As the 2016/17 FA Cup got under way last night and three clubs are already out, it seems harsh to drop our annual awards celebrating the successes of last season’s trophy.
But here we go. First, a huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the site last season in what will probably go down as our last full season of FA Cuppery. Huge thanks, without you this site would have out-stayed it’s welcome far sooner!
GOAL OF THE SEASON
One of last season’s feel-good stories of the cup was in the 2nd Qualifying Round. 1-0 down in injury time at home to a side three tiers above them, Holbeach United send up keeper Ricky Drury for a free kick. Seconds later and after an impeccable bicycle kick Worcester find themselves requiring a replay. While this may not be the *best* goal of the FA Cup, it was an excellent finish and, in context, crucial and from an unexpected source.
Notable mention – Witheridge, who were at the time 18th in the South West Peninsula league, upset the odds by winning 2-1 away at Street thanks to a classic own goal. Witheridge’s Kai Fisher headed against the bar, the ball rebounded, hit the keeper on the back and went in. Win.
UPSET OF THE CUP
Another notable mention, this time for Uxbridge United, their 1-0 away win at Dartford in the second qualifying round was immense but three teams did better.
Salford City were the media darlings with their 2-0 home win over Notts County. Salford were three tiers below their League 2 counterparts but that was also the case for Chesham in their 1-0 away win at Bristol Rovers.
But, the win of the tournament will arguably be Boreham Wood 1-2 Northwich Victoria. Northwich were never behind in a tie where they had drawn 1-1 in the home leg and seemingly wasted their big opportunity of an upset, before taking a 2-0 lead into the final minute in North London against a side three tiers above them. Watch highlights here.
TEAM OF THE SEASON
The 2015/16 FA Cup final was one of the more dreary in recent years, which is quite an achievement given some of the competition. Similarly, non league interest fell at a traditional hurdle with the last team bowing out at the 3rd Round stage. But, until that point, it had been a strong showing from the qualifiers, with ten teams making the 2nd Round and some mighty upsets in the 1st Round.
In terms of distance, the National League side Eastleigh were the non league flag bearers by being the only one left come Round 3, where they drew 1-1 with Bolton before losing the replay 3-2 at the Reebok, or whatever it’s currently called.
In terms of headlines it was Notts County’s 2-0 shellacking by the Northern Premier League’s Salford City that grabbed attention. But in Real FA Cup terms, here’s the final six teams of The 2015/16 Real FA Cup:
6. Didcot United
Didcot played in 6 rounds thanks to their 5 cup victories, two of which came against sides in the tier above them. A notable 4-2 victory over Ryman League Brentwood saw them draw Exeter City in Round One where they lost 3-0. But those six rounds were a feat equalled by the next four teams.
5. Sporting Khalsa
Khalsa were a big story and matched Didcot’s achievement but managed to lose by just the 2 goals to FC United of Manchester in the 4th Qualifying Round.
4th. Chesham United
In previous season’s scoring systems, Chesham would have been 6th but by dint of their above mentioned away win over League 2’s Bristol Rovers in the 1st Round and, thus, getting to the 2nd Round Proper, they take 4th.
Regulars in these annual awards, Stourbridge defeated fellow 7th tier side Rushall Olympic and two Vanarama National sides, including the once mighty Kidderminster Harriers, before annoyingly drawing a third consecutive one in the 2nd Round. They lost to Eastleigh.
2nd. Salford City
What with its’ famous connections, you couldn’t keep Salford City off the telly for most of last November and December. They’d already beaten Curzon Ashton and Bradford Park Avenue from a tier above them and Southport from two tiers above them when the got a crack at Notts County. After their 2-0 win they also took League 2’s Hartlepool to a replay before finally bowing out.
1st Northwich Victoria
The Vics record in this seasons’ FA Cup surpassed all. They played more games (9), they played in more rounds (7) and won more games (6) than any other team. Their record of beating sides above them matched Salford’s: two vanquished from a tier above, Hyde and Marine, the former twice having been fortunate to only be forced into a replay after fielding an ineligible player; one beaten from two tiers above (Chorley) and one beaten from three tiers above Boreham Wood 1-2 Northwich Victoria. They couldnt quite manage to beat a side four tiers above them, there run came to and end in the 2nd Round with a narrow 3-2 away defeat at League 2’s Northampton Town.
So, congrats to the Vics for an excellent FA Cup in 2015/16. We’re now off to ruminate. You won’t see so much on here this season but thanks for reading in the past.