the real fa cup

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.

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Non League Day
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