So the FA Cup second round is here and with the opening game of the round, non league Blyth Spartans opened up with a victory against league strugglers Hartlepool. Despite going a goal behind the lowly Spartans came back and rode their luck. A cracking free kick and a deflected winner saw the visitors cause an upset and earn themselves the opportunity of a big money shot at a Premier League club in the third round draw. That wasnt all for the defeated Hartlepool, despite only being in the job since October, they sacked manager Paul Murray.
The magic of the FA Cup continued on its very own Super Sunday. There were ten FA Cup ties taking place with several non league sides hoping to make the third round draw. Two non league teams were guaranteed a place in the third round draw when they were paired together. Gateshead hosted Warrington Town and it was the home side who were dreaming of plum ties against Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. It seemed one round too far for the visitors whose home is more noted for the game of rugby league. In the all conference tie, Southport were the victors in a close game against struggling Eastleigh. The result saw the north west side emerge 2-1 winners.
For one club the FA Cup seems to have invigorated the team in the league. Kent coast team Dover Athletic have seemed to have bounced back since progressing in the competition. Before the 4th round qualifying tie against Eastbourne Borough, the side had a record of won 4 drawn 1 lost 6 F14 A 14 13 pts. This run had see four straight defeats. Since the FA Cup run, the team who play at home at the Crabble have a league record of won 4 drawn 3 lost 0 F15 A7. Im sure whilst they would welcome one of the big guns, a game at the Crabble against any of the teams would do wonders for their league run and notably finances. Should they get a good draw, they could even find themselves with a live tv game. The appearance of Dover in the FA Cup third round draw, will be their second appearance in four years at that stage.
Conference north side Worcester City, ensured their place in the third round was still alive after they held League One Scunthorpe to a 1-1 draw at the league sides ground. City will be hoping that they can cause problems for the team managed by one time cup star Mark Robins in the replay. Should they overcome Scunthorpe, another big pay day is on the cards for the non league side. Aldershot who beat Portsmouth in the previous round will be hoping to add Rochdale to the scalp list in the replay. Aldershot held the league side to a 0-0 draw and will be looking to cause an upset at Rochdale’s ground. Chester will be hoping to cause an upset against League One Barnsley after also securing a 0-0 draw. The non league visitors came very close to causing another upset and will hope to do so when they host Barnsley.
Seven games will see replays with all those involved notably being spurred on by the outcome of the third round draw. No club in the second round will want to go out with it being so close to the entry of the big guns. Come 7pm, the time will be here for the big one. Which Premier League clubs could draw the non league opposition, who would be at risk of cup humiliation and could there be third round all Premier League tie. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
The draw takes place on BBC2 from 7pm tonight.