the real fa cup


2nd Qual Review

The disparity between sides in this round must make it one of the most potentially exciting rounds of the tournament

1st Qualifying Round Review

With the preliminaries out of the way, we head into phase two of the FA Cup. The First Qualifying Round sees the entry of level seven teams. Here lie some genuine giants of the non league game, teams who’ve felt the warm glow of the ‘propers’ and basked in the limelight of cup shocks, albeit some time ago in many cases. Leatherhead, Kettering Town, Blyth Spartans, Matlock Town Grays Athletic. They’ve all been there before but, at this stage of the competition, it is they who fear the blade of David’s axe and missing out on the £3,000 prize money. The biggest name to go was, without a shadow of a doubt, Blyth Spartans. As recently as last season Spartans were bothering Championship side Birmingham City in the 3rd Round. 2-0 up at half time the Northern Premier League side simply couldn’t hold on and fell 3-2 by the end. A shade over 8 months later and Spartans got a taste of their own medicine losing 2-1, in front of a mighty 870 fans, to a Spennymoor Town side who themselves were one of the non league teams of last year’s tournament. The Ryman League fared particularly badly in this round. There were bigger shocks than Hendon’s 3-1 defeat at AFC Sudbury from the league below but few were more comprehensive and fair. Lewes also lost to lower Ryman opposition, going down 2-0 to Phoenix Sports. Ipswich Wanderers of the Eastern Counties League pulled off a major shock by beating Canvey Island 1-0. Another Ryman Premier side to fall was Burgess Hill Town. Last year’s giant killers of Sutton United went down 2-1 at Southern Counties East League side Horsham YMCA from two tiers below. The Southern League Premier’s more well known sides didn’t do much better. Weymouth went down 3-1 to Petersfield Town from the tier below, Histon got thumped 5-1 at home by Ryman 1 North side Aveley, while the same fate befell Cambridge City, losing 2-1 to AFC Hornchurch. Hitchin got away with a 1-1 draw against United Counties league’s Peterborough Sports, three tiers below them. Redditch, however, didn’t get away with it, they suffered the biggest shock of the round by losing 2-1 to Hinckley from three tiers and 63 places in the pyramid below them. The other major shock came at Sutton Coldfield where Oadby won 1-0 at a side two tiers above them in the pyramid. At the start of play there were eleven teams from level 10 still left. The five lowest placed teams left all lost, leaving Hinckley as the biggest giant killer and the lowest placed team left. Hook Norton are next after they shocked Eastbourne United from one tier up. The South West Peninsula League leaders Bodmin Town also went through with a 2-0 win over Western League counterparts Almondsbury. Holwell Sports and Peterborough Sports are also in the hat for Monday’s draw but will need replays on Tuesday and Monday respectively.

