We’re a world away from star names and top-flight clashes, but the FA Cup qualifying rounds are still those games which many fans up and down the country live for.
And from Stourbridge’s stunning cup record to Non-League giant-killings in Mansfield and Morpeth, here are the best stories so far, as we head into the FA Second Qualifying Round. Grab yourself a Bovril and settle down for the best three stories of the weekend.
Mansfield of Dreams
The biggest football crowd in the area last weekend saw Mansfield Town draw 0-0 with Cambridge United, but it was neighbouring AFC Mansfield of the Northern Counties East League who produced the weekend’s most exciting – and surprising – game in East Nottinghamshire.
They hosted Stratford Town on Saturday, but despite plying their trade two divisions below their visitors, the Bulls grabbed a hard-fought 2-1 victory. And it’s fair to say they’re excited about making it into the next round.
— AFC Mansfield (@AFCMansfield) September 5, 2016
Cup Kings Stourbridge doing it again
Gary Hackett’s men made it to the second round proper in last season’s FA Cup, beating National League heavyweights Dover Athletic along the way – and they’ve started their push to match that feat with a stellar comeback victory at Peterborough Sports.
This time around, it was the West Midlands outfit who were trying to avoid the cup upset against the Turbines, and they duly blew their hosts away, thanks largely to a 50-yard screamer from Tom Tonks. Here’s a goal that most of the Ladbrokes News team would struggle to score on FIFA 16.
— Express & Star (@ExpressandStar) September 4, 2016
Step 10 teams defy the odds
Much like a League Two side matching teams from the top tiers of English football, it’s quite an achievement for clubs at Step 10 of the pyramid (the fifth level of Non League) to be in the hat for the fourth successive round of the competition, but two of them have managed just that.
It’s hats off to our friends at Billingham Synthonia and Leicester Road, both of whom grabbed impressive draws against higher-level opposition and have made it into the draw for the next round.
And there’s more motivation than ever for the two clubs, with Billingham just 90 minutes away from a meeting with Non League giants FC United of Manchester, while National League North heavyweights Boston United could be on a Road trip to Leicestershire.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing