2015/16 FA Cup Q1 Round Review

There are still 2 ties to be resolved, with one on suspension (Tilbury v St Neots Town), and one due to waterlogged pitch (Leatherhead v South Park).

The First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup always throws up shocks and surprises being as it is the first time when clubs can be drawn together from up to three levels apart, and this year’s competition is no exception.

Step forward Step Six club Hinckley AFC from the Midlands Football League Division One who, in their inaugural FA Cup campaign, have despatched Redditch United from the Premier Division of the Southern League out of the competition. This is the equivalent of Bradford City’s exploits against Premier League sides last season.

Other Step 6 clubs definitely through and in with a chance of being drawn against a Step Two side are Bodmin Town from the South West Peninsula League Premier Division, who beat a fellow Step Six side, and Hook Norton from Hellenic League Division One West who overcame a club from Step Five, and who are now three rounds further in the competition than the club has ever gone before.

Isthmian League One North side Phoenix Sports have also made it through to 2nd Qualifying Round after previously only ever having appeared in the Extra Preliminary Round. Seven other clubs, who had actually experienced FA Cup wins before, are also going to appear in the 2nd Qualifying Round for the first time namely Bradford TownDunkirk and Kidlington (who’d made 1st Qualifying Round before), and Hullbridge Sports, Newton Aycliffe, Petersfield Town and Sporting Khalsa, who had previously only been as far as the Preliminary Round. Special extra mention to Petersfield Town who knocked out Weymouth, admittedly just one step above the Hampshire side, but a team with an FA Cup pedigree having made it as far as the Fourth Round Proper in the past.

There are a handful of clubs who by virtue of making it as far as the 2nd Qualifying Round are in a position to at least equal their best ever Cup runs. AFC Portchester and Kirkley & Pakefield have relatively short FA Cup histories, St Ives Town and Stanway Rovers have 13 campaigns each, for Deeping Rangers it is 14, and Abbey Hey are in 2nd Qualifying Round for only its second time in 15 campaigns. But for Hanwell Town, they have 28 campaigns under their belt and 18 years since appearing in Q2. Basford United, however, hasn’t been this far in an amazing 62 years. Other clubs have also made it beyond the 1st Qualifying Round for the first time in a while, with 36 years passing since Northern League Division One side Washington last made it this far.

On the flip side of the coin, there are many clubs who have managed to avoid being knocked out as early as the 1st Qualifying Round for a number of seasons. It is 10 years since Buxton tasted defeat before the 2nd Qualifying Round, 12 years for Workington, and 22 years for Hyde United, all three clubs breathing a heavy sigh of relief. Not so fortunate, though, are several clubs who have been knocked out and who hadn’t lost in the Cup so early for quite some time. Histon were in the 3rd Round Proper as recently as 2009 and had not lost in 1st Qualifying Round for 13 years before losing heavily to Aveley this time around. It had been 18 years for the aforementioned Weymouth and 25 years since Thurrock last tasted defeat this early, but Isthmian Premier League side Hendon had gone 30 years and never failed to still be in the competition by 2nd Qualifying Round.

Losing in the FA Cup is always a bitter pill for players and fans to swallow, but it can often be sweetened by the knowledge that the club has bettered or equalled its previous best Cup run. Rochester United were in their debut season so whatever round they exited the competition would set a club record, but 1st Qualifying Round in your first FA Cup season is quite an achievement. AFC Liverpool, Cheltenham Saracens and Witheridge had only previously made it as far as the Preliminary Round, whilst a dozen clubs have repeated their previous successes of reaching the 1st Qualifying Round including Bedfont & Feltham and Clipstone, who both have only ever made it this far, and Peterborough Sports who last made this round in 1919/20 season.

North West Counties League Premier Division outfit Colne FC has been knocked out, but this is the furthest the club has gone for seven years. Northern Premier League side Goole registered its best performance in nine years. Conversely, there are several clubs who have been eliminated from the competition in this 1st Qualifying Round who have not gone beyond this round for quite some time. Many have not experienced life beyond this round this century including Basildon United (1999), Shoreham (1995), Pagham (1991), Eastbourne United Association (1988) and Dorset based club Bridport who has not been beyond the 1st Qualifying Round for 40 years.

Nantwich Town are knocked out of the FA Cup for the fourth consecutive season, and Redditch United are eliminated at this stage for the fifth successive time.

Northern Premier League Premier Division sides Buxton and Ramsbottom United were meeting in the 1st Qualifying Round for the second successive season with The Bucks triumphant once again. Similarly, NPL Division One North sides Droylsden and Ossett Albion also met for the second season running, with The Bloods once again winning through. Southern Combination League Premier Division sides Eastbourne Town and Shoreham were also meeting in the Cup for just the second time, but it had been 65 years since the previous meeting. That game was also won by The Bourne.

However, Chatham Town and Cray Wanderers were meeting for the first time since The Wands won their only other Cup meeting in 1938, a 77 year wait but The Chats have finally avenged that defeat.

for the second successive season with The Bucks triumphant once again. Similarly, NPL Division One North sides Droylsden and Ossett Albion also met for the second season running, with The Bloods once again winning through. Southern Combination League Premier Division sides Eastbourne Town and Shoreham were also meeting in the Cup for just the second time, but it had been 65 years since the previous meeting. That game was also won by The Bourne.

However, Chatham Town and Cray Wanderers were meeting for the first time since The Wands won their only other Cup meeting in 1938, a 77 year wait but The Chats have finally avenged that defeat.

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