Few, if any, would have predicted the participants in this year's final but for many Portsmouth against Cardiff - and specifically the notable absence of any of the `big four' - is a breath of fresh air. Here we look at how the finalists booked their places at Wembley.
Third Round - Ipswich
A classic banana-skin in waiting, Ipswich gave their opponents little or no breathing space at Portman Road. In an otherwise evenly-matched contest, a rare moment of joy for out-of-favour Pompey striker David Nugent handed Harry Redknapp's side a 1-0 win.
Fourth Round - Plymouth
A fifth-minute goal from Chris Clark meant Portsmouth had to come from behind to book their place in the last 16. A first goal at Fratton Park for transfer-window capture Lassana Diarra restored parity before Niko Kranjcar got in on the act to complete the turnaround.
Fifth Round - Preston
A third consecutive clash against Championship opposition and, once more,
Pompey were able to justify their higher placing in the league structure. Such a result was achieved by the slenderest of margins at Deepdale, Darren Carter putting the ball past his own keeper for the only goal of the game.
Quarter-final - Manchester United
The late sending-off of Tomasz Kuszczak left United with Rio Ferdinand in goal and Portsmouth with a penalty, which Sulley Muntari duly converted. United felt they should have had a penalty of their own early in the game when Cristiano Ronaldo was bundled over in the box by Sylvain Distin.
Semi-final - West Brom
As the Premier League's solitary last-four representative, the Fratton Park club realised they may never have a better chance at Wembley glory. A nervy first period could not prise the teams apart as the Baggies lived up to Harry Redknapp's billing of being the best side in the Championship `by a mile'. Eventually, former Albion striker Kanu scored the only goal of the game in a move which included a possible handball by Milan Baros.
Third Round - Chasetown
The Bluebirds looked in danger of becoming the victims of an outrageous piece of cup magic when the non-league minnows took an unlikely lead after 17 minutes.
But order was soon restored as Peter Whittingham, Aaron Ramsey and Paul Parry made it 3-1.
Fourth Round - Hereford
Another visit to lower-ranked opposition as City travelled to Edgar Street. Kevin McNaughton set up the win before Steven Thompson sealed a 2-1 success from the penalty spot.
Fifth Round - Wolves
Championship opposition this time around, but a home draw ensured the Ninian Park faithful would be in support. Whittingham put the hosts ahead inside two minutes before Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, a cup finalist with Chelsea, sealed the 2-0 win.
Quarter-final - Middlesbrough
A first top-flight scalp for Dave Jones' side as Boro joined the glut of Premier League departures from the competition. Whittingham was again on target first up, making it 1-0 after nine minutes before former Wycombe defender Roger Johnson doubled the lead.
Semi-final - Barnsley
Simon Davey's gutsy South Yorkshire side came into the match well-versed in
David versus Goliath contests having memorably ousted Liverpool and Chelsea in previous rounds.
They came unstuck against a team much closer to them on the league ladder,
though, as Cardiff snuck an early lead through Joe Ledley and stayed ahead for the remaining 81 minutes, with Kayode Odejayi missing the Tykes' best chance.