Wrexham provided the only real shock in this years 2nd Round, on what was generally a poor day for the remaining non-league teams in the FA Cup. With relatively low prize money in the FA Cup (£27,000 for each of the winners at this stage), the big chance here is the chance of drawing a Premier League team and the money that such a match would bring in terms of gate receipts and possible TV coverage.
Jamie Tolley scored the only goal and the Dragons held on to secure a shock victory against their League One hosts Brentford. In a match that could have gone either way, the visitors showed the passion and determination to make it through and managed to hold on to lead to win through 1-0. The only other non-league team definitely through is Tamworth who conquered their Blue Square Premier counterparts Gateshead away from home in a fine 2-1 win. Francino Francis gave the Lambs a 1-0 lead at half time, before Nathan Fisher equalised midway through the second half. Kyle Patterson was the hero for Tamworth with a last minute goal, which earned them their passage into Round Three.
There is a chance of three other non-league teams to going through but must first face a replay after Saturdays matches. Chelmsford took an unexpected lead through Max Cornhill in the first half, but a second half equaliser from Tony Diagne saved the League Two sides blushes in a 1-1 draw. Salisbury and Grimsby will play again after fighting out a goalless draw, although it does mean another team from outside the League will be in the draw. Fleetwood staged a late comeback to earn a 2-2 draw against Yeovil. After falling behind to goals either side of half time from Ed Upson and Conor Clifford, but the Cod Army fought back with two goals in the last eight minutes from Keiran Charnock and a Jamie Milligan penalty.
Unfortunately for most of the teams lower down the pyramid the romance of a good Cup run came to an abrupt end over the weekend. Southern League team AFC Totton succumbed to a strong Bristol Rovers side that were three up within thirteen minutes with goals from Joe Ayinsah, Mustapha Carayol and Dan Woodards. Byron Anthony added more misery before Totton’s Nathaniel Sherbourne brought some joy to the 2,236 people gathered at the Testwood Stadium. Bristol finished the game off with a brace from substitute Eliot Richards on harsh day for Totton. Sutton United bowed out of the competition after losing 2-0 at home to Notts County. Jeff Hughes put the visitors in the lead and Leroy Griffiths missed a chance to level the scores after seeing his penalty saved. Jeff Hughes added another in injury time to seal the win.
Stourbridge also saw their dream come to an end after losing at home to Stevenage (themselves giant killers in their non league days). Chris Beardsley’s double and Robin Shroot’s injury time goal was enough to see Stevenage through 3-0. Luton pushed Cheltenham all the way after going behind to a Darryl Duffy goals just 2 minutes in. The Hatter’s Aaron O’Connor scored a brace either side of Marlon Packs goal to leave the score tied at 2-2. Cheltenham then took control as Luke Summerfield and Russell Penn scored without reply to earn Cheltenham a 4-2 win. Also gone (but not forgotten after their fine run this year) is Isthmian League Division One North side Redbridge. Crawley’s Matt Tubbs scored a hat trick before Andy Drury and Kyle McFadzean rounded off a nightmare away trip for the lowest ranked side that had made it this far in the competition.
The draw for the Third Round threw up some interesting ties. Tamworth’s reward for their heroics this year was a trip to Goodison Park to face Premier League Everton. Wrexham also face an away trip, this time to Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion. The winner of Salisbury and Grimsby will travel to Sheffield United but its is the draw where the non league team could be at home that are the most likely to throw up some drama. If Chelmsford can get past Macclesfield they will face Bolton Wanderers and feel they do some damage to the Underperforming Premier League team. The tie of the round for me though has undeniably got to be a local derby. Although another derby will be the one making most of the headlines, there is a chance (should the replay at Huish Park go their way) that Fleetwood Town will take on close (at 8 miles, surely one of the easier journeys in the third round) rivals Blackpool at the impressive Highbury Stadium. Who needs United vs. City?