For the first time in four seasons there are four non-league clubs who have made it through to the FA Cup 3rd Round, and each of them has drawn a plum home tie. But that’s not the big story!
The FA Cup this season will witness an historic first competitive match between two clubs separated by seven levels in the Football Pyramid as Marine FC of Northern Premier League Division One North West host Premier League title challengers Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park.
Marine are only the second club from Level 8 in the pyramid to reach the 3rd Round after the feat was first achieved by Chasetown 13 years ago, and the Mariners have already won through seven Rounds of the FA Cup this season just to get here.
It’s fair to say that if Marine were somehow to become a member of that exclusive club of teams which have won eight FA Cup games in the same season it would be regarded as the greatest feat of Giant-killing in football history.
Two of the other four non-league clubs in the 3rd Round are on record-breaking runs themselves. National League North side Chorley FC have made it this far for the first time in what is their 113th FA Cup campaign, a record number of campaigns for a club making their first appearance at this stage of the competition.
Chorley take on EFL Championship side Derby County having become the first Step 6 side in FA Cup history to defeat two Step 3 clubs away from home in the same season, Wigan Athletic and Peterborough United.
When you are celebrating a milestone of campaigns in the FA Cup you are always hopeful that it will be a memorable one. Well that has certainly come true for National League side Boreham Wood who have commemorated their 50th FA Cup campaign by reaching the 3rd Round of the competition for the first time ever.
The Wood host EFL Championship side Millwall on Saturday lunchtime, with their opponents having been an FA Cup finalist as recently as 2004, and having reached the Quarter Finals twice in the last four seasons.
The fourth of the non-league quartet in this season’s FA Cup 3rd Round is National League side Stockport County who entertain premier League club West Ham United on Monday evening so they are guaranteed to be in that evening’s 4th Round draw.
Whilst the Hatters have been as far as the 5th Round of the competition in the past, this is the first time they’ve made the 3rd Round as a non-league club. And having knocked the Hammers out of the FA Cup once before, albeit in the 1930s, who’s to say it couldn’t happen again.
With the way this season’s FA Cup is progressing, it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see three non-league clubs in the 4th Round for the first time in 46 years. Or even four?