Stat-packed FA Cup EP Rd Review 2017-18

Record victories, goal scoring feats, record runs and unwanted records – they’re all here in my stat-packed review of the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round (All stats copyright ©@FACupFactfile)

The Record Setters

Liam Tack (pictured) scored the opening goal for Flackwell Heath in the club’s 5-0 equal best ever FA Cup win over fellow Hellenic League Premier Division club Burnham. Timed at 7.51pm on the 4th August, it is the earliest in the season an FA Cup goal has ever been scored, beating the record set by Thame United’s Lynton Goss just last season.

Liam Tack -Flackwell Heath

Colin McDonald (pictured below) scored the opening goal for Litherland REMYCA in the club’s 2-0 win over local rivals, and higher North West Counties League opponents, AFC Liverpool. Not only is this the first ever FA Cup goal scored by REMYCA, but it will forever be known as the first goal scored on the BBC’s new initiative to live broadcast on the Internet one FA Cup game per qualifying round.

Colin McDonald

Hat-tricks for Stacy Field and John Munday alongside doubles for Tom Carter and Alex Campana as well as strikes by Frankie Jowle and Dan Jones gave Berkhamsted a massive 12-1 victory at fellow Spartan South Midlands Premier League club Stotfold. This win is the fourth largest margin of victory this Century and establishes the record of the highest away win of the 21st Century, too.

Other Notable Feats

Several other clubs either set a new record FA Cup win for the club or equalled their best margin of victory. After only ever having scored a maximum of two goals in any one of the previous FA Cup matches Spartan South Midlands Premier Division side Hadley won 9-1 at Langford from Division One of the same League (Laste Dombaxe and Kerkstun MacPherson both hit hat-tricks in the win). Wolverhampton Casuals won 7-0 at home to fellow West Midlands Regional League Premier Division side Malvern Town to set a new record for The Cassies, with Liam Hughes claiming four of the goals.

Hellenic League Premier Division side Ascot United and Bottesford Town from the Northern Counties East League Premier Division both recorded club record 6-0 FA Cup wins over Wessex League Division One club Ringwood Town and Long Eaton United from the Midland Football League Premier Division respectively.

There were also record setting FA Cup wins for Harborough Town (5-0 at fellow United Counties League Premier Division side Northampton Sileby Rangers), North West Counties Premier League club West Didsbury and Chorlton (5-0 at Northern Counties East League Premier club Athersley Recreation), as well as for Longlevens (5-1), Amesbury Town (4-0), Brimscombe and Thrupp (4-0), Holmer Green (4-0) and Hanley Town (4-1).

Bizarrely, Combined Counties League Premier Division side Redhill’s 8-1 victory at Hailsham Town, of Southern Combination League Division One, doesn’t even come close to being in The Lobsters’ top three record FA Cup wins.

Ollie Pitt scored all four goals for Hellenic League Premier Division side Brimscombe and Thrupp in the club’s 4-0 win over Sun Sports from the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division, netting all four in the first 23 minutes of the match.

Northwest Counties League Premier Division side Runcorn Linnets had only ever been knocked out of the FA in the Extra Preliminary Round twice before, and both times to Hemsworth Miners Welfare. So it was sweet revenge for the Linnets when they were able to lay that ghost to rest by beating the Northern Counties East League Premier Division club 2-0 at the 3rd attempt in this EP Rd.

Another club defeating opponents in the FA Cup at the third time of asking is Southern Counties East League Division One side Erith and Belvedere, who won 4-0 against fellow Step 6 opponents Wick, from the Southern Combination League Division One, particularly impressive given The Deres hadn’t even scored in the previous two FA Cup meetings.

Several clubs registered their first ever FA Cup victory, some after a considerable number of efforts of trying to do so. Aylestone Park, Grimsby Borough, Haughmond, Northampton ON Chenecks, Sheppey United (current club) and Glebe (disqualified from taking part two years ago) have all won at just their second attempt. Northern Counties East League Premier Division side Penistone Church finally recorded their first FA Cup in the club’s third campaign (a tight 4-3 win a FA Cup new boys Charnock Richard from North West Counties League Premier Division), but top plaudits go to another North West Counties League Premier Division side Barnoldswick Town who, by winning 3-1 at home to Jarrow Roofing Boldon Community Association from Northern League Division One, managed to be victorious in the FA Cup at the seventh time of asking.

