Victorious boss Steve Evans admits his grandchildren will hear about Stevenage’s stunning FA Cup win over Aston Villa for years to come.
The League Two promotion hunters scored two late goals to seal a stunning 2-1 third-round victory at Villa Park.
Dean Campbell’s 90th-minute winner came just two minutes after Jamie Reid equalized from the penalty spot and Leander Dendoncker was sent off for fouling Campbell in the box.
It was an embarrassing exit for Villa, who took the lead in the first half thanks to Morgan Sanson, and Stevenage’s win comes exactly 12 years after they also eliminated Newcastle in the third round.
“I have grandchildren, little Joseph, James and Mimi, who we’ll be hearing about over the next few years,” Evans said after booking his fourth round trip to Stoke.
“I’ve had some magical moments, I’ve been responsible for a lot of victories over champion clubs, but if you go to a Premier League club like Aston Villa… it’s there with them.
“It’s magical for the players, the chairman and the city of Stevenage to see over 3,000 fans and win like we did, that’s the FA Cup and what you dream about.
“I told the players that they would have a dream that they would talk about with their children and grandchildren.
“We stayed in the game and the plan for the whole week was to be in the game at the 75th minute. If we had been in the game on the 75th minute, I knew we had an incredibly capable group and I could use a boy with hearts the size of Big Ben.
Villa struggled to gain the upper hand against the well-rehearsed Stevenage, and the visitors thought they had taken the lead after 17 minutes when Danny Rose converted a Luke Norris cross, only for the offside flag to interrupt the celebration.
The hosts played at one pace but conjured up one quality in the first half to create the opener as Philippe Coutinho, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings teamed up to prepare Sanson for drilling.
Norris cut the bar in response, but Villa’s opener should have provided the basis for a win, but a combination of strong defense and poor finishing kept Stevenage in the game.
Calum Chambers jabbed wide and Bailey unluckily finished the ball off before a stunning finale.
With five minutes left, Robin Olsen found Dendoncker on the edge of his own box and was immediately shut down by Campbell.
The midfielder pulled him back and after referee Graham Scott initially took the free kick, awarded the penalty and sent off the midfielder.
Reid buried a penalty and two minutes later Stevenage completed his dramatic comeback. Villa switched off for a short corner and Campbell let it go through and beat Olsen at his near post.
“We have to continue this process, be very demanding like me, but maybe more now,” boss Unai Emery said.
“Each game gives us more information. I want to work with the players, I want to create a bigger mentality. Sometimes this (loss) can be the first step.
“We cannot think we are better and we are Aston Villa and they are in League Two. I’m upset, disappointed, I feel sorry for our fans.
“When they scored in the last five minutes we were nervous and we didn’t control our minds. I know sometimes we have to lose and make mistakes. We must learn as soon as possible, thinking that we can create a new way.”