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Five is the magic number as non league sides chase FA Cup glory

| 02.12.2011

One of the many ways to try to make money from FA Cup second round weekend on Ladbrokes is by betting on how many non-league clubs will secure a spell in the spotlight by progressing into the third round.

At least two sides are guaranteed to mingle with the Premier League and Championship’s finest in Sunday’s draw because Gateshead drew Conference rivals Tamworth and Grimsby are heading to Conference South strugglers Salisbury.

And as there have been at least three non-league qualifiers in each of the last three seasons, there is reason to believe that a couple of others will cause upsets. It is 11/4 that three make it through, four is 13/8 and five 11/5.

Expecting any more appears a tad ambitious. The record mark of eight was achieved just three years ago – it is 66/1 for that tally to be equalled or beaten this time – and before that the benchmark was six, a figure set way back in 1978, and 11/2 to be matched.

Three shocks to go with the pair of all non-league ties feels like a realistic target at 11/5, but where could those be found?

One candidate is Luton, who host League Two surprise package Cheltenham. Since losing Football League status in 2009, the Hatters have eliminated three higher division teams, reaching the third round in 2009-10 and taking Charlton to a replay at this point in 2010-11. They are 8/5 to win.

The tendency of giantkillers to have the tables turned on them leaves Stevenage vulnerable away to Plymouth’s conquerors Stourbridge, who are 6/1. Likewise, classic cup heroes Yeovil are evens to fall to Conference joint-leaders Fleetwood.

Macclesfield’s run of four League Two games without a victory also puts them in danger at 11/5 to be dumped out by Conference South promotion hopefuls Chelmsford, whose sold loss in 20 came in the Essex Senior Cup.



Richard Anderson