With just one Preliminary Round contest still to be resolved (involving Hartley Wintney again!), 343 clubs have now departed this season’s FA Cup competition.
There were some notable resounding victories, particularly by away teams: Lancaster City won 7-0 at Washington; Glossop North End by the same score at Maltby Main; Market Drayton Town and Shortwood United both hitting six at Dudley Town and Shrivenham respectively. There were also some humdingers, particularly in replays, as Cleethorpes Town beat Gresley 5-4, Scarborough Athletic won on penalties after sharing eight goals with North Shields, Bishop Auckland beat Jarrow Roofing Boldon Community Association 4-3, and Salford City won 6-3 against Congleton Town.
The stand-out match of the round on paper didn’t disappoint, either, as two bitter rivals from the County town of Buckinghamshire fought out a five goal thriller in Bedfordshire. The Moles of Aylesbury twice coming from behind to beat their more senior opponents, The Ducks of Aylesbury United, winning 3-2 to progress further in the competition than their rivals for only the second time.
Several clubs tempered their disappointment of being knocked out in the Preliminary Round with the knowledge that they had achieved their best ever performance in the FA Cup. This group of teams includes Canterbury City, Codicote, Mole Valley SCR, St Francis Rangers, Winterbourne United and nine sides making their first foray into this prestigious competition. AFC Emley, Alresford Town, Ascot United, Fisher, Holmesdale, Kirby Muxloe, Shawbury United, Shepton Mallet and Wellington all equalled their best ever performances, too, along with Ashford United, Cheltenham Saracens, Sporting Khalsa and West Didsbury & Chorlton who have always reached this round in all of their short histories in the Cup.
Several FA Cup debutants remain in the competition; Bedfont & Feltham, Cleethorpes Town, Clipstone, Darlington 1883, Ellistown & Ibstock United, FC Romania, Haverhill Borough and Knaphill, and all of these teams will be hoping to repeat the feat of Coalville Town who made it all the way to the First Round Proper in their first season in 2004/05.
A 1-0 defeat at home to Runcorn Town means that Northern Premier League Division One South outfit Goole FC has been eliminated at the Preliminary Round stage for each of the last eight seasons. Hot on their heels with five successive knock-outs at this stage is Congleton Town.
Many sides with long FA Cup records have equalled their worst performance in the competition. Eastbourne Town (66 seasons – best 4th Qualifying Round), Walton & Hersham (69 – 2nd Round Proper), Brigg Town (78 – 1st Round Proper), and Kendal Town (84 – 2nd Round Proper) all fall into this camp
Beating AFC Emley and Maltby Main respectively has set up a very noteworthy tie in the 1st Qualifying Round as Northwich Victoria will take on Glossop North End. The two clubs have 197 FA Cup campaigns between them and first faced each other in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the 1895/96 competition when they were both members of The Combination. In that contest Glossop North End ran out 4-1 winners. It’ll be interesting to see if they can repeat that scoreline against their higher league opponents this time around!
Words: Phil Annets
Phil is an FA Cup historian, the designer of Whirred PLAY and is on Twitter @PhilAnnets.
Preliminary Round Reports: