Lincoln stun Championship leaders Brighton as historic FA Cup run continues
Lincoln's historic FA Cup adventure continued with a 3-1 victory over Championship leaders Brighton as they reached the fifth round for the first time in 130 years.
Imps boss Danny Cowley described beating Ipswich in the previous round as "climbing a mountain" and likened the challenge of repeating the feat against Brighton to "getting to the moon".
Lincoln won it the hard way, going a goal behind to Richie Towell's first-half strike. But Alan Power's penalty, a Fikayo Tomori own goal and a late effort from Theo Robinson completed a famous turnaround in the second half and sent Lincoln through.
Amid a raucous atmosphere at Sincil Bank, Lincoln almost made the worst possible start. Glenn Murray's downward header in the opening minute drew gasps from the majority of the 9,469 crowd but goalkeeper Paul Farman was able to push the ball away.
Robinson had the ball in the net after eight minutes but the wild celebrations were muted by an offside flag.
Brighton began to come into the game thereafter and Solly March rattled the crossbar with a 25-yard effort before Farman saved from Sam Adekugbe.
The Championship leaders made the breakthrough after 24 minutes with Towell's first senior goal for the club. Murray flicked-on Conor Goldson's long ball forward into the path of Towell who finished well past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Lincoln responded well to the setback and Brighton goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa was worked for the first time when Nathan Arnold's curling shot brought a save at full stretch from the Finn.
Murray might have put the tie to bed just before half-time but he headed wide and his next contribution was to give away the 57th-minute penalty which let Lincoln back into the tie, the big striker penalised for pushing in the crowded box.
Maenpaa was injured in the incident, after coming to claim the ball, and after receiving treatment for several minutes he had to be substituted with what looked like a shoulder or arm injury.
Casper Ankergren came on in his place but his first task was to pick Power's spot-kick out of his net. He was doing the same thing again five minutes later when Tomori, on loan from Chelsea and making his Brighton debut, turned Arnold's cross into his own goal.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton responded by bringing on Tomer Hemed and Jamie Murphy, with Towell and Jiri Skalak making way.
Murray was denied an equalising goal by a superb block by Luke Waterfall before Farman did well to keep hold of a Oliver Norwood volley from the edge of the box.
Brighton pushed forward but their hopes of forcing a replay vanished with five minutes remaining when a defensive error presented Matt Rhead with the ball and he sent Robinson through on goal to score.
Farman denied Hemed with a superb save in injury time before the final whistle sparked jubilant scenes and confirmed Lincoln's place in the fifth round for the first time since 1887.