Enfield Town and their Run to the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round in 2015-16

No. 13 in an occasional series of Club Focused FA Cup specials.

Enfield Town proudly claim that the club was the first ever supporter-owned club, established in 2001 on the back of dissatisfaction of the established Enfield FC moving away from the borough, and forming the template for all future fan-owned clubs such as AFC Wimbledon to follow.

The fledgling club competed in the Essex Senior League and in their third season also competed in the FA Cup for the first ever time. The club’s debut FA Cup opponents were Eastern Counties League Premier outfit Clacton Town, competing in the FA Cup for the 64th time. An own goal as your very first FA Cup goal isn’t something to shout about from the rooftops, but not every club wins their first ever match in the competition, and the 2-1 victory set up a trip to Isthmian league Division Two side Edgware Town, another seasoned FA Cup club.

This time the Town beat their higher league opponents 1-0 to make it two wins out of two FA Cup matches, definitely worth shouting that from the rooftops, but the visit of even higher, more seasoned FA Cup campaigners, Carshalton Athletic, proved a step too far, although the Town were not too disgraced going down by just the one goal to nil.

The Second Qualifying Round was to prove a hurdle the club seemed to struggle to get over, being knocked out at that stage four more times over the next six seasons, at the end of which period the club were now at the level in the pyramid as the Carshalton Athletic club that defeated them in their first campaign had been, the 1st Division North of the Isthmian League.

The following season, 2010/11, the 2nd Qualifying Round hoodoo was broken. After straightforward victories over Waltham Forest and Arlesey Town they were drawn to face Worthing in that season’s 2nd Qualifying Round. A tight game was settled by a solitary goal for Enfield Town to set a new best ever FA Cup run for the club. Their reward was a trip to Conference South side Boreham Wood, a club in the midst of an upward trajectory. A spirited display by the Town ended in a 3-1 defeat, but Enfield Town club history was made.

The Town had to wait five more years, though, before their fans and players could seriously dream about the possibility of competing in the so-called ‘Proper’ Rounds of the competition. By the 2015/16 season, the year of their best ever FA Cup run so far, the club were established members of the Isthmian League Premier Division and a fellow member, Billericay Town, were successfully despatched after a replay in their 1st Qualifying Round tie, thanks to goals from Tyler Campbell and George Brislen-Hall.

Eastern Counties Premier League side Ipswich Wanderers were defeated in the 2nd Qualifying Round courtesy of a Bobby Devyne strike to take the club into the 3rd Qualifying Round for only the second time. A goalless draw with Hitchin Town from the Southern League Premier Division was followed up by a 2-1 win in the replay with Harry Ottaway and Claudiu Vilcu on the scoresheet. The Town were now just one game away from the prospect of potentially facing a League club for the first time.

Southern League Premier Division side Chesham United, though, stood in their way, with the game to be played at their opponent’s The Meadow ground. Two goals down by half-time, The Town rallied in the rain in the second half, but only made the breakthrough in the very last minute of the match thanks to a Harry Ottaway strike. A frenetic end failed to add to the scoreline and the club were out and their dream of meeting a League club was shattered, for now!

The club are currently competing at their highest ever level, and although this latest season didn’t produce the same FA Cup heroics as the one before, it may only be a matter of time before the club put Enfield back on the FA Cup map.

 

Southport and their Run to the FA Cup Quarter Finals in 1930-31

No. 12 in an occasional series of Club Focused FA Cup specials.

Having first entered the FA Cup in the 1882/83 season, there are only 14 clubs still competing in this famous competition that have an older history of competing in it than Southport do.

In those pre-Football League days of the FA Cup there were no Qualifying Rounds meaning that for their first four seasons The Sandgrounders began in the 1st Round. The club’s inaugural FA Cup match was a 1-1 draw at Liverpool Ramblers, a club still in existence although only playing friendlies, and the first club from Liverpool to compete in the FA Cup. Mr C Ambler scored the Sandgrounders’ first ever FA Cup goal. The replay saw Southport lose 4-0 at home having had to field a weakened side due to a couple of key ‘no-shows’.

