As usual thirty-two non-league clubs have made it through to the 1st Round ‘Proper’ of this season’s FA Cup, but unusually one of them has already progressed through to the 2nd Round.
The lowest ranked side remaining in the competition, Chichester City, were the fortunate recipients of a bye caused by the unfortunate Bury FC’s expulsion, and become the first club since Mossley in the 1949-50 season to go all the way to the 2nd Round having started their campaign in the Extra Preliminary Round.
At least eight other non-league sides will join them in the 2nd Round. There are five all-National League encounters, plus Level seven clubs Carshalton Athletic, Stourbridge and Nantwich Town who are all hosting higher level non-league opponents; Boston United, Eastleigh and AFC Fylde respectively.
The Robins have reached this stage of the FA Cup for the first time in 22 years, whilst the Glassboys are in the ‘Proper’ Rounds for the sixth time in the last 10 years. The Dabbers are appearing in this round for their third time, all three of which have occurred in the last nine of their 96 campaigns, but they have yet to go further in the competition.
Chichester City’s bye, Carshalton Athletic taking on Boston United along with York City versus Altrincham means that there will be at least three clubs in the 2nd Round of this season’s FA Cup from below the top National League division.
Mind the Gap
There are two ties involving clubs who are four levels apart in the football pyramid. Level eight club Maldon and Tiptree are appearing in the ‘Proper’ Rounds for the first time in their 23rd campaign and they travel to former Semi-Finalists Leyton Orient of EFL Two.
Hayes and Yeading United are equalling their best FA Cup run and the Middlesex based Level seven side host Oxford United of EFL One, who made the 5th Round as recently as three years ago.
Hang on a Second
Three more clubs are equalling their best FA Cup runs, too, most notably Dulwich Hamlet who are appearing at this stage of the competition for the 15th time, the record for a club yet to appear in the 2nd Round. Another FA Cup record Hamlet now hold is the 82 year gap between hosting Football League sides in the competition, with Carlisle United the visitors for Friday night’s live BBC match, the first since Aldershot in 1937-38 season.
Chippenham Town, however, are hosting a Football League club for the very first time ever with Northampton Town being their visitors, equalling the record set by Stourbridge in 2009-10 by not doing so until their 105th campaign.
Billericay Town have made it this far for the sixth time, and for the third successive season, and they travel to EFL Two side Forest Green Rovers to try to make the 2nd Round for the first time ever.
Anyone for a Cupset?
Amongst other non-league clubs hosting Football League sides is Maidenhead United, looking to make the 2nd Round for the first time since 1886-87. They may never get a better chance of doing so given that their opponents, Rotherham United, have not won an FA Cup match for six years. If they did cause a Cupset the Magpies would set a record gap between 2nd Round appearances.
Last season’s giant killers, Barnet, host EFL One side Fleetwood Town in the knowledge that they went further in the competition last season, matching their best run to the 4th Round, than the Cod Army have ever achieved (although they equalled their best run, too).
The Monday night TV game sees National League side Harrogate Town looking to equal their best run to the 2nd Round as they host two times former FA Cup winners Portsmouth of EFL One.
Another National League side, Dover Athletic, host another EFL One club, Southend United, in another live TV match broadcast on Sunday lunchtime.
Stats, Stats, Stats!
Special mention to Darlington who have made the 1st Round for the first time since the club’s financial challenges in 2012. It’s notable because before this season they had only won one FA Cup match since then. Could Walsall become their fourth scalp this campaign?
The most common tie of the 1st Round involves National League side Wrexham and EFL One club Rochdale. This will be the seventh FA Cup meeting between the two sides with the North Wales club being victorious in all previous six.
Rochdale also hold the record for most FA Cup 1st Round exits, having gone out at this stage of the competition 51 times, in exactly half of their total number of FA Cup campaigns.
Within the all-EFL ties, Ipswich Town will be looking to try to win their first FA Cup match for ten years as they take on Lincoln City, who won more FA Cup games in 2016-17’s journey to the Quarter Finals alone (including a Cupset victory over Ipswich) than their opponents have done across their last 16 campaigns.
AFC Wimbledon host fellow EFL One side Doncaster Rovers in what will be the start of the 100th FA Cup campaign for Wimbledon / AFC Wimbledon.
It’s a close call as to who has the furthest to travel in this 1st Round, with Carlisle United’s trip to Dulwich Hamlet comparable to Hartlepool United having to travel to Yeovil Town. It’s about a 650 mile round trip for both clubs.