a top flight side in the FA Cup in 24 years.

Premier League Queens Park Rangers also suffered a humiliating 4-2 exit at the hands of third tier Milton Keynes Dons to pile on the misery for the struggling London club.

Manchester City needed a late goal to sneak past Stoke City 1-0 in an all-Premier League clash while Arsenal's Theo Walcott scored in the 85th as Arsenal edged past second-tier Brighton 3-2.

Everton's John Heitinga scored in the 90th minute as the Premier League side beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1.

Not since Sutton United beat Coventry City in the third round in January 1989, had a club from outside the top four divisions overcome top flight opposition in the FA Cup.

Luton, who were relegated from the top flight in 1992 and then dumped out of the Football League in 2009, are currently sixth in the fifth tier of English football.

The 85-place gap between the two sides, however, meant little as Luton held off a their opponents before striking late in the second half when Rendell steered home JJ O'Donnell's low cross.

Bottom of the Premier League QPR played a second string team against MK Dons but were comprehensively undone by a team 31 places below them in the English football pyramid.

QPR retained only two players from the side that drew 1-1 with West Ham United in the Premier League last Saturday, and were behind after four minutes when Armand Traore put through his own net.

Ryan Lowe latched on to a ball over the top and rifled home a second five minutes before the break, Ryan Harley made it three and Darren Potter profited from some appalling QPR defending to fire home a fourth.

The hosts salvaged a modicum of pride with two late goals from Jay Bothroyd and Fabio.

Manchester City booked their place in the fifth round as Pablo Zabaleta scored a late winner with a neat finish to beat an organised Stoke City.

City enjoyed the majority of the possession and created the best opportunities but could not find a chink in the home team's armour until the 85th minute when Zabaleta arrived late in the area to poke home at the far post.

“It's a massive win on a tough pitch and it's difficult to win here,” Argentine full back Zabaleta said on ITV.

“Today we were solid at the back, and up front we were very aggressive. The Stoke crowd push the team a lot and we knew it was going to be difficult for us.”

Arsenal were taken the distance by Brighton, who twice came back from Olivier Giroud goals before conceding a decisive third from Walcott with five minutes remaining.

Everton left it even later to beat Bolton Wanderers as Heintinga fired home to give the visitors the win after Bolton's Marvin Sordell had equalised Steven Pienaar's early opener.

Elsewhere, Reading beat Sheffield United 4-0, Wigan won 1-0 away at minor league Macclesfield Town and Blackburn won 3-0 at Derby County. – Reuters


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