I did open up the floor to my Twitter followers earlier on Sunday for ideas to write the next blog but it seems most were asleep on the sofa after a roast dinner but one idea did come out so here it is.
What do we class as an FA Cup shock these days? Of course a club from the predominantly part time section of the footballing pyramid has to be classed as upsetting the odds defeating those above them.
But when it comes to the National League and their clubs knock out a League One or Two club is it really as unexpected as it happens on the day? I sat through Chesterfield’s magnificent win over Salford City, themselves once a National League club but always with aspirations higher up the food chain, no doubt no different to a lot in the current top flight of non-league football.
Despite Salford’s ability to control possession they rarely threatened Scott Loach in the Spireites goal and we all know, no ball in the back of the net doesn’t win you games. Sometimes games rest on fine margins, a fingertip save from Loach preceded a second goal for the visitors, the difference there between a replay and an automatic place in the next round.
It’s not just Chesterfield at it, Yeovil also claimed a 3rd round place after a 1-0 win over Stevenage. The Glovers have that fantastic record of scalps over league clubs, 21 now in total, but I didn’t see this one as anything of a shock. Yeovil aren’t among the National League front runners granted, but considering Stevenage only survived being a non-league club last season by virtue of the Football League working out nicely how to move the Macclesfield problem away did they stay up.
This season they’re not exactly in much better shape and in that respect they’re not on a different level to Yeovil. We saw Stockport really take the game to Bolton in the last round and narrowly lose 1-0 at Rotherham on Friday night, there is certainly much less of a gap between League Two and the National League for sure and even going a little higher some sides might well hold their own.
Those of us that follow National League sides know how strong the division looks and actually is, it takes some to get out of it at the right end especially with only two places up for grabs. I think I’ve said it quite a few times I believed back in August 14 of the 23 sides would have said they’re in the hunt for the title or at least aiming for the play-offs.
That’s some number and a lot of disappointed teams come next May! So far though we’re not yet half way through the season and there is time for some of the clubs that are somewhat adrift of even a play-off spot to come good.
So, we come back to the original question that was asked and in my opinion when a full time National League club knocks out a League One or Two club in the FA Cup then I don’t consider it a shock, I’m not even convinced a part-time club knocking out a league club is as huge as it used to be, these clubs are just as organised as their full time counterparts and there is often the argument non-league’s top division should become League Three given it’s professionalism.
‘Shocks’ should be reserved for those teams in the lower levels of the pyramid who knock out someone higher up, feel free to say what you think, is a shock the same if you’re not Buxton, Bromley, Beaconsfield or Bexhill Utd? Let me know………….