The first round of the FA cup came along and the surviving 32 non-league teams had a chance to put together a decent run and gain some nice prize money. £18,000 was the prize for getting through to Round Two, with any victorious teams just one step away from that dream tie against a Premier League giant.
As always, there were a few big upsets. Dorchester Town took advantage of League Two side Plymouth Argyle being reduced to ten men as early as the tenth minute. Former Pilgrim Jake Gosling scored the only goal of the game just after the break and the hosts were unlucky not to add to the visitors woes before the game ended in a 1-0 home win. A largely unchanged Harrogate Town side travelled to Torquay United after the gruelling extra time replay win earlier in the week and Chib Chilaka scored the vital goal as Town squeezed past the Gulls .A brace from Donovan Simmonds added to by a last minute strike from Jamie Slabber as they raced to a 3-1 victory against local rivals Colchester United in the first match between the two in over four decades. Hereford United won by the same scoreline against Shrewsbury Town and former Bulls manager, owner and chairman Graham Turner (now in charge of Shrewsbury) with Ryan Bowman adding two goals to Will Evans early strike.
There were also guarantees of non-league participation in Round Two as four games from the draw were contested by teams all from the lower ends of the pyramid. Luton Town needed a replay to overcome league strugglers Nuneaton Town, but earned a 2-0 win to see them through. Barrow also earned another shot at a cup run after beating Guiseley 1-0 in a replay after Guiseley had almost shocked the Bluebirds in the original tie. Alfreton Town upset Wrexham 4-2 at the Racecourse Ground. Hastings United are the lowest ranked team left in the competition, the Isthmian League Premier Division side overcoming Bishops Stortford with a fine 2-1 away win to seal their place. Mansfield Town overcame Slough after being taken to a replay by the Southern League Division One Central side, although they needed penalties to ensure there progress after extra time.
It was the end of the road in this year’s competition for fourteen of the non-league clubs that had made it to the First Round proper, with the lowest ranked team left in the competition all bowed out. Metropolitan Police succumbed to a hard fought 2-1 defeat at home to Crawley Town, whilst Yate Town lost 3-0 away at Cheltenham Town and Arlesey were on the wrong end of 3-0 result against Coventry City. Also leaving at this stage of the competition were Bratintree Town who were beaten 3-0 by Tranmere Rovers, Cambridge City who too MK Dons to a replay before being beaten 6-1, Boreham Wood who lost 2-0 at home to Brentford and Kidderminster Harriers who lost by the same scoreline at home to Oldham Athletic.
Stockport County and Bromley also fell at this hurdle, both losing by a 3-0 scoreline to Southend and Fleetwood Town respectively, whilst Forest Green Rovers and Hendon both lost by a single goal, Port Vale ending Forest Green’s run with a 3-2 and Aldershot defeating Hendon 2-1. Bradford Park Avenue and AFC Fylde both exited the competition too, with both losing to nearby teams Doncaster and Accrington respectively. Carlisle made it a long quiet journey home for the Ebbsfleet fans that had made the near 700 mile round trip to see their team lose 4-2 against the Cumbrians. Leyton Orient also ended the hopes of Gloucester City as the O’s won 2-0 away at their shared Whaddon Road ground.
The Second Round draw ensured that there will definitely be four non league teams in the draw for the third round with a possible three others depending if the Road To Wembley side Altrincham can overcome Burton Albion in the delayed tie.
Second Round draw
Crewe Alexandra vs Burton Alb / Altrincham
Luton Town vs Dorchester Town
Alfreton Town vs Leyton Orient
Barrow vs Macclesfield Town
Lincoln City vs Mansfield Town
Harrogate Town vs Hastings United
Crawley Town vs Chelmsford City