The following season Southport lost 7-1 (some reports say 7-0) in the 1st Round to eventual winners Blackburn Rovers, the first of that club’s hat-trick of wins, but the 1884/85 season saw the club record their first FA Cup win, although not until after they had already been ‘knocked out’.

A 3-0 defeat at Accrington was contested by Southport on the basis that their opponents had played ‘professionals’, a selection process the FA frowned upon at the time and resisted for several years. Accrington were disqualified and Southport were re-instated. Their second round opponents were Clitheroe Low Moor and Southport won the match 3-1 with goals from J L Briggs, Mellor and an own goal. The 3rd Round saw Southport return to Accrington to take on a local side there called Church FC who won the match 10-0, inflicting what is still Southport’s record defeat in the FA Cup.

When the Football League was established in 1888-89 Southport were still playing friendlies before joining the Lancashire League the following season and when they did enter the FA Cup they had to begin in the 1st Qualifying Round. The club had to wait until the 1894/95 season before appearing in the Proper Rounds again where they lost 3-0 at home to Everton. Their next appearance in the 1st Round didn’t occur until 1911/12 season, the club’s first season as a member of the Central League after eight seasons as a Lancashire Combination club. They fared no better this time around losing 2-0 at home to Southern League side Reading.

Southport wouldn’t appear in the 1st Round again until the season they were founder members of Football League Division 3 North in 1921/22, although it wasn’t an automatic exemption to the 1st Round in those days and they had to beat Altrincham (3-0) and Coventry City (1-0) to get there. Still no luck in the 1st Round, though, as following a creditable 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers, they went down 2-0 in the replay at Haig Avenue.

The FA Cup was re-structured for the 1925-26 season, ostensibly making the old 1st Round equivalent to what we now know as the 3rd Round (with some minor differences). As a consequence Southport were exempted until the 1st Round and finally achieved their first ‘Proper’ Round victory for 41 years defeating Welsh National League side Mold 1-0, before going on to beat fellow Division 3 North side Durham City 3-0 in the Second Round to equal the club’s best ever FA Cup run. A 5-2 defeat at Third Division South side Southend United brought that run to an end, but things were to go ever better the following season.

Their 1926-27 FA Cup run began with a 1-1 draw at home to fellow Division 3 North side Tranmere Rovers before winning 2-1 at Prenton Park. This was followed by a 2-0 Second Round home victory over Crook Town from the Northern League and then a ‘revenge’ 2-0 win at home against First Division Blackburn Rovers, their biggest scalp to date. Southport were into the FA Cup 4th Round for the first time ever and were drawn to play at Anfield against Liverpool. Tommy White scored for Southport, but the club was knocked out as Liverpool netted three times to win.

The following season Southport made the 4th Round once again thanks to a 3-2 First Round win at Midland League side Denaby United, a 2-0 win at fellow Division 3 North side Bradford (Park Avenue) in the 2nd Round, and a 3-0 home victory over Second Division Fulham in the Third. First Division side Middlesbrough was a step too far with the Sandgrounders going down by three goals to nil at Ayrsome Park.

However, it wasn’t long before Southport were to make FA Cup history by becoming the first club from Division 3 North to make the last eight of the competition in the 1930/31 season. The run started impressively enough with a 4-2 win over fellow Division 3 North side Darlington, thanks to a Paddy McConnell brace and goals from Archie Waterston and Ralph Hills. This was followed up by an even more convincing 4-0 victory at Midland League side Gainsborough Trinity. This time Waterston scored twice alongside another one for Hills and a goal for Jimmy Cowen.

Southport were into the 3rd Round of the FA Cup for the fourth time in six seasons where they faced Division Two side Millwall (who had recently twice made the FA Cup Quarter Finals as a Division 3 South side themselves). Two goals from Cowen and another from Hills gave Southport a 3-1 victory and a chance to test themselves against First Division opposition again in the shape of North West coastal rivals Blackpool. Another Waterston double gave the Sandgrounders a 2-1 win and their second top-flight scalp. A solitary goal from Cowen in the Fourth Round at home to Bradford (Park Avenue) took the club further in the competition than they had ever been before.

