There are now only 84 of the original 736 entrants remaining in the 2019-20 FA Cup, and for the first time in the competition’s history two of them are from Level Eight in the Football Pyramid.
Isthmian League Division One North outfit Maldon and Tiptree produced one of the FA Cup giant-killings in FA Cup history in the 1st Round defeating EFL Two side Leyton Orient on their patch. The Jammers now have the chance to repeat the feat when they host Newport County from the same Division in the opening tie of the Round being shown live by the BBC on Friday 29th November.
Maldon and Tiptree have reached the Second Round for the first time ever after having started their campaign in the Preliminary Round. Likewise, Isthmian League Division One South East side Chichester City are also competing in this Round for the first time ever, but they started their campaign two weeks earlier in the Extra Preliminary Round.
Chichester City are the first club since Mossley 70 years ago to reach the 2nd Round having started in the Extra Preliminary Round, but they face a formidable task to become the first club since Southall in 1936 to make the 3rd Round from such an early start. They travel to EFL One side Tranmere Rovers, a club which has reached the FA Cup Quarter Finals three times since the 2000s.
The achievements of those two Level Eight clubs means that the terrific first appearance in the Second Round for 19 years by Kingstonian has largely gone unnoticed. The Level Seven Surrey club host a fellow Non-League side in the shape of National League AFC Fylde who are equalling their best FA Cup run this season. This tie at least guarantees non-league presence in the 3rd Round, but how many more will join them?
Maidstone United of National League South are also equalling their best FA Cup run this season as they travel to former FA Cup winners Blackpool of EFL One. Likewise, National League Solihull Moors are matching their best FA Cup run to date and they host EFL One club Rotherham United who won only their first FA Cup tie for six years in the 1st Round.
National League North club Altrincham hope to rekindle former FA Cup glories as they travel to EFL One club Portsmouth, the most recent FA Cup winners in this 2nd Round. Fellow Level Six club Boston United also travel to EFL One opposition Rochdale looking to equal their best ever FA Cup run, last achieved 15 years ago. Dover Athletic of the National League are also looking to equal their best FA Cup run with an ‘against the odds’ victory at EFL One club Peterborough United.
Two former recent EFL clubs travel to current EFL Two sides. Hartlepool United have another long haul return trip to face Exeter City in the competition for the first time, whilst Notts County travel to Northampton Town to try to avenge a two-legged defeat to the same opposition back in the 1945-46 season.
National League side Eastleigh might feel fate is on their side to enable them to equal their best FA Cup run, first achieved in 2015-16 season. Four years ago they beat this season’s opponents Crewe Alexandra in the 1st Round before beating Stourbridge in the 2nd Round. They face Crewe in the 2nd Round this year after having defeated Stourbridge in the 1st Round.
Only one 2nd Round tie sees two former winners come face-to-face, but it is the first time that Coventry City and Ipswich Town will have met in the FA Cup. Ipswich Town won their first FA Cup game in 16 attempts in their 1st Round match, but nonetheless it is still 64 years since the club exited the FA Cup before the 3rd Round.
The most common ties of the Round see Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle drawn together for the fourth time (Rovers have a two to one advantage in past meetings), and Shrewsbury Town to face Mansfield Town for the fourth time (with a two to one win ratio, too).
The only other tie involving clubs who’ve met in the competition before sees Oldham Athletic host Burton Albion having been successful on both previous occasions, albeit the first time only on penalties.
Two EFL clubs are looking to equal their best FA Cup runs. Forest Green Rovers host Carlisle United having last made the 3rd Round 10 years ago, whilst Fleetwood Town travel to Crawley Town looking to appear in the 3rd Round for the fourth successive season.