Late goals from Luke Guttridge and Danny Hylton sent 2000+ Shots fans into delerium as Aldershot Town recorded the biggest cup shock of their 20 year history at Upton Park, home of West Ham United.
It was an incredible night for Shots manager Dean Holdsworth, who came up against his footballing mentor, Sam Allardyce and the club he supported as a boy.
This was no flukey cup shock though. Shots fully deserved their victory. They more than matched their Championship opponents and played superbly throughout the match.
Holdsworth made two changes to the side which lost at Morecambe on Saturday, with Aaron Morris replacing Aaron Brown and Jake Taylor starting up front in preference to Michael Rankine.
It was Taylor who found himself with Shots first chance, just a few minutes in, but Hammers keeper Boffin took the sting out of his shot which allowed another West Ham defender to clear the goalbound effort off the line. Hylton and then Peter Vincenti also went close as the League Two side dominated the opening exchanges.
True to recent form though, with Shots on top, they conceded, to West Ham's first effort on goal. After some excellent defensive work, Shots skipper Ben Herd strode forward and passed the ball inside toward Jamie Collins. However, the referee inadvertently got in Collins way allowing Junior Stanislas to collect the ball, shift it to the right and curl a wicked strike around Jamie Young's outstretched dive from some 25 yards.
Stanislas tried to repeat the feat just a few minutes later, but this time Young was equal to it, flying to his left to pull off a great save. Shots soon recovered their composure however and had the home side on the back foot for much of the rest of the first half.
The signs looked encouraging for Shots at the break and with Holdsworth urging them to keep believing, they tore into the home side at the start of the second half. Bursting clear of the Hammers defence, Hylton was hauled down on the edge of the box by debutant Kyle McNaughton, who was immediately shown a red card, for a professional foul. Collins went close with the free kick, the ball deflecting out for a corner, but with more than a suspicion of handball.
Collins again, Guttridge and then Alex Rodman all went close as the normally shot-shy Shots let fly from all angles, peppering the home side goal again and again. Holdsworth's side used their extra man to great effect and kept the ball superbly - coupling it with a cutting edge not seen as yet this season.
With just 12 minutes left, Shots finally got the goal they so richly deserved. Substitute Jermaine McGlashan broke free on the right and his half cleared cross arrived at the feet of Rodman, who shifted the ball inside and struck for goal. Hammers keeper Boffin could only parry it into the path of Guttridge, who instantly swung his left foot and buried the ball in the net from 5 yards to send the Shots fans into frenzy.
Could Shots hold on and force extra-time was most probably the thought of even the more optimistic of fans, but Holdsworth's players, now brimming with confidence, had other ideas. Rankine went close twice and McGlashan threw himself full length only to head just over and then finally, after more good work from Rodman, Hylton struck gold. Receiving the ball some 20 yards out, he unleashed a crisply struck drive, which shot across one defender, beyond Boffin's despairing dive and into the net.
This was Aldershot's night....the cup shock that we've waited some 20 years for. Even for those of us with even longer memories, this performance and victory is right up there with THAT night at Molineux and the last gasp victory at Torquay. Hylton scored on that night too...he was just a boy then, but tonight, the boy became a man and sent us all home with a memory....a moment, that will stay with us forever!
Shots: Young 7, Herd 8, Morris 7, Jones 7, Straker 7, Rodman 8, Guttridge 8, Collins 7, Vincenti 7, Taylor 7, Hylton 9 Subs used: McGlashan 7, Rankine 7.
Attendance: 19,879 (approx 2150 Shots fans).