This FA Cup 2020-21 1st Qualifying Round preview was original published in the Non-League Paper, but is available for use in Non-League clubs’ FA Cup programmes.
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There is one more tie this round than would ordinarily be the case in order to compensate for there being one fewer Step 2 club this season than usual.
Just 24 of the 1st Qualifying Round ties involve clubs who’ve met before in the FA Cup. The most common match-up is Tiverton Town versus Bideford who are facing each other for the 12th time in the competition. They’ve had four wins apiece including a 6-1 victory for Bideford in 1983 and an 8-1 win for Tiverton Town in 1994.
Worcester City and Stafford Rangers have met in the FA Cup seven times before. Their matches have never ended in a draw, Worcester City have dominated by winning six of the seven, but they’ve not met in the competition for 65 years. A long time for Stafford Rangers to avenge those defeats.
Waiting even longer to avenge four previous FA Cup defeats in four meetings is East Grinstead Town who last faced Worthing in the competition way back in the 1948/49 season.
The only two clubs who are meeting again after facing each other in the FA Cup just last season are Longridge Town and Charnock Richard with the away side victorious that time. The winner of the tie this year will set a new FA Cup record for the club by reaching the 2nd Qualifying Round for the first time ever.
It would be a similar record run for the winner of Cobham and Risborough Rangers, too. Whilst Steyning Town Community would equal their best run or their opponents, Sheppey United, would set their best round reached. And the winner of Larkhall Athletic versus Bitton would are guaranteed to at least equal their best FA Cup runs.
Three FA Cup debutant clubs are still standing. Hashtag United won a remarkable penalty shoot-out 13-12 to cause a Cupset against Felixstowe and Walton United. New Salamis also caused a Cupset with a 5-1 thrashing of West Essex, and Newark have now played two FA Cup matches and won them both 4-0!
Of the six Step 6 clubs still in the FA Cup, West Allotment Celtic and Shifnal Town face arguably the hardest task, both hosting Step 3 clubs in the shape of Hyde United and Alvechurch respectively. Since 1979/80, when the non-league pyramid started to take shape, only seven Step 6 clubs have ever defeated clubs from Step 3 or above in the FA Cup before.
Just 20% of Q1 Round ties involve two clubs who will meet in League action this season. Most of them involve Step 3 or Step 4 clubs but there are five such Step 5 clashes. Northwest Counties League Premier Division has two of them; Skelmersdale United versus Bootle and that Longridge Town versus Charnock Richard tie. Northern League Division One clubs Consett and Stockton Town go head-to-head, whilst Walthamstow host fellow Essex Senior League side St Margaretsbury to complete the quartet.