It’s the 150th anniversary of the FA Cup and released in time for this Extra Preliminary Rd is ‘FA Cup 150’ a book of facts, stats and Top 150 lists from FACupFactfile to commemorate and celebrate this famous competition.
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Three hundred and forty-eight of the 729 clubs participating in the 150th anniversary of the FA Cup begin their campaigns across the 6th, 7th and 8th of August.
Among their number are 16 clubs involved in this famous competition for the first ever time, including Jersey Bulls, the first club from that Channel Island to do so and the club who will host the most southerly FA Cup match in history when they face Horsham YMCA.
And Cornish side Mousehole FC will host the most westerly mainland FA Cup game in history (just west of Penzance) and the most southerly mainland FA Cup game in history (just south of Porthleven) when they take on Helston Athletic.
And the newly formed Macclesfield FC take their place in the FA Cup with a home draw against Burscough FC. It’ll be the fifth debut club Burscough will have faced in the FA Cup having won three of the previous four.
There are also 33 clubs returning to compete in the FA Cup this season, the majority after just one or two seasons away. Long Buckby, Ilfracombe Town and Wokingham and Emmbrook have a few more year’s absence from the competition, but Skegness Town are participating in the FA Cup for the first time in 36 years. Only 75 clubs have had longer gaps between successive FA Cup games.
Skegness Town have also not exited the FA Cup as early as the Extra Preliminary Round since the 1950/51 season, as is also the case for Stamford FC who travel to GNG Oadby Town to protect their record. For Aylesbury United it is 1937/38 since they last exited in the Extra Preliminary Round, for Tooting and Mitcham it is 1935/36, and for Newhaven FC it is 1924/25. And Corby Town are competing in FA Cup for the 77th time having never gone out of the competition as early as the Extra Preliminary Round.
Skegness Town travel to Pinchbeck United, one of 18 clubs in the Extra Preliminary Round yet to taste victory in the competition. Unlike most of the eighteen, Pinchbeck United have had multiple FA Cup campaigns so far with this being their fourth attempt to progress beyond this round. However, Holyport FC, returning after three years away, are looking to reach the Preliminary Round for the first time at the eighth time of asking. Only one other club in FA Cup history, Birmingham based Headingley FC, has had more FA Cup campaigns without ever going further than the Extra Preliminary Round.
Holyport visit Ascot United in one of 68 Extra Preliminary Round ties involving clubs who will meet each other in league action throughout the season. This is a significant increase in the number of clubs involved in such ties probably due to the restructure of the pyramid resulting in fewer divisions actually being covered by the FA Cup. In previous seasons many of the clubs now classed as Step Five would have been Step Six and so naturally in a different division. The number of new Step Five Leagues is far fewer than the number of Step Six leagues not involved this season.
There are nine Step Six clubs involved in this year’s FA Cup and all of them face Step Five opposition. There are also 21 clubs from Step Four participating in the Extra Preliminary Round with Glossop North End hosting Widnes and Larkhall Athletic taking on Lymington Town meaning there will be at least two of them exiting the FA Cup at this early stage.
In contrast to the increase in clubs meeting fellow League opponents this season, there has been a decrease in the number of ties involving clubs who’ve met in the FA Cup before. There are just 35 such encounters with both Sleaford Town and Basford United looking to avenge defeats from just last season by Anstey Nomads and Stansted FC respectively. Conversely, Potton United has had to wait 76 years to exact revenge against Eynesbury Rovers.
The most common tie of the Extra Preliminary Round sees Shildon FC and Garforth Town drawn together for the fifth time with the Railwaymen ahead by three wins to win in previous FA Cup encounters with the Miners of Garforth. Portland United and Bournemouth FC are meeting for the fourth time in the competition, but for the first time in 72 years when the Poppies had their only win against Portland in the FA Cup. Bashley FC and Calne Town are also meeting for the fourth time, Bashley having won all three previous meetings with a goal aggregate of 14 to two.
Three clubs involved in this season’s Extra Preliminary Round have actually competed in the last eight of the competition before. Admittedly, Northwich Victoria, Glossop North End and Chatham Town all did so more than 100 years ago, but they have all appeared in Quarter Finals in the past.
Guisborough Town are entering the FA Cup for the 45th time and have played 113 FA Cup matches to date, but Penrith FC will be their first opponents beginning with the letter ‘P’. Similarly, Thetford Town are in their 53rd campaign, and Arlesey Town are their first opponents beginning with the letter ‘A’.
The stat of the Extra Preliminary Round concerns Worcester City who will become the first club to have faced both Coventry City and Coventry United in the competition. They famously shocked Coventry City just seven years ago in the First Round so are going for the Coventry double.