Goals from Charlie Browne and Danny Finnigan (in extra time) gave Western League Premier Division club Shaftesbury a 2-1 victory at Exmouth Town of South West Peninsula League Premier Division, earning the Dorset club its first FA Cup victory for 67 years. The Queen was still known as Princess Elizabeth the last time Shaftesbury won in the FA Cup!

Eight of the 23 clubs making their FA Cup debut have progressed to the Preliminary Round of this year’s competition. Two were guaranteed to do so as debutantes faced off, but the two who prevailed in those ties had been the two clubs who had waited the longest to take part in this illustrious competition. Eastern Counties League Division One side Framlingham Town had waited 130 years to participate in the FA Cup and finally prevailed 3-1 against Wadham Lodge of the Essex Senior League after the two sides had played out a goal-less draw. Waiting three years longer than the Suffolk club to make their bow in the FA Cup was Chipping Sodbury Town of The Western League Premier Division who won 3-1 at home to Brackley Town Saints of Hellenic League Premier Division.

For both these two clubs they’ve waited 130 years or so to experience their first taste of FA Cup football and a second course comes along just two weeks later!

The other debutantes winning through to the Preliminary Round are AC London, Birstall United, City of Liverpool, Litherland REMYCA and West Essex. East Midlands Counties League side Kimberley Miners Welfare will join them despite an initial 4-2 loss at home to Blaby and Whetstone Athletic, but their opponents have been deemed to have played an ineligible player and so The Miners have been re-instated.

Some of these FA Cup debutante winners compete at Step 6 in the Non-League pyramid and caused a minor Cup upset (Cupset) by defeating a club from Step 5. These include East Midlands Counties League Premier Division side Birstall United (3-0 at home to South Normanton Athletic from Midland Football League Premier Division) and the aforementioned Litherland REMYCA and Framlingham Town.

The biggest Cupset margin of victory was posted by Southall who won 5-1 at home to Harpenden Town who play in the higher division of the Spartan South Midlands League. North West Counties League Division One side Cammell Laird 1907 won 4-1 at home to Maltby Main of Northern Counties East League Premier Division, whilst South West Peninsula League Premier Division side Tavistock won by the same scoreline, but they were away at Shepton Mallet of The Western League Premier Division.

The only other three goal margin of victory by a lower league side came from Northern Counties East League Division One side Hallam who won 3-0 at home to Bootle from North West Counties League Premier Division. Other Cup upsets were produced by Swaffham Town (3-1), Litherland REMYCA (2-0), Dunkirk (2-1) and Leicester Road (2-1) all at their own ground, and by Steyning Town (2-4), Chessington & Hook United (1-3 in a replay), Bodmin Town (2-3), Tividale (2-3 in a replay), Hinckley AFC (1-2), Potton United (1-2 in a replay), Aylestone Park (0-1) and Heaton Stannington (0-1) at the higher league club’s ground.

Matty Moffatt scored a hat-trick for Bishop Auckland in their first game with fellow Northern League Division One side Consett, but it was all to no avail as Consett came back from conceding two early goals to win 5-2 in the replay. Matt Glass scored all three goals for Combined Counties League Premier Division side Farnham Town, including a last minute winner, to see off the brave challenge from the lower level Wessex League Division One outfit Fawley.

Ash Edenborough claimed a hat-trick as Hellenic League Premier Division side Highworth Town won 4-2 in their replay at London Colney from Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division. Malachi Thomas bagged three for Combined Counties League Premier Division side Walton and Hersham as they won 7-0 at home to Mile Oak of Southern Combination League Division One. Joel Brownhill scored three of Ashton Athletic’s four goals in their 4-0 win at fellow North West Counties League Premier Division side Squires Gate.

Luke Crewe scored all three goals for Hengrove Athletic from right-back in their 3-1 win at fellow Western League Premier Division club Wellington.

Joining Ollie Pitt and Liam Hughes by going one better by netting four goals is Sam Newsome as Brantham Athletic won 7-2 at fellow Eastern Counties League Premier Division side Felixstowe and Walton United.

Several clubs maintained their unblemished record of never having been knocked out of the FA Cup in the Extra Preliminary Round. For some clubs like Midland Football League Premier Division side Sporting Khalsa, Wessex League Premier Division side Andover Town and North West Counties League Premier Division outfit 1874 Northwich it is only a handful of campaigns they’ve had so far to avoid defeat in this round. For the aforementioned Southall it is now 92 FA Cup campaigns avoiding an Extra Preliminary Round exit.

