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11 November 2014
Forest Green Rovers' James Norward fires in a shot against Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup First Round. Photo by Keith Clayton.

A record eighteen of the twenty four Conference Premier clubs qualified for the First Round Proper of the FA Cup this season and as they were joined by The Conference North with seven and two from The Conference South, there were only five other non-league places available.

However, their ‘juniors’ certainly made the most of their opportunities, as Blyth Spartans ( Northern Premier League) brought back memories of their wonderful Cup run in 1977-1978, with a glorious 4-1 victory over equally famous Altrincham.

Warrington had led the way with a storming performance in a wonderful televised cup tie against Exeter City on the Friday evening. The game, the crowd and the example of manager Sean Reid with his interviews before, during and after the game were an example to all young managers. In fact his pre match motivating words for his players which he repeated for television in a later programme, should be presented as the perfect example of pre match inspiration for the ‘underdog’ in an important game.

East Thurrock United and Norton Town had enjoyed their exciting cup runs but found their latest challenge too much and Maidstone United drew a tight game at Stevenage.

With the replays and two games unfit for completion, there are still more headlines to come. But it was Chester City winning 2-1 at Southend United and Worcester City, who really took pride of place, also with a 2-1 victory at Coventry City, the famous League One club who had actually won the competition in a thrilling Wembley Final