Sometimes sitting at home and watching the day’s football unfold across numerous teams and leagues seems just as enjoyable as watching one game take place in front of your eyes.
When it also happens to be FA Cup weekend it’s almost a double bonus. Those of us non-leaguers know the competition started way back in early August, not the First Round proper when the TV companies become a bit more interested and not the Third Round when the Premier League sides introduce their second string to the nation.
Making it to the Fourth Qualifying round when the National League sides enter for the first time is the final time it’s solely about non-league but 90 minutes away from being in the draw to entertain a Football League side.
The draw had pitted the chances of numerous upsets among the sixty-four teams, some made it, some went very close and some found the gulf in class and depth against them.
Starting closest to me in Sussex, Isthmian League Premier Division Horsham in front of a crowd a shade under 2,000 shocked National League Woking with a solitary late goal to book their place in Sunday’s draw. League form definitely went out the window with the Hornets struggling to get going so far this year whilst the Cards had picked up some great results over the past few weeks.
Not to be outdone Bowers & Pitsea from Horsham’s division also knocked out National League opponents in Aldershot whilst Harrow Borough who reside in the Southern League also at Step 4 sent National League South Chelmsford City packing having been 2-1 behind on the hour mark.
Two more South sides in Dartford and Bath City found themselves on the wrong end of score lines, AFC Sudbury accounting for the Darts while Banbury Utd needed just a single goal to dispose of City.
Some sides came very close to an upset, Corinthian Casuals Step 3 Isthmian Premier were denied victory by a last minute St Albans equaliser while Folkestone Invicta from the same division let a 3-0 half time lead slip and also conceded the equaliser from Eastleigh in the final minutes, Spitfires boss Ben Strevens no doubt with a huge sigh of relief they’re still in the competition.
Marine, who enjoyed a fantastic run in last years competition before finally going out to Spurs were seconds away from knocking out the big spenders of Wrexham. Hayes and Yeading looked as if they would account for South division Dorking Wanderers but a replay is needed to separate the two sides this coming week.
Both Chertsey and Hungerford took the lead against National League opposition but Southend and Bromley proved too strong in the end with 4-1 and 2-1 win’s, respectively.
Talking of replays there are fourteen happening this week, where in all bar two of those ties there are twelve more chances for an upset and of course those sides will know by then who they face in the First Round Proper.
Watching it all unfold this afternoon was actually pretty good fun having taken in Grimsby starting the day off with a 5-0 away win at Bromsgrove Sporting but back to watching the live stuff this midweek and next weekend.