Against all odds, non-league Lincoln City are through to the FA Cup quarterfinals. The run is no small feat. It's the first time a non-league side has made the quarterfinals since Queen's Park Rangers did it all the way back in 1914.
It all started in the first round, with a 2-1 triumph over Altrincham FC. The Imps opened the scoring in the 21st minute and doubled their lead in the second half, then held on to fend off Altrincham and advance. Back then, nobody could have imagined where they'd wind up.
Lincoln City squared off against League One's Oldham Athletic in the second round of the FA Cup back on Dec. 5, 2016. A pair of early goals from Theo Robinson and Terry Hawkridge put the Imps up early against the Latics. Robinson added another shortly after halftime and it looked like Lincoln City would cruise. But the Sincil Bank faithful were made to sweat, as Oldham Athletic mounted a late comeback. The Imps held on, though, and booked a spot in the third round with the 3-2 victory.
The Imps got a double dose of Championship side Ipswich Town in the third round. After a 2-2 draw in their first go against the Blues, a replay back at home was on the cards. In drama fitting of the FA Cup, Nathan Arnold came up huge in the dying minutes of the replay. The winger combined with substitute Adam Mariott to score in stoppage time, giving the Imps a 1-0 win. Something special was certainly brewing.
The fourth round draw saw Lincoln City pitted against another Championship team in Brighton & Hove Albion. Surprisingly -- or perhaps not -- this round saw their most comprehensive win of the tournament. Aided by a Fikayo Tomori own goal, the Imps secured a 3-1 win against the Seagulls. Amazingly, the Imps of the National League, were into the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Saturday's triumph against Burnley was truly historic. Squaring off against a Premier League side, surely the Imps would be overmatched. That wasn't the case. Lincoln City battled and kept Burnley off the board all match long. A late corner gave Lincoln City the opportunity to score, and they capitalized on the set piece. A looped corner found Luke Waterfall all alone in the box. The Imps captain headed the ball to the far post, where Sean Raggett cleaned up and put his side ahead. Turf Moor, which Burnley had turned into a fortress of sorts, was stunned.
Consider this: Lincoln's manager, Danny Cowley, was working as a P.E. teacher in May 2016. Will the Imps make it all the way to the top? We'll have to wait and see. Either way, their run is already among the best Cinderella stories in the competition's lengthy history.