The Cowley brothers, manager Danny and assistant Nicky, have gone from shaping young minds as PE teachers, to shaping the fortunes of Lincoln City Football Club after taking over at Sincil Bank last summer.
At Turf Moor on Saturday lunchtime, the pair achieved history by steering Lincoln to the last eight of the FA Cup when Sean Raggett rose above a cluster of Clarets player to guide his header past goalkeeper Tom Heaton, seeing the National League leaders continue an incredible cup run that could see them earn over £1m.
Reflecting on an extraordinary day, manager Danny said: “It was an incredible feeling to win the game like we did in the 89th minute.
“We tried to break the game down into sections and when it was still 0-0 after 15 minutes, my brother (assistant, Nicky) said he felt like doing a knee-slide to celebrate.”
Raggett, the 23-year-old defender who was responsible for dumping Burnley out of the competition, described the triumph as “completely crazy.”
By advancing from the fifth round proper, the Imps are the first non-league team since Queens Park Rangers in 1914 to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
They are now just one win from Wembley after already seeing off Championship opposition in the form of Ipswich Town and Brighton and Hove Albion this season.
There have been comparisons made about the sibling duo to a legend of football management. In December 1972, the late Graham Taylor, then aged 28, was appointed at Lincoln. Taylor guided City to the fourth division championship in 1976.
Sean Dyche made six changes to his Burnley side from last weekend’s draw with Chelsea, as they welcomed Lincoln to East Lancashire.
However, unlike some of his other top-flight managers, Dyche sent out a strong side of mainly first-teamers.
But after seeing his side exit, Dyche praised how Lincoln went about their play in his post-match press conference.
“All credit to them. They have a back four that don’t go anywhere and play it to the big man,” admitted the Burnley boss.
“They approached it as a lower league team should, with organisation rather than flair, by keeping it simple and not overthinking it.”
It was apparent right from the off that the Clarets would not have it all of their own way, on a crisp, late winter’s afternoon in the shadows of the Pennine Moors.
It was an old school giant killing that restored faith in the FA Cup, but Lincoln City fully deserved their victory. This was no fluke.
Lincoln were well set-up to contend with any threat from their Premier League opponents, frustrating the majority of the Turf Moor crowd in the process.
Their direct game plan revolved around Matt Rhead, who made his mark early on by clattereing Joey Barton and tussling with James Tarkowski.
Lincoln’s Jack Mundoon ballooned over inside seven minutes before Burnley hit back with chances of their own. Andre Gray could have perhaps done better when, under pressure, he could only shoot low into the grasp of Paul Farman.
Barton then aimed a well-struck volley straight at Farman, while Scott Arfield lashed over the crossbar from Tarkowski’s knock-down.
Early in the second-half, Gray poked Barton’s left-sided free-kick off target. Minutes later, Lincoln target man Rhead clashed with Barton again as things got heated.
Just after the hour, Barton stood on the striker’s foot, then embarrassingly threw himself to the ground in an attempt to get referee Graham Scott to take action.
Shortly after, Alex Woodyard was was upended by George Boyd on the edge of the area. Barton intervened to join Jon Flanagan in pushing Terry Hawkridge to the ground, an event which caused both sets of players to boil over.
Burnley looked for a winner in the closing stages, and Gray squandered a shot by scuffing Tendayi Darikwa’s pull-back wide. Michael Keane and substitute Ashley Barnes both glanced over.
As the clock ticked down towards a replay, Lincoln sensed that an upset could be on the cards.
Then, after 89 minutes, a deep corner swung towards the back post by Sam Habergham was glanced back across by Luke Waterfall. Time stood still, before Raggett bundled a header over the line in front of the 3,000-strong army of travelling fans.
Referee Scott had to discuss with his fellow match officials before giving the goal, which ultimately sealed the greatest day in Lincoln City’s 133-year history.
That moment will live forever in the memories of the army of visiting fans that had packed into the David Fishwick stand.
Scenes of unrivalled pandemonium and chants of “Wembley” rang out from the travelling contingent, many of whom had made the early start to travel the 125 miles on a day that they will never forget.
Lincoln still had one hurdle to overcome, however. Burnley were erratically attempting to salvage any slim hope of harbouring a way back into a game that was slipping beyond them.
Additional time brought added pressure, though goalkeeper Farman and his resilient defence battled over the line to secure one hell of an upset.
The celebrations continued for the jubilant Lincoln players and management staff on the Turf Moor pitch long after the final whistle. A quarter-final trip to the Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal could await, should the Gunners beat Sutton United.
Burnley: Heaton, Darikwa, Keane, Tarkowski, Flanagan, Gudmundsson (Boyd, 20), Westwood, Barton, Arfield, Gray, and Vokes (Barnes, 73). Subs not used: Lowton, Mee, Robinson, Ward and Agyei.
Lincoln: Farman, Wood, Waterfall, Raggett, Habergham, Arnold, Woodyard, Power, Hawkridge (Ward, 81), Muldoon (Southwell, 64) and Rhead (McCombe, 91). Subs not used: Marriott, Long, Walton and McMenemy.
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)
Attendance: 19,185 (3,213)