The already mentioned Walton and Hersham is in the club’s 72nd FA Cup campaign. North West Counties League Premier Division side Burscough has now avoided that fate for the 71st time. For Southern Combination League Premier Division side Eastbourne Town it is their 69th FA Cup campaign. And for Midland Football League Premier Division side Rugby Town it is their 42nd FA Cup season, although this was the first time the club had had to compete in this early round. Harrogate Railway Athletic (31 campaigns), Bridgwater Town and Steyning Town (20) have all also breathed a huge sight of relief.

Flip Side of the Coin

For every club celebrating a marvellous achievement in the FA Cup there is likely to be another club hoping that their unwanted record or result is not given any limelight. However, some outcomes deserve mention, even if only to show how great the club had been to avoid such a fate in the past.

Northwich Victoria’s 2-0 replay defeat against local rivals and fellow North West Counties League Premier Division side 1874 Northwich means the Vics have exited the FA Cup in the Extra Preliminary Round for the first time ever. To be fair to the club this is only the second time in 109 FA Cup campaigns that it has had to compete at such an early stage of the competition.

Other clubs tasting defeat in this round for the first time include Essex Senior League side Great Wakering Rovers (22nd campaign), Eastern Counties League Premier Division side Wroxham (23rd), Midland Football League Premier Division side South Normanton Athletic and Combined Counties League Premier Division club AFC Hayes (both 24th) and Wessex League Premier Division club Bashley (30th).

Southern Counties East League Premier Division outfit Whitstable Town has experienced defeat in the Extra Preliminary Round for the first time since the 1949/50 season.

Several clubs have had the misfortune of recording their worst ever FA Cup defeat. These include the already mentioned Stotfold (1-12, record home defeat in 21st Century), Malvern Town and Mile Oak (both 0-7), Athersley Recreation (0-5), and Sun Sports (0-4). Joining this quintet are West Midlands Regional League Premier Division side Wellington (lost 2-6 at Coleshill Town of Midland Football League Premier Division), North West Counties League Premier Division side Barnton (lost 1-4 at Northern Counties East League Premier Division side Parkgate), and Hellenic League Premier Division side Windsor (lost 1-4 at home to Wembley of Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division).

Many, many clubs have exited the FA Cup in this Extra Preliminary Round stage for at least their third consecutive FA Cup campaign (although some clubs like Barnton where the run itself spreads over many years). Western League Division One club Keynsham Town (over 16 years) and Eastern Counties League Division One side Woodbridge Town (over nine years) both recorded their seventh successive Extra Preliminary Round defeat.

However, holding the current unwanted record number of consecutive exits at this stage of the competition are Hailsham Town and Eastern Counties League Division One club Diss Town (over 10 years), who have both exited the FA Cup in the Extra Preliminary Round in each of their last nine campaigns. It might be a nice gesture by the FA to pair these two clubs together next season to put at least one of them out of their misery!

One small crumb of comfort for Hailsham and Diss is that they have both actually tasted victory in the FA Cup before, which is more than can be said for 10 other clubs (plus those making their debut in the competition this year and failing to progress). Abbey Rangers, AFC Uckfield, Broadbridge Heath, Cheddar and Wolverhampton Sporting Community this year was only their second FA Cup campaign, and for AFC Darwen, Sunderland Ryhope Colliery Welfare and Wellingborough Whitworth it was just their third.

Southern Counties East League Premier Division side AFC Croydon Athletic has now had five FA Cup campaigns and has yet to experience the Preliminary Round, whilst the club with the current highest number of campaigns and yet to register a win is the aforementioned Fawley who have had six campaigns so far. (Nb. I consider AFC Uckfield Town to be a different club to AFC Uckfield who, along with Uckfield Town, were one of two clubs who merged to form the current club. However, the FA consider the current AFC Uckfield Town to be a continuation of AFC Uckfield. If that is the case then AFC Uckfield Town join Fawley on six FA Cup campaigns without a win as AFC Uckfield’s FA Cup record is four campaigns and four Extra Preliminary Round exits).

Both Fawley and AFC Uckfield Town have some way to go, though, to equal the record for the most FA Cup campaigns and always exiting in the Extra Preliminary Round. That unfortunate record belongs to a Birmingham based club called Headingly who posted 11 consecutive Extra Preliminary Round exits in the 11 seasons prior to World War II.

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