The 2014/15 FA Cup is now over. Unless you’ve been in a cave you’ll know that Santi Cazorla amused everyone with his cheeky photographic antics and the actual victors of the actual FA Cup *Sponsored by No One* were the Woolwich Arsenal, south London’s second finest football club!
OK, it was a distinctly one-sided final but it was still pretty entertaining unless you happen to be an Aston Villa fan, the Prime Minister dodged a bullet there, eh? Overall, interest in the FA Cup seemed to be slightly increased this year, from the very early rounds right up to the final – aside from the now traditional yawn and lull for the 4th Round Proper. There were some notable ‘Giant Killings’ to keep everyone amused *waves at Chelsea*, some eyebrows raised by some minnows *waves at Blyth Spartans and Bradford City* and the BBC innovated with the early rounds to bring some added cheer to an embattled tournament.
So, congratulations Arsenal, the clear team of the season in the FA Cup. But we’re all about the early rounds, so who gets our vote as non league team of the season? We’re often asked how we work this out and it’s usually the non league side who gets through the most rounds, the one who wins the most games or who provides the biggest shock. But, sometimes, it’s just what feels right. This season we’ve been, we think, entirely reasonable.
Last season’s winners were Brislington, based purely on the fact that they managed the biggest ‘giant killing’ in the whole cup, vanquishing a side 64 places above them in the football pyramid.
There were similar sized upsets this season. Coventry City 1-2 Worcester City in the 1st Round caught the most headlines, as much for the manner in which Worcester played the 1987 FA Cup winners off the park for most of the game as the result itself. Worcester almost replicated the feat in the 3rd Round by taking Scunthorpe to extra time and only falling short at the end of the 2nd longest penalty shoot out in FA Cup history.
Hartlepool Unted 1-2 Blyth Spartans in the 2nd Round was another candidate for shock of the season and, had Blyth managed to hold on to their 2-0 half time lead in the 3rd Round against Birmingham it would have classed as one of the biggest shocks of all time.
But the biggest giant killers of all were Warrington Town. A 60 minute display of vibrancy was followed up with 30 minutes of stoic defence as they beat League 1’s Exeter City 1-0 in the 1st Round on a nippy Friday night live on the telly. Just the four tiers and 100 places separated the two sides in the football pyramid.
Biggest Giant Killing:
Warrington Town 1-0 Exeter City (BBC Highlights here)
Warrington Town also managed the joint highest number of ‘giant killings’ in this season’s cup, beating a team from a higher league on four occasions. This was equalled only by Shildon who managed to get through five rounds of the cup, four times beating a team from a higher league.
Most Giant Killings:
1. Shildon 4
2. Warrington Town 4
Arsenal won six games in winning the FA Cup final. Quite an achievement, even if they were one of the favourites. Similarly, Aston Villa and Bradford won five, probably even greater achievements given the former’s abject season and the latter beating Premier League Champions Chelsea on their way to the Quarter Finals.
But cast your mind back a little and some non league sides matched those feats. Willand Rovers, Greenwich Borough, Maidstone United and Shildon all equalled Villa and Bradford’s feat by winning five FA Cup matches. But Blyth Spartans and Warrington Town equalled Arsenal by winning six.
Most FA Cup Wins By A Non League Side:
1. Warrington Town 6
1. Blyth Spartans 6
3. Shildon 5
3. Maidstone United 5
3. Greenwich Borough 5
3. Willand Rovers 5
So, if you glance through these lists above you get a feel for who we’re going to pick as team of the season. Blyth, Warrington and Shildon are clearly the top three names. Blyth and Warrington won the most games but Warrington edge it by dint of the fact that they beat more sides from higher up the pyramid and had the biggest shock.
Congratulations Warrington Town, The Real FA Cup 2015 Team Of The Season!
Photo From FourFourTwo
And if this isn’t enough, here’s our Goal Of The Season Round Up.
Finally, a big thanks to those who have contributed pieces to the website this season, notably Phil Annets, Glen Wilson, Rob Langham, Chris Walker, Paul Barnett, Phil Ascough, Ian Rands, Michael Hudson and Graham Yapp. Cheers all.
Roll on August.
2015 Winners Warrington Town
2014 Winners Brislington
2013 Winners Hastings United
2012 Winners Redbridge FC
2011 Winners FC United of Manchester
2010 Winners Wealdstone