Southport were drawn to play at Goodison Park against mighty local rivals Everton, but in front of over 45,500 spectators the club succumbed to a heavy 9-1 defeat, although Waterston did manage to grab his sixth goal of their Cup run as a consolation.

Another Fourth Round appearance was to follow the next season, and another heavy defeat by a First Division side, this time 9-0 by Newcastle United, but not until after the sides had played out two 1-1 draws, with Jimmy Cowen scoring in both games and a record 20,010 spectators at Haig Avenue watching the first replay.

It would be almost 35 years before the club got anywhere near replicating their achievements in the FA Cup either side of 1930, with a trip to the Fifth Round in the 1965/66 season when playing in the Fourth Division. Higher League opposition in the shape of Division Two sides Ipswich Town and Cardiff City were dispensed with before losing 2-0 at Hull City, themselves going on to the Quarter Finals as a Division Three side.

With the club now competing outside of the Football League for almost 30 years, it seems unlikely that the Sandgrounders will grace the Quarter Finals again some time soon, although the exploits of Lincoln City this season gives everyone hope. But for now that memorable run to the last eight of the competition 86 years ago remains the pinnacle of Southport’s achievements in their 120 FA Cup campaigns.

Scrap Replays? No, Scrap the Idea to Scrap Replays!

In the end they weren’t needed. The Premier League appeasing new FA rules of extra time and penalties in the first game of FA Cup Quarter Finals were not utilised this time around. And I for one am very happy about that.

Unfortunately, the FA are now set on a dangerous path of kowtowing to the Premier League’s every wish and Andy Ambler (the FA’s Head of Professional Game Relations – whatever that means!) has expressed a desire to introduce the ‘No Replays’ rule into all rounds of the competition, although he probably only means from the 3rd Round onward.

Only eleven of the 56 ties played in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Rounds of this season’s FA Cup required a replay (19.5%) of which just a half involved Premier League clubs. Not exactly an arduous extra commitment to those clubs in the top flight, especially as only two of them involved clubs competing in European competition. Even if the four Quarter Finals had been allowed to have a replay, it would have only affected two clubs who were still in Europe by the time the first game was played!

The real issue for me, though, is the FA’s complete disregard for the integrity of its own competition. Having one set of rules for some rounds and not for all rounds is bad enough, but when those rule changes go about changing the ethos of the competition one has to wonder if the custodians of the FA Cup have its best interests at heart. Making changes for the supposed betterment of the FA Cup is one thing, but making changes so that the Premier League (and European competitions) are not inconvenienced is tantamount to signing one’s own death warrant, albeit a long and protracted one.

After the debacle of the FA sanctioning the non-participation of their current holders in 2000/01 season, coincidentally and ominously a decision borne out of appeasing someone else, the FA has made some great changes to the FA Cup to keep it meaningful, interesting and exciting, not least with the opening up of entry to the competition to clubs further down the footballing pyramid.

Since the 2000/01 season we have seen increased participation of non-league clubs in the FA Cup from 487 clubs at the turn of the century to the 644 clubs that have been involved over the past four seasons (although it did peak at 671 in 2011/12, but ground grading rule changes have restricted entry since then). It is within the six qualifying rounds of the competition, needed to whittle down the 644 clubs to just 32 that make the 1st Round ‘Proper’, where we have seen the FA Cup being re-vitalised.

There is a terrific passion for the FA Cup amongst the clubs, the players, the owners, the managers, the trainers, the volunteers and the fans of Non-League clubs, all immensely proud to have been involved in the same competition as the stars of the Premier League, whether or not their club gets anywhere near facing one of them. Practically everybody involved in non-league football has a high passion for the game itself, and this usually extends to a love for a particular Premier League or EFL club. So to see the club they are involved with be part of the same competition as the well-known club they support is very special indeed.

And that connection, that pride in association, is the reason why it is critical that the FA ensure that the same rules of the competition are applied at all stages in exactly the same way. When Lincoln City were drawn to play at Portman Road in the 3rd Round this season, they knew that despite being disadvantaged by the luck of the draw, they had a chance to take the higher league side back to their home, a chance they took and benefited from. This opportunity to address the disadvantage of being drawn away from home at The Emirates in the Quarter Finals was taken away from them. Why was it ‘right’ to be able to do so in the 3rd Round but not in the sixth?

