Let's spend a night together

FFT.com blogger Neil Redpath is watching a game in every single round of the FA Cup. No matter what the family circumstances...

I thought I'd start this blog with some interesting statistics from this year's FA Cup competition so far.

- Out of the 406 teams that entered the cup in the Extra Preliminary Round, 24 have made it to the Second Qualifying Round (winning three matches to get there).

- The 129 teams entering at the Preliminary Round Stage have been whittled down to just 45 teams that kicked off on Saturday.

- There have been 100 replays played over the last three rounds, with eight of those ties being decided on penalties.

- The biggest wins came from Alresford Town’s 8-0 win against Shaftesbury in the Extra Preliminary Round and Kendal Town’s 9-1 demolition of Guisborough Town in the First Qualifying Round.

- The competition's giantkillers so far are Pegasus Juniors, a Hereford-based team playing in the Hellenic League, two leagues below their opponents. Against the odds they beat Zamaretto Southern Premier league outfit Hednesford Town 4-1, which meant the Pegs reach the Second Qualifying Round for the first time in their short history.

- There was also an impressive display by Horden CW, of the Northern League Division 1, beating Durham City of the Unibond Premier Division 3-1 after a replay. 

That's the facts. Now, if you’re still awake, I'll continue...

It’s my daughter's first birthday and, surprise surprise, it falls on the Saturday of the Second Qualifying Round. I’m not cold-hearted enough to miss my daughter's big day for a football match, and with the missus twisting my arm, I have to look beyond the weekend’s games and onto the replays.

Fingers crossed there are some replays. That'll be a new twist, taking me away from weekend games. The thought of watching the world's oldest cup competition under floodlights on a weeknight fills me with excitement. I'm sure it will improve the atmosphere.

As I see the results come in, I notice Aveley FC snatching a late equaliser against Burnham FC at the Gore. And so, a quick drive down the M11 after work will be in order for Wednesday night's replay.

Aveley FC, or the Millers, were formed in 1927, and they play their football at Mill Field, a stone's throw from the Dartford crossing.

Sitting pretty in sixth place in the Rymans Premier League, they wouldn't need much more than a postcard to write home about their cup exploits, although they did reach the First Round Proper back in 1970.

Burnham FC are the second oldest club in Buckinghamshire, formed in 1878. In 1985 they merged with Hillingdon Borough FC to become Burnham & Hillingdon FC. But soon after, they changed their name back to Burnham FC.

Like Aveley, Burnham are doing well in their league campaign, sitting fourth in the Zamaretto League Midlands Division 1. And their success in this competition rivals that of Aveley’s, reaching the First Round Proper in 2005, losing to Aldershot Town.

A Wednesday night journey around the M25 through roadworks... it'll feel like I have won the cup myself if I get there before kick off...


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