Preliminary Round Review

In this week’s review we’ll have a look at some of the local derbies in this year’s Preliminary Round, the lowest placed teams still in the Cup, sides with previous Cup pedigree and how some of last year’s Cup heroes got on. Last season’s stand-out giant killers were Warrington Town who did non league, and themselves, proud by beating Exeter City 1-0 live on the actual telly in the 1st Round. The Yellows had a bad start to the week when burglars broke in, stole and damaged thousands of pounds worth of equipment at their ground. Yellows manager Shaun Reid was, rightly, furious and his misery was compounded in the 59th minute of Saturday’s cup tie against Abbey Hey when Jay McCarten’s 59th minute own goal gave Abbey a 3-2 win. Another of last year’s success stories, Spennymoor (who eventually lost to AFC Telford in the 4th Qualifying Round), remain in the competition with a 0–0 draw away at Harrogate Railway, onlookers suggesting it was a very tight game of few chances. Greenwich Borough remain on course to emulate last year’s record achievement of the 4th Qualifying Round. Their 4-0 rout of Beckenham Town was helped by a brace by Mohammed Eisa. The four lowest placed clubs in the competition, Witheridge, Wincanton Town, Christchurch and Long Buckby, had an unsurprisingly mixed day. The lowest ranked side, Witheridge, currently 18th in the South West Peninsula league, upset the odds by winning 2-1 away at Street thanks to an own goal, this time courtesy of that all-time comedy classic rebound off the back of the keeper – after a Kai Fisher header came back off the bar. Wincanton Town, 17th in the Western League, lost 5-1 to Winchester while Christchurch (14th in the Wessex League) lost in a thrilling 6-3 away at Bradford Town. The 4th lowest placed side, Long Buckby, came up with one of the biggest upsets of the round and in a local derby to boot. Two years ago Daventry Town were one of the best non league performers in the FA Cup, beating Grays on the way to a 1st Round tie with League 2’s Chesterfield. This season Daventry were on the other side of the giant killing equation, losing 2-1 to Long Buckby, a side two tiers below them in the pyramid but just 10 miles the other side of the M1. In London, the closest ‘derby’ in the competition ended in a draw. North Greenford United had a lengthy 1.4 mile journey up the road to Wembley FC, who must now do the opposite arduous  journey on Tuesday night after the first game ended 1-1. Jeyson N’Zambi put Greenford in front and Zaied Sabti equalised just after half time. The Fenland derby ended Wisbech Town  0-1 Holbeach United, the Tigers coming out on top thanks to a 62nd minute goal by Gary King. In the North Norfolk derby Wroxham went in front after just two minutes but Fakenham Town scored twice just before half time to go in ahead. Jack Garrod equalised for the Yachtsmen after 77 minutes and then grabbed an injury time winner to send Wroxham through to another North Norfolk derby against Kings Lynn Town. The derby between Mildenhall and Soham Town Rangers served up a cracker and a shock for the 182 fans present. Mildenhall of the Eastern Counties League took the lead early on thanks to Kelvin Enaro but the Ryman League’s Soham quickly equalised through Ben Sawyer. A Luke Catchpole brace put the home side 3-1 up at half time but, although Rangers were back in it after an hour, there was to be no comeback. With about a quarter of an hour to go, a quick pair of Mildenhall goals from Enaro and Dave Cooper gave Mildenhall a famous 5-2 victory and an upset to boot. Another derby on Friday night in Wantage produced arguably the best comeback of the round. From 3-0 down after an hour Didcot Town got back on level terms with just ten minutes to go and then snuck a winner in injury time to compete a remarkable 4-3 turnaround. Friday’s other great comeback came at Marine’s ground where ‘home side’ AFC Liverpool came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against higher league opponents Radcliffe Borough. It’s been a while since these historical feats happened (over 100 years to be honest) but this round features a past FA Cup semi finalist and two quarter finalists. Marlow competed in the first ever FA Cup in 1872, ten years later they lost to Old Etonians 5-0 in the semi final at the Kennington Oval. And they remain in this year’s competition after coming from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Godalming Town. Past quarter finalists Glossop North End won 2-1 at home to Prescot Cable thanks to a late goal by substitute Tom Bailey, while fellow former QFers Sheffield FC were held 1-1 away at Goole. With the draw for the 1st Qualifying Round already made, two Loughborough sides were given the incentive of a Loughborough derby if they won their Preliminary Round games. However, Dynamo lost 2-1 at home to Basford and University lost 3-1 at home to Long Eaton. Bamber Bridge’s captain Paul McKenna is one of the few players in the Preliminary Round to have played 25 games in the FA Cup proper, though he never got past the 5th Round with Preston, Nottingham Forest or Hull City. He’ll get to notch up at least one more appearance in the Qualifying Rounds though as Bridge earned a 1-1 draw away at Mossley, replay on Tuesday. As well as the nine goal thriller at Bradford Town, Dorking Wanderers beat Canterbury City 6-2, Aveley managed the same score away at FC Clacton and Runcorn Linnets put six past Pontefract Collieries without reply. East Grinstead Town’s trip to Molesey didn’t go so well, they lost 7-1. 5-4 winners in a crazy game in the last round, Cove came thumping back down to earth by getting humped 7-0 on their own ground by North Leigh. On Sunday, in a lower league version of the Old Farm derby, Norfolk’s Thetford hosted Suffolk’s Bury Town. An amazing first 36 minutes saw 8 [eight] goals. Bury going in at half time 3-5 to the good. As is often the case, the second half was 0-0, robbing the disgruntled crowd of the proverbial cricket score. But the biggest winners of the weekend were South Park. A second half Karl Parker hatrick on top of seven other goalscorers (bet that hasn’t happened for a while?) gave the away side a rather convincing 10-1 victory over Holmesdale. Despite South Park’s 10 goal haul this round wasn’t quite the goal-fest of the Extra Preliminary Round. So, our highlight of the round goes to Danny Watson of St Ives. Irate at what he felt was some rough-house treatent, Danny reacted by getting booked for pulling down the shorts of his Norwich United opponent in their 1-1 draw. Norwich United scored a late equaliser through Matthew Blake in the 92nd minute to keep the Eastern Counties Premier League side in the Cup.

It’s All Over

Final instalment of Phil Annets round-ly reviews. The Real FA Cup is over for another year, all non league sides extinguished. Salut.

The Magnificent Seven

Phil Annets reviews a cracking 1st Round for the non league sides, perhaps why the draw for the 2nd Round was so underwhelming!

From Smallthorne to Big Time

Phil Annets Round Up of the FA Cup’s winners and losers in the 4th Qualifying Round. Torquay fail to make the 1st Round for the first time in 86 years!

Non League Day
Bobby Robson Foundation