2015/16 FA Cup Preliminary Round Preview

So for 184 clubs the FA Cup dream is over for another year, whilst a further 136 clubs, from Step 4 in the Non-League pyramid, enter the fray to try their luck at remaining in the competition until at least November.

Club Badges 15-16 EP Round KOs-page-001

Of the 160 Preliminary Round ties to be played over the August Bank Holiday weekend just 30 of them are being contested by clubs who have faced each other in the competition before. Of these match-ups it is Wisbech Town versus Holbeach United that pits the most familiar foes together, and in their case that is just four previous contests, with the Tigers of Holbeach having the upper hand over their United Counties League Premier Division opponents, with 3 wins to one.

There are 37 other ties that bring teams together who compete in the same League this season, and this includes some Step 4 battles such as Wantage Town versus Didcot Town from the Southern League Division One South and West. These sides faced each other just two seasons ago with the Railwaymen coming out on top 3-2.

One of last season’s FA Cup stars, Warrington Town, join the competition at this stage again. Last season they went all the way to the Second Round Proper, beating League Two side Exeter City in Round One before finally succumbing to Gateshead in their seventh Cup match of the season. That’s one more game played than the eventual winners, Arsenal.

Club Badges 15-16 PR Round-page-001

Several clubs appear in the Preliminary Round for the first time in their FA Cup history. These include Cadbury Athletic in at their fifth attempt, Radford, Hook Norton Phoenix Sports and Brimscombe & Thrupp all in their second campaigns, and Wessex League Premier side Verwood Town who finally registered an FA Cup win at the sixth time of asking. Other clubs such as Shaw Lane Aquaforce, AFC Bridgnorth, Hinckley AFC, Hanley Town, Risborough Rangers, Spelthorne Sports, Rochester United, Seven Acre and Sidcup, Bexhill United, Wincanton Town and Andover Town are all FA Cup debutants each seeing how far they can go on their first exciting Cup adventure, hoping to emulate Coalville Town who spectacularly went all the way to the First Round Proper in their inaugural season.

Some clubs making their bow in the Cup at this stage have already experienced matches at a much higher level in the competition, but in all cases it was in the dim and distant past. For instance, Marlow, currently plying their trade in the Southern League South and West, have actually played in a Cup Semi-Final, albeit 133 years ago and a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Old Etonians. At least Marlow are still contesting the FA Cup and can dream of experiencing such dizzy heights again, however unlikely that may be. Other clubs with FA Cup Quarter Final experience include Glossop North End, Northwich Victoria and the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield.

All of those clubs experienced their best ever FA Cup performance more than 100 years ago, but the club who has had to wait the longest since they registered their best Cup run is Uxbridge of the Southern League Central. Uxbridge first entered the FA Cup in the 1873/74 season where they made it as far as the Second Round. Admittedly, this just required a First Round 3-0 win over a team named Gitanos from Battersea, before succumbing 2-1 to Royal Engineers, but in the following 142 years the club has not even matched that first season high, never even venturing into the Proper Rounds again in all that time. But still they can dream.

Look up #FACupPR on Twitter for a full Preliminary Round match-by-match statistical analysis by @FACupFactfile

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2 thoughts on “2015/16 FA Cup Preliminary Round Preview”

    1. Alan, very happy for stats to be used. Please ensure full credit for source as ‘@FACupFactfile on Twitter’ with a link to the original article. Also, it’d be great if you referenced its use by Tweeting it is on your web page. Thanks

      Like

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