This third set of FA Cup matches this season involves 232 clubs, 160 of which have come through the Extra Preliminary and Preliminary Rounds, to join 72 teams from Step Three exempted until this 1st Qualifying Round.
Amongst their number are 23 clubs who’ve never ventured this far in the competition before. Sutton Athletic and AFC Varndeanians are both competing in their debut campaigns, but several other clubs have had to wait some time to get this far.
Bromsgrove Sporting are in their 6th campaign having only ever reached the Preliminary Round in each of their five previous attempts. They host Stourbridge, a familiar foe in the FA Cup for Bromsgrove’s predecessor, Bromsgrove Rovers, with the two sides having five victories each in their 11 FA Cup encounters.
Heather St Johns won through their Preliminary Round tie live on BBC on-line to reach this 1st Qualifying Round for the first time ever in their 7th campaign. They have a tough away trip to higher league opposition in the shape of Loughborough Dynamo.
Bedfont Sports are competing in the FA Cup for the 9th time. They travel to higher league side Cray Wanderers for their first ever 1st Qualifying Round match.
Two clubs are participating in the FA Cup for the 10th time but have only made this far for the first time this season. Rothwell Corinthians had only three FA Cup wins under their belt before this season and victory over higher league side Royston Town would mean they had doubled their win tally this season.
Sutton Common Rovers have already doubled their number of FA Cup wins this year and host Beaconsfield Town on Friday night with a hope to adding to that tally.
The club which has had to wait the longest to appear in the 1st Qualifying Round is Shepton Mallet, who are participating in the FA Cup for the 16th time this season. An avenging win over fellow Western League side Tavistock would take the Mallets as far as the original Shepton Mallet Town went in the competition.
Eight other clubs in this year’s 1st Qualifying Round have never been further than this round before. At the top of this list is London Colney who are making their 9th appearance in this Round. They face a tough trip to higher league side Wingate and Finchley, where defeat would mean they’d have the joint 4th highest number of 1st Qualifying Round exits of all clubs never to have gone further in the competition.
There are seven clubs who currently ply their trade in Step Six of the non-league pyramid who have made it this far. Kirby Muxloe, Sutton Athletic and Hythe and Dibden all have home ties, but four clubs have tough away trips to Step 4 opposition.
Lichfield City travel to Halesowen Town, AFC Varndeanians go to Tooting and Mitcham United, and Arundel visit Ramsgate. All of those Step Six clubs have never ventured too far in the FA Cup in the past, but March Town United, who travel to Grays Athletic, actually appeared in the 1st Round ‘Proper’ 41 years ago.
On the flip side there are three clubs who’ve never exited the FA Cup as early as the 1st Qualifying Round before putting that record to the test this season. City of Liverpool are only in their 3rd campaign and they travel to Warrington Town to try to maintain that record. Salisbury are in their 4th campaign and they travel to Thatcham Town in the BBC On-line game portecting their unbeaten record at this stage of the competition.
Hayes and Yeading United have participated in the FA Cup more often than the Merseyside club, a dozen times in fact, but even their constituent clubs hadn’t exited this early in the competition for 16 years. They travel to lower league Haywards Heath Town in the hope of keeping that run going.
Returning to the 1st Qualifying Round after an absence of 18 years is Chichester City who are looking to set a best FA Cup run since merging with Portfield in 2000 by beating their fellow Step Four opponents Chalfont St Peter.
A couple of clubs have had to wait considerable longer to re-appear at this stage of the FA Cup. Portland United last appeared in the 1st Qualifying Round 49 years ago, although they are only in their 7th campaign since then. They travel to 1st Qualifying Round debutants Longlevens in the hop of posting their best run for 52 years.
You have to go back 60 years for the last appearance of Whitton United at this stage of the FA Cup, although they’ve only had 11 campaigns since then. They have a tough trip to higher league side Soham Town Rangers to try to go even further.
Only eighteen of the 116 ties in the 1st Qualifying Round pit teams together who will meet each other twice in league fixtures this season. This will guarantee two Step Five clubs are in the 2nd Qualifying Round.
North West Counties League Premier Division sides Charnock Richard and Irlam are drawn together. As are Tavistock and Shepton Mallet from the Premier Division of The Western League.
That all-Western League tie is one of another group of 18 ties wehere clubs have faced each other in the competition before. Most of these ties have just one past meeting between the two teams but a couple have had a few more.
Stalybridge Celtic and Marine have contested eight FA Cup matches, have played out three draws and have knocked each other out three times each. The discrepancy in numbers is because one of those ties was won by Stalybridge Celtic on penalties after an eight goal thriller.
The two clubs also are the only ones in this year’s 1st Qualifying Round to have met each other in the ‘Proper’ Rounds of the competition, and one of those was a two legged affair in the 1945-46 season.
The most common match-up in this round features two clubs who’ve met 11 times but not for 73 years, have never met whilst both clubs were playing in their current name, and one of the sides met a different club who used to have the same name their opponents this year now have. Confused?
Hastings United and Worthing go head to head for the 12th time in FA Cup history, but whilst Worthing have always played under that name, Hastings United have had a few different names. The last time the two clubs met was in the 1946-47 season when Worthing won a second replay against Hastings and St Leonards.
However, Hastings United have a six to two win ratio over Worthing in the FA Cup, with their first meeting coming as far back as the 1905-06 season when St Leonards won 2-0 at Worthing. Whilst Hastings United were called Hastings Town, Worthing won a replay against the original Hastings United. They also twice lost heavily to Hastings and St Leonards United!
Whilst St Neots Town only a two win to three deficit against this year’s opponent’s Biggleswade Town in past FA Cup meetings, they will be concerned that their record 9-1 defeat in the competition came at the hands of the same team.
Northwich Victoria have had to wait 81 years to avenge defeat to Lancaster City in the FA Cup. The Vics are one of three sides in this 1st Qualifying Round who have actually appeared in the last eight of the competition in the past. Glossop North End and Sheffield complete the trio.
Finally, Lowestoft Town versus Leighton Town and Haringey Borough versus Herne Bay are the only two ties in this year’s 1st Qualifying Round that pits two teams against each other with the same initials.