If the FA are to introduce rules that only kick in from the 3rd Round (video assisted referees is also being discussed) then it sends out a clear message to all those clubs who compete in the eight rounds before them that their contribution and worth to the FA Cup is not the same as those that join it from January.

I for one think that is a disgrace and I believe that the FA should think very carefully about how they treat the majority of clubs that participate in the famous FA Cup in their quest to appease the money-generating obsessed minority.

 

FA Cup 2016/17 Quarter Final Preview

Overview

History is being made in the FA Cup by Lincoln City from the National League, becoming the first Non-League club to make the FA Cup Quarter Finals since the current structure of the top two Divisions being exempted until the Third Round of the competition was put in place 92 years ago.

The Imps are also the first Non-League club in the last eight of the FA Cup since Queens Park Rangers in the 1913/14 season and the first Non-League club to defeat four League clubs in the same FA Cup run since Telford United achieved the feat in 1984/85. (And only the third ever Non-League club to achieve the feat, the first being Tottenham Hotspur on their way to lifting the trophy in 1900/01).

Lincoln City will be the third club this season to play in seven FA Cup ties following Midland Football League Premier Division side Westfields and Northern Premier League Division One North outfit Stourbridge. Historically the winners of the FA Cup only compete in six ties.

Lincoln become the 118th different club to reach the last eight of the FA Cup and the first new club to do so since Wycombe Wanderers in 2000/01 season.

At the other end of the scale, Arsenal (43), Manchester United (42) and Tottenham Hotspur (39) add to their Quarter Final appearance tally sitting in 2nd, 3rd and 4th position respectively behind Everton who had their 45th appearance last season.

Whichever of Arsenal and Manchester United go further in this season’s FA Cup will become the club with the best FA Cup record. They both currently have 12 wins, both have appeared in 19 Finals and both have reached the Semi Finals 28 times. It is only that one extra Quarter Final appearance that currently puts Arsenal out on front.

Millwall are the first club from the third tier to make the Quarter Finals since Bradford City just two seasons ago. It is the Lions’ third appearance in the Quarter Finals in the last 14 seasons. Their involvement this year, alongside Lincoln City, means it is now 11 seasons since the last eight of the competition was made up exclusively of top-flight clubs.

 

 

Tie-by-Tie Previews

 

  1. Chelsea (Premier League) v Manchester United (Premier League)

Level 1 v Level 1

Eleven previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, with Manchester United winning eight times, but Chelsea have won the last two. First meeting occurred 109 years ago, whilst the sides have twice met in the FA Cup Final itself with one win apiece.

Chelsea are into the Quarter Finals for the 35th time and haven’t made the Semi Finals for four years. Manchester United are into the Quarter Finals for the third season in a row and for the 42nd time in total, the third highest number of appearances behind Arsenal (43) and Everton (45).

 

  1. Middlesbrough (Premier League) v Manchester City (Premier League)

Level 1 v Level 1

Six previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, with Middlesbrough ahead by four wins to two. The clubs first met in the competition 113 years ago and most recently just two seasons ago when Boro were a Championship club.

Middlesbrough are appearing in the Quarter Finals for the 17th time but it is 11 years since the club appeared in the Semi Finals. Manchester City are in the Quarter Finals for the 24th time but have not gone further for four seasons.

 

  1. Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League) v Millwall (EFL 1)

Level 1 v Level 3

Two previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, with Spurs triumphant on both occasions. Clubs first met in the competition 106 years ago and then again 56 years later in 1967 when Spurs went on to lift the trophy.

Tottenham are appearing in their 39th FA Cup Quarter Final, their first for five seasons, whilst it is only four years since Millwall made it this far, this being the Lions’ 10th appearance in the last eight.

 

  1. Arsenal (Premier League) v Lincoln City (National League)

Level 1 v Level 5

Despite 241 FA Cup campaigns between this is the first ever FA Cup meeting between the two clubs.

