FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Review
Where to start with this round? Such a marvellous plethora of interest. The disparity between sides in this round must make it one of the most potentially exciting rounds of the tournament, with the notable exception of the 3rd Round proper, the promised land. In 2Q we have teams from level 10 of the football pyramid right through to level 6 – and there were two ties that pitted the lowest placed against the highest.
There were 80 ties in this round and a huge number of them featured the potential for upsets, with teams from different tiers playing each other in 67 of the ties. It turned out that, of those 67, there were just 14 upsets. We say ‘just’ but we’ve no idea, beyond anecdotal evidence, to know whether that’s good or bad? However, in the vast majority of those cases, there was just one tier difference between the sides so the shock factor was much diminished.
In fact, there were only two major upsets in this round, both of those featured shocks by teams two tiers lower than their opponents. Along with the large number of failed coups, this round proved a step too far for the lowest ranked sides left. The 10 lowest sides were all knocked out, some brutally, some pluckily and some unfortunately.
Let’s start with those plucky losers. As they are flying high at the top of the National League North, beating Solihull Moors was always going to require a Herculean effort by any team, especially one three tiers and 86 places below them. Oadby Town, currently 19th in the United Counties League Premier division, made a decent fist of it. The Poachers lived up to their name and took the lead in the 10th minute through Ollie Browning and it stayed that way until the 77th when Asante headed an equaliser for Moors. Oadby held out until 4 minutes from time and then conceded a third in injury time to lose 3-1.
There were three tiers between the next two sides, though not as many places. Bath City, 4th in the National South and going well were away at Bodmin Town, the 3rd lowest placed team left but themselves streaking clear at the top of the South West Peninsula League. Bath were one up at half time but Bdmin controlled the game after the re-start and deservedly equalised. Frankie Artus scored Bath’s winner with a screamer from the edge of the box with just 10 minutes left. Excellent effort from Bodmin who lost key defender Steve Simmonds before the game as his wife was about to give birth.
— Kevin Marriott (@kjmarriott57) September 26, 2015
The lowest placed team left in the tournament was Oxfordshire’s Hook Norton. Their opposition, Weston-Super-mare, despite being four tiers higher up, were languishing at the bottom of the National League South, so the scent of an upset hung heavy in the air. There was no goal action until the 80th minute when Weston took the lead from a penalty but Hook Norton went straight up the other end and equalised. It was well into injury time when Weston’s Scott Wilson scored the winner making the final score 2-1 and the Hellenic League side, 71 places below Weston, were out.
There were a number of other ties that feature teams separated by two divisions and two of those were the biggest upsets.
Shock Of The Round?
Uxbridge’s Jon-Jo Bates was the hero as the Southern League (Division 1 Central) side pulled off the biggest surrise of the round, beating National League South’s Dartford at their own Princes Park ground. Bates scored in the 15th minute and the Reds held out for the most famous of 1-0 wins. You have to go back to the 80s for Uxbridge’s last sizeable scalp, Yeading (ironically, they also beat Hayes a few years earlier).
The other big shock came in South Wales where a second half goal was enough to send Hartley Wintney of the Combined Counties Premier League through at the expense of Merthyr Town of the Southern League Premier. And if you’re in any doubt about what it means …
We've only gone and bloody done it!!! Merthyr 0 – 1 Hartley
— Hartley Wintney FC (@HartleyFC) September 26, 2015
There were no other shocks with such disparity between the two sides, not yet anyway. Two Northern League sides, Washington and Newton Aycliffe live to fight another day. Aycliffe earned a creditable home draw against North Ferriby Utd, currently 6th in the National League North while Washington did the same against Marine. Washington’s game was arguably the highlight of the Northern League’s day as they were away from home, fell behind twice and then led 3-2 at half time. Marine’s Lewis Codling equalised with 20 minutes to go and they must now go back to Washington for the replay on Tuesday, assuming they wish to continue in the FA Cup.
Other two-tier underdogs earning themselves a replay were Larkhall, Winchester City and Taunton Town. Bath’s Larkhall managed an impressive 1-1 draw against the National South’s Havant & Waterlooville while Winchester held Maidenhead 1-1 and Taunton held South West giants Truro City 2-2. All three may well rue chances missed because all face tricky away trips in their replays if they are to go through to the 3rd Qualifying Round.
Next, the tabloid story of the round – and one everyone’s probably heard or seen already. Worcester City, struggling in the National League North, were 1-0 up in injury time at United Counties side Holbeach United when the home side got a late free kick. Holbeach keeper Ricky Drury was urged forward and then this happened …
You can’t get better than a bicycle kick equaliser from your keeper in that situation. Three tiers and 52 places separated the sides at kick off, nothing separated them at full time. Replay Tuesday.
The final upset of real note came at Wimborne. The Magpies were only one tier above Blackfield & Langley so a defeat was not earth-shattering but the manner of it was. At home and slight favourites Wimborne crashed 6-1 with B&L’s Rico Wilson scoring a 9 minute hatrick.
After the demise of the ten minnows, Brockenhurst are now the lowest placed side left in the Cup after beating AFC Portchester 1-0. Brockenhurst are currently 16th in the Wessex Premier League in the 9th tier of English football and eleven other sides from that tier will be in Monday’s draw, though four will require replays to actually participate.
Three other notable scores from the round. Consett of the Northern League took the lead at home to Bradford Park Avenue, three tiers further up the food chain but Avenue scored two late goals to get some relief and restore the natural order of things.
— Devon Rowcliffe (@WhoAteTheSquid) September 26, 2015
At Clarence Park St Albans were cruising 2-0 when Deal, three tiers and 68 places below them forced a nervy last few minutes by getting what unfrotanutely turned out to be a consolation. Hayes & Yeading of the National South were 3-0 down at home to the Southern Premier side Poole before pulling back two late goals that also proved insufficient and lost 2-3. Poole’s second goal was the pick, a lovely deft lob from the edge of the box.
— fcvideo (@fc_video) September 26, 2015
Good luck to Brockenhurst and Coleshill in the draw, the lowest placed teams remaining in the Cup. Will they be looking for another minnow to guarantee the best chance of a shot at one of the big boys in Q4, or will they fancy a big local tie now?
The Lowest Ranked Teams Left In The FA Cup
Brockenhurst 16th Wessex Premier
Coleshill Town 16th Midland Premier
Whitley Bay 14th Northern League
Newton Aycliffe 11th Northern League
Sporting Khalsa 8th Midland Premier
Blackfield & Langley 7th Wessex Premier
Hoddesdon Town 6th Spartan South Midland Premier
Horsham YMCA 5th Southern Combination
Holbeach Utd 4th United Counties Premier
Eastbourne Town 4th Southern Combination
Washington 3rd Northern League
Hartley Wintney 3rd Combined Counties Premier
Full 2Q Results >>> therealfacup.co.uk/results/facup/