FA Cup: Reaction from Monday's First Round Proper Draw
It was excitement aplenty on Monday night as 80 clubs and their supporters, 48 clubs from the English Football League and a further 32 non-league outfits who had negotiated the qualifying rounds, geared up for the long-awaited first-round draw for this season’s instalment of the FA Cup, the world’s oldest professional football cup competition.
With the First Round proper renown down the years for its historic “cupsets”, teams from the low, little-known echelons of the semi-professional leagues pulling off a historic giant-killing in taking the scalp of a Football League club, there was undoubtedly massive excitement for the big draw, which took place at 19:15 GMT, with Paul Ince and David James, both former winners of the competition during their careers, present as special guests.
Manchester United are of course the current holders, having taken the trophy by beating Crystal Palace in the final shortly before the departure of Louis Van Gaal as manager, and they will enter at the Third Round stage of the competition along with the remainder of the clubs from the Premier League and EFL Championship.
But for tonight the onus was on the minnows of the tournament, none more so than lowest ranked side Westfields, a Hereford-based club who compete in the ninth-tier of English football in the Midland League Premier Division and qualified for the FA Cup First Round for the first time in their history after a 2-1 triumph over Leiston.
Westfields’ first ever fixture in the FA Cup First Round Proper will be a home tie to Curzon Ashton, who overcame York City in their fourth qualifying round replay on Monday night, a fixture which the competition debutants will be relishing as they look to make more history in front of their own fans and reach the Second Round.
One member of the football family on Twitter is already somewhat confident about the chances the first-timers have of going further:
Westfields fc have a very winnable game tbh #FACupdraw
— Carl (@carl0121) October 17, 2016
Fellow non-league outfit Merstham, who ply their trade in the Isthmian Premier Division will enjoy a plum tie at home to League One club Oxford United, and it didn’t take long for the banter to begin…
— James Norwood (@jnorwood_10) October 17, 2016
Oxford’s local rivals Swindon Town are also away to non-league opposition, after pulling National League Eastleigh out of the hat, the only non-league club to go as far as the third round in last season’s tournament.
One Oxford fan was quick to wish the non-league side luck against their rivals, particularly with former Us striker James Constable amongst the Eastleigh ranks:
Another giant killer of last season Chesham United, who took the scalp of Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium, will face league opposition away from home once more, as they gear up for a showdown with League One side Peterborough United.
Though that wasn’t enough for this Posh fan to have any idea who his team were up against…
No clue who Chesham United are 😂
— Ryan (@hunter_rhino) October 17, 2016
He had better hope he doesn’t end up with egg on his face.
The winners of Harrow Borough and Margate’s replay tonight face a potentially lucrative clash, as they travel to Sixfields to take on Northampton Town of League One in the first round.
Solihull Moors of the National League will feature in the First Round Proper for the first time in their history, and they also pulled out league opposition with a trip to Yeovil Town. Another first-timer in Round One in Spennymoor Town, FA Vase Champions of 2013, have an exciting away tie of their own to look forward to, as they travel to Stadium:mk to take on Milton Keynes Dons.
And reaction from the Midlands club suggests that they are more than thrilled with the tie they have been given:
🗣 What's your verdict? pic.twitter.com/BKp68hV9r0
— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 17, 2016
Meanwhile, there was some banter to be had in MK Dons’ draw, particularly so given that this is a rare case of them playing against a club who are in fact younger than them…
What odds on Spennymoor having more supporters at the game than MK I wonder…
— Mr Wazzock (@Ianhirst666) October 17, 2016
Elsewhere non-league clubs Maidstone United, St. Albans City, Southport and Boreham Wood all drew league opposition at home, in the shape of Rochdale, Carlisle, Fleetwood and Notts County respectively, whilst Dover face a trip to League Two Cambridge United and the winners of Wrexham and Stamford’s replay face a trip to another League Two outfit in Hartlepool United.
There was also a repeat of a tie from the 2013/14 season which culminated in a huge upset, Brackley Town of the National League North drawn away to League One Gillingham, who they dumped out of the competition three years ago following a replay.
And the reaction from Kent certainly indicates that they haven’t forgotten about it:
— Luke Cawdell (@KentOnlineGills) October 17, 2016
Brackley Town at home… We all know what happened last time😬
— Louis Hambrook (@LouisHambrook1) October 17, 2016
There was one fan however who was a little unhappy with how the draw went, given the potential picks for TV:
Dreadful draw. TV games from Eastleigh v Swindon, Merstham v Oxford U, Westfields v York (if they beat Curzon later) & Maidstone v Rochdale
— Sam Elliott (@Sam_Elliott_) October 17, 2016
Do you agree with him? Please, feel free to express YOUR opinion on the FA Cup First Round draw, which can be seen in full below.
Full FA Cup First Round Proper Draw:
Sheffield United v Leyton Orient
Millwall v Southend United
Dagenham & Redbridge v FC Halifax Town
Merstham v Oxford United
Taunton Town/Hemel Hempstead Town v Barrow
Southport v Fleetwood Town
Yeovil Town v Solihull Moors
Stockport County v Torquay United/Woking
Dartford v Sutton United
Walsall v Macclesfield Town
Port Vale v Stevenage
Northampton Town v Harrow Borough/Margate
Cambridge United v Dover Athletic
Westfields v Curzon Ashton
MK Dons v Spennymoor Town
Gillingham v Brackley Town
Alfreton Town/Gateshead v Newport County
Portsmouth v Wycombe Wanderers
Maidstone United v Rochdale
Bury v AFC Wimbledon
St. Albans City v Carlisle United
Boreham Wood v Notts County
Mansfield Town v Plymouth Argyle
Braintree Town v Eastbourne Borough
Hartlepool United v Wrexham/Stamford
Bolton Wanderers v Grimsby Town
Bradford City v Accrington Stanley
Oldham Athletic v Doncaster Rovers
Eastleigh v Swindon Town
Shrewsbury Town v Barnet
Morecambe v Coventry City
Crawley Town v Bristol Rovers
Whitehawk v Stourbridge
Colchester United v Chesterfield
Lincoln City/Guiseley v Altrincham
Exeter City v Luton Town
Charlton Athletic v Scunthorpe United
Cheltenham Town v Crewe Alexandra
Peterborough United v Chesham United
Blackpool v Kidderminster Harriers
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by andrew finlay.
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