The FA Cup records of the two clubs couldn’t be more contrasting. Arsenal have the best FA Cup record with 12 wins, 19 Finals and 28 Semi-Final appearances (beating Manchester United into second place by virtue of having one more Quarter Final appearance; 43 versus 42). Lincoln are appearing in the FA Cup Quarter Finals for the first time ever, becoming the 188th different club to make the last eight and the first Non-League Quarter Finalist since Queens Park Rangers in 1914. The Imps have also equalled the record of most League clubs beaten by a Non-League side in one FA Cup run, matching Telford United who defeated four League clubs in 1985. Tottenham Hotspur are the only other Non-League club to achieve this feat on their way to lifting the Trophy in 1901.

History of Quarter Final Matches which Utilised Extra Time in their First Game

This season the FA have abolished replays in FA Cup Quarter Finals in a move stated by the FA as one designed to re-invigorate the competition, but in truth more likely to be a decision taken to appease the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

Whatever the reasons for the decision, this removal of replays opens up the possibility of Quarter Final ties requiring extra time (and maybe even penalties) to settle them in what is the first meeting between the clubs in the round, becoming the only round (outside of those taking place on neutral territory) that will be concluded at first time of asking.

However, if any of this year’s four Quarter Finals do require extra time, it won’t be the first time an extra 30 minutes has been used to try to determine who goes on to the Semi-Finals. Far from it … although it will be the first time a Quarter Final tie required extra time and didn’t have the option of a replay should the scores still remain level.

The first FA Cup Quarter Final tie to utilise extra time to try to settle it on the day occurred way back in 1875, in what was just the fourth season the FA Cup had been running, between Shropshire Wanderers and Woodford Wells. Perhaps the experience of being the only club ever to be knocked out of the FA Cup on the toss of a coin the previous season, and wishing to avoid repeating that fate, caused Shropshire Wanderers to agree with Woodford Wells that their Quarter Final tie should have an extra 30 minutes should the scores be level at full time. It was all to no avail, though, as the scores were level at one apiece at full time and neither side were able to add to their tally in the ensuing extra half hour. The replay occurred two weeks later, which Shropshire Wanderers won 2-0 to become the only club from that county to appear in an FA Cup Semi Final.

It was commonplace in the early days of the FA Cup that clubs had the option to decide whether or not to have extra time in the first match, and many matches were settled that way, but it was still quite rare in Quarter Final ties for it to be required. In all the next three occasions it happened, in 1878, 1879 and 1880, extra time failed to separate the clubs involved and replays were necessary to determine the Semi-Finalists. However, the following year did see the first FA Cup Quarter Final ever to be settled in extra time in the first meeting between the two clubs.

Old Carthusians were drawn at home to Cup holders Clapham Rovers and the clubs agreed on the provision of extra time should it be needed. The scores were level at one apiece after 90 minutes but Old Carthusians scored twice in the extra half hour to progress to the Semi Final on their own way to lifting the trophy.

Having been the first club to benefit from winning a Quarter Final in extra time in the first game, Old Carthusians became the second team to lose in such a way six years later, losing 2-1 at home to Preston North End after the sides were level at one-all after 90 minutes. Preston North End were involved in another Quarter Final tie utilising extra time in the first game a further six years later when drawing 2-2 at Middlesbrough Ironopolis. This time a replay was required which Preston won 7-0, the biggest FA Cup Quarter Final victory in a replay following a first game utilising extra time.

Extra time has actually been used just 14 times to try to settle an FA Cup Quarter Final tie, and has only been successful in doing so on three of those occasions, just 21% of the time, so it might be expected that many of the future Quarter Finals to require it will need penalties to determine the winner. The third and final occasion extra time resulted in a winner was in 1894 when Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa were locked at two goals each after 90 minutes. Wednesday scored in extra time to settle the tie.

1894 was also the first occasion two of the four Quarter Finals used extra time to try to settle the tie at the first time of asking. The other tie saw local rivals Nottingham Forest and Notts County finish one apiece after extra time, with County winning the replay 4-1. The only other time 50% of the Quarter Final ties used extra time was also the next occasion extra time was used, 21 years later in 1915, a decision to do so probably borne out of trying to minimise resources and people’s time during the early days of the First World War. Ironically both ties required replays before being settled.

