The big news from the first qualifying round of this year’s FA Cup was the decision of Bashley FC to write to the FA demanding a replay of their tie against Gosport Borough after referee Will Bull missed a clear goal. The game was balanced at 2-2 when James Stokoe put the ball in the ball in the net, and when the Gosport keeper responded by kicking the ball in frustration through the side netting, the referee gave a corner and denied Bashley a winning goal. After going out, losing 3-2 after extra time, Bashley said that they felt cheated and were asking for the replay although Gosport manager Alex Pike told the BBC that he would not be willing to replay the game. With £10,000 on the line at this early stage, to some teams that is a massive amount of money losing can mean harsh times ahead for the coming season.
For this season I have decided to start following one team on the road to Wembley, and decided to start this off with the team closest to my hometown. Barrow’s Holker Old Boys of the North West Counties League First Division travelled to North Yorkshire to face KoolSport North Eastern Counties League Premier Division Tadcaster Albion. A goal from Steve Jeff and a brace from Callum Ward was enough to see the home side through to face Skelmersdale United in the Second Qualifying Round
In other games throughout the First Qualifying Round, the biggest wins came for Curzon Ashton, who recently gone as far as the Second Round Proper managed to win 8-1 against Maltby Main with a hat trick for Tony Evans and a brace from Kristian Dennis. Four goals from Craig Hammond helped Cambridge City beat Huntingdon Town 7-0. Their were also convincing away wins for the Met Police, who beat Beckenham Town 7-1 and AFC Totton who had a memorable run last season, as they beat Swindon Supermarine 6-0 away from home thanks to two goals apiece from Richard Gillespie, Dave Allen and Mike Gosney.
The biggest crowd of the day was at Chorley, where 633 people gathered to see the home side ease to a 2-0 win against Nantwich Town after two quick goals early in the second half from Ciaran Kilheeney and Darren Stephenson. The smallest crowd was at Blackfield & Langley where just 45 people turned up to see the home side cruise to a 4-0 win against Almondsbury UWE.
Other teams of interest in the draw were former Conference sides Stafford Rangers who overcame Stourport Swifts 2-1 after a replay. Weymouth also needed a second game to beat Totton & Elling 2-0. Kettering Town beat Wisbech Town 3-0 while Kingstonian and Maidstone United beat Guildford and Chipstead respectively. FC United played on the Sunday and over 1000 people came to see them beat Cammell Laird 5-0 as they attempet to reach the proper competition again.
Selected Second Round Qualifying ties
Curzon Ashton vs Bradford PA
Salford City vs FC United
Tadcaster Albion vs Skelmersdale United
Chorley vs Frickley Athletic
Cambridge City vs Grantham Town
Fareham Town vs Blackfield & Langley
Truro City vs AFC Totton
Boston United vs Kettering Town