Four National Premier Leagues clubs are still standing as the FFA Cup gears up for what promises to be a Quarter Final stage steeped in drama.
One side has already made a few unforgettable memories in the competition’s last eight and the past four seasons suggest plenty more will catch the attention this time around.
Amid late equalisers, extra-time winners and penalty shootouts, we get in the mood for the impending show-stoppers by recalling five of our favourite highlights from NPL clubs in the Quarter Finals.
BREAKTHROUGH: Newcastle hand FFA Cup heroes a Hyundai A-League shot
Last-gasp Bentleigh make history
Much of the buzz that made the first year of the FFA Cup so engaging centred on the identity of which NPL club would break through for a Semi Final berth.
One side was certain to earn a shot at the decider and it came down to an unforgettable battle between Bentleigh Greens and Adelaide City.
It appeared certain that decorated former National Soccer League club Adelaide would win the honour when Alex Rideout turned home shortly after half-time.
Bentleigh refused to be disheartened and got their reward in the 88th minute, Wayne Wallace heading in a corner to send the match into extra-time.
Buoyed by the late equaliser, the hosts were cheered on to a famous victory by a frenzied Kingston Heath crowd as Jamie De Abreu completed the stirring comeback in the 104th minute.
Hume inflict Oakleigh heartbreak
An all-NPL encounter in 2015 served up perhaps the match of the tournament.
Hume City hosted what proved to be a humdinger as fellow Victorian side Oakleigh Cannons silenced an expectant crowd, netting twice in the opening 25 minutes.
Theo Markelis had struck in between those goals and it was the one-time Melbourne Victory man that brought Hume back into the contest with a second six minutes from the end.
Afforded an extra half-hour, they needed until the 118th minute to dramatically progress thanks to Marcus Schroen’s winner.
An all-time FFA Cup classic.
Bentleigh frustrate visiting Victory
It was a case of been there, done that and nearly doing it again for Bentleigh two years after their first Quarter Final success.
On this occasion they were the outsiders, entertaining Melbourne Victory after squeezing through back-to-back extra-time encounters in the previous two rounds.
Those exertions made it all the more impressive that they managed to hold out against Kevin Muscat’s men for over an hour at Kingston Heath.
Though Marco Rojas eventually broke the deadlock in the 64th minute and a second quickly followed, it was an entirely admirable effort from a weary Bentleigh side.
Canberra keep the fairytale alive
Only the most intuitive of tipsters could have predicted Canberra Olympic would reach the Quarter Finals in 2016.
But the unheralded ACT outfit got there after edging Queensland clubs Surfers Paradise Apollo and Redlands United. And then went one step further.
Drawn at home to the often competitive Green Gully, Canberra advanced to the Semi-Finals in extraordinary fashion: goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou lashing in an unstoppable 95th-minute penalty to secure a tense 1-0 victory.
The win was made all the more impressive considering they had played the final 30 minutes with just 10 men following Adam Rogic’s dismissal.
Sydney FC ultimately proved too strong in the Semi Finals, but Canberra had a memory to savour.
Blacktown push Wanderers all the way
They finished on the losing side and yet Blacktown City produced one of the finest Quarter Final performances in FFA Cup history 12 months ago.
Trailing to a third-minute Oriol Riera penalty, Blacktown drew on the belief that saw them beat Central Coast Mariners earlier in the competition in order to cause all sorts of headaches for Western Sydney Wanderers.
James Andrews first equalised in the 68th minute and, if that wasn’t stunning enough, the substitute went on to put the underdogs ahead midway through extra-time.
In the end, the Hyundai A-League team averted disaster courtesy of a Riera header and a nerveless showing in the subsequent penalty shootout.
Blacktown nonetheless had every right to be proud of sending an almighty scare through their more fancied opponents.