Those two ties in 1915 were the 12th and 13th occasion extra time was used to try to settle the tie at the first attempt, and it has only occurred on just one more occasion, but not for another 33 years. The provision of extra time to settle ties at the first attempt by now were only allowable on the discretion of the FA, but in the first few years after the Second World War it was recognised that, particularly for ties involving long journeys, it was prudent to agree to the provision of extra time should it be needed in the first game to try to minimise the use of what were rationed materials, such as fuel.

The most famous instance of this provision being put in place occurred in 1949 when First Division Sunderland travelled to Non-League side Yeovil Town and were defeated 2-1 by a goal that happened in that agreed extra 30 minutes. However, that was a Fourth Round tie, and it was actually a season earlier when the last instance of extra time in the first meeting in a Quarter Final tie was used.

That Quarter Final tie, 69 years ago, saw Division Three South high-flyers Queens Park Rangers host Derby County from Division One. QPR took the lead only for Derby to equalise, and the score remained 1-1 after 90 minutes, with extra time then played. However, the extra 30 minutes failed to generate further goals and the tie had to go to a replay anyway, a replay won 5-0 by Derby.

qpr-v-derby-1948-press

qpr-v-derby-1948-pic

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Radical Change Proposals to FA Cup if Replays are Scrapped

Top football pundit Gary Lineker, along with many other media commentators of our National game, wants FA Cup replays to be scrapped because otherwise the money obsessed Premier League clubs will continue to treat the competition with contempt and eventually it will die.

I’m completely opposed to the scrapping of FA Cup replays. They are an essential part of the competition, originally designed to give the opportunity to a team unluckily drawn away from home the chance to take the tie back to their place. It was a chance to overcome being on the wrong end of a random draw. Nowadays, however, they are more looked upon by lower league clubs as an opportunity to get a money-spinning trip to a Premier League giant, a trip that financially would secure their future (for the time being anyway).

So Premier League clubs (and Championship clubs) do not want replays and lower league clubs want a pay-day at a top tier stadium. Well, if the answer is to scrap replays then let’s not stop there, let’s introduce some real change to the competition. Here’s my two-step radical plan to change the way the FA Cup works.

It’s a plan that will appease the profit maximising focused Premier League Chairmen and women, a plan that will generate a financial windfall for those lower league and Non-League clubs who have battled their way through to the 3rd Round and beyond, a plan that will bring attacking excitement to every tie with a guaranteed outcome on the day, and a plan that will ‘save’ the FA Cup (as if it really needs saving!)

Step One – from the 3rd Round onward any tie that involves two clubs from different Divisions will be played at the higher league club’s ground thereby maximising the potential revenue for the lower level side. Ties involving clubs from the same Division will be played at the first drawn team.

Step Two – and this is the radical one – the away side in all FA Cup ties from the 3rd Round onward start with a one goal lead. Every time any team ‘scores’ during the game it will be worth two goals. That way no match can ever end in a draw (and gets rid of the lottery of the dreaded penalties) and at all times in the game one side is always behind the other, and therefore should create matches with much more attacking intent. Scoffing at the idea of goals counting double? Well it’s been a part of European football now for over 60 years.

Of course lower league clubs may ‘park the bus’ to try to defend the one goal advantage given to them, but because there is no threat of a replay the higher league side is more likely to play a near full-strength side, one more capable of breaking down any stubborn lower league obstacle.

So there you have it. My grand plan to change the FA Cup to please all parties if we have to get rid of replays. Lower league club plays away from home and all ties begin with the away side having a one goal lead with all future ‘goals’ worth double.

However, I’d much rather replays were maintained and top sides’ decision makers treated the competition as something worth winning. I can assure you, the majority of their fans wish they did.

FA Cup 2016/17 5th Round Preview

Overview

Two Non-League clubs are into the Fifth Round in the same season for the first time since the current FA Cup format was put in place in 1925/26 season. (Note, two non-league clubs or more have been in the last 16 at the same time before, but they all occurred before 1921).

Both Lincoln City and Sutton United now have the opportunity of becoming the first Non-League club to appear in a FA Cup Quarter Final since Queens Park Rangers achieved that feat way back in 1914. To achieve it, the National League clubs will not only have to achieve personal best FA Cup runs, but will also have to equal a modern record set by Telford United in 1985, that is defeat their fourth League club in the same FA Cup campaign.

The draw for the last 16 has kept all the remaining Premier League clubs apart and no tie involves clubs who will meet each other in League action this season.

There are nine former FA Cup winners amongst the final 16 clubs in this year’s competition, with three ties pitting former winners against each other. One of those ties, Blackburn Rovers versus Manchester United, is also one of the two most common ties of the Round. The North West rivals have met each other six times in the competition, as have London rivals Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur.

 

Tie-by-Tie Previews

 

  1. Burnley (Premier League) v Lincoln City (National League)

Level 1 v Level 5

Four previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, with Lincoln City winning on the first occasion in 1904/05, but Burnley winning through on the following three times.

Lincoln City are into the Fifth Round for only the second time in their FA Cup history, the first being 130 years ago in 1887, but it is the club’s fourth appearance in the last 16 of the competition. However, the Imps are yet to make the Quarter Finals. One time FA Cup winners Burnley haven’t gone beyond the Fifth Round for 14 years.

 

  1. Fulham (EFL Championship) v Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)

Level 2 v Level 1

Six previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, with Tottenham Hotspur winning through on the first five occasions, but Fulham won 4-0 in the latest meeting just six years ago.

It is seven years since Fulham made FA Cup Quarter Finals, whilst seven times winners Tottenham Hotspur are trending to Quarter Finals this season having gone out in the 3rd Round, 4th Round and 5th Round in the last three years.

 

  1. Blackburn Rovers (EFL Championship) v Manchester United (Premier League)

Level 2 v Level 1

Six previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, with Blackburn Rovers having the upper hand with four wins to two, although all of Blackburn’s wins came before 1929, two of them heavy wins over Newton Heath in the 19th Century.

Blackburn reached the Quarter Finals twice in their last four FA Cup campaigns whilst FA Cup holders Manchester United have appeared in the last eight three times in the same period.

 

  1. Sutton United (National League) v Arsenal (Premier League)

Level 5 v Level 1

Unsurprisingly this is the first FA Cup meeting between the two clubs.

Sutton United are into the FA Cup Fifth Round for the first time ever in what is the club’s 95th FA Cup campaign. Sutton have the poorest record in the FA Cup of all the remaining 16 clubs, whilst Arsenal have the best record of all clubs who’ve ever taken part in the FA Cup. Arsenal are appearing in the Fifth Round for the seventh successive season.

 

  1. Middlesbrough (Premier League) v Oxford United (EFL One)

Level 1 v Level 3

First FA Cup meeting between the two clubs despite 203 campaigns between them.

It is eight years since Middlesbrough last appeared in an FA Cup Quarter Final, something the club has achieved 16 times. Oxford United have only ever reached the last eight on one previous occasion, back in the 1963/64 season, a rare appearance by a fourth tier club in that round.

 

  1. Wolverhampton Wanderers (EFL Championship) v Chelsea (Premier League)

Level 2 v Level 1

Three previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, with Chelsea 2 to 1 ahead in terms of victories.

Wolves are in the Fifth Round for the first time in nine seasons and it is a further five years before then since the club appeared in the Quarter Finals. Chelsea have only failed to reach the Fifth Round twice in the 21st Century.

 

  1. Huddersfield Town (EFL Championship) v Manchester City (Premier League)

Level 2 v Level 1

Two previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, both won by Manchester City, but both times not until after a replay.

It is 45 years since Huddersfield Town last reached the FA Cup Quarter Finals, coincidentally the same season the club was last in the top flight. Manchester City have been at least Quarter Finalists five times in the last 11 campaigns before this one.

 

  1. Millwall (EFL One) v Leicester City (Premier League)

Level 3 v Level 1

Four previous FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, with Leicester City triumphant on the first two occasions and Millwall the winners on the latter two occasions.

Millwall reached the Semi-Finals just four seasons ago and the Final nine years before that. Leicester City, on the other hand, have just three Quarter Final appearances this Century.

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