Saturday is the First Round Proper of the 2016/17 Emirates FA Cup, and following the positive reaction to our recent nostalgia piece on Bracknell Town’s one and only appearance – we thought we’d have a look at some of our other local clubs and how they got on, on their big days..
As you’ll know from our recent piece, the Robins headed up to Lincoln City in the first round of the 2000/01 competition with the backing of 500 locals. It wasn’t to be on the day for Bracknell against their Football League Division 3 opponents but it was a wild ride – one which took them past Merstham FC who happen to be first round debutants this season.
Bracknell almost made it on two other occasions – losing in the fourth qualifying round to Barnet in 2003/04 and Burton Albion (well before they were a Championship super-club!) in 1995/96.
The Krooners finest FA Cup hour came in the 1998/99 season – two seasons before Bracknell Town – but they almost made it the previous season when after fighting all the way through five ties, they lost at home in a fourth qualifying round replay to Billericay Town after drawing 1-1 in Essex.
The following season they went one better and defeated St Blazey in the fourth qualifying round with the reward – a trip to Griffin Park to play Brentford – then in Division 3 where they suffered a 5-0 defeat.
That loss marked the last time Camberley got past the second qualifying round of the tournament.
The Magpies have a good history in the competition – and being a Vanarama National League South side don’t have to bother with all the pesky qualifying rounds which in recent years has meant beginning in the second qualifying round.
Maidenhead have made the first round proper on eight occasions but have never been any further. The most recent visit was season 2015/16 when they lost a replay at home to Port Vale. This season saw them fall to Staines Town in the second qualifying round.
Since then, the Magpies have played and lost to Football League opposition in the first round in two of the last three seasons, Coventry City and Portsmouth.
Slough are arguably the best of the bunch having reached the second round proper on six occasions – famously beating a Paul Merson managed Walsall 2-1 at Windsor’s Stag Meadow in November 2004.
Merson admitted at a Bracknell Town footballing dinner attended by Football in Berkshire that he’d told his players the match would be straight forward – to put it politely. Unfortunately for the Rebels they were beaten in the second round by fellow non-leaguers Yeading.
As for first round appearances.. just the 18 times including twice against Reading in 1973 and 1991.
Since this article was first written, the Rebels have gone on to play in the Second Round in consecutive seasons losing out to Rochdale in 2017/18 and Gillingham in 2018/19.
Windsor & Eton
Now defunct and replaced by Combined Counties Premier side Windsor, the Royalists had – like their neighbours Slough a decent FA Cup pedigree making the first round proper seven times, and the second round once.
That second round tie was in 1983 and saw Windsor beaten 2-0 in a replay at AFC Bournemouth.
The first first round tie was a 4-2 defeat to Charlton Athletic in 1925 while the last was a 1-0 defeat by Woking in 1991 – the season after the Cards made history by defeating West Bromwich Albion in the third round before eventually succumbing to Everton.
Long before Wokingham & Emmbrook, the Isthmian League Premier (known as the Ryman League) played host to Wokingham Town who would go on to merge with Emmbrook Sports.
In 1982/83 Town finished 17th out of 22 teams – a bit of a blip considering the two seasons either side they never finished outside the top eight.
The blip could possibly be explained by the sides run to the first round proper of the FA Cup where they faced then League Division 3 side Cardiff City and held them to a 1-1 draw at Finchampstead Road despite according to our research a wall collapsing during the game as you can see in the image.
According to Getty Images, the scorer of Wokingham’s goal was George Torrance – a soldier based in Berlin who was flown back especially for the game.
Town played eight games to get to the first round – it was unlimited replays at the time – and headed to Ninian Park for the replay but were ultimately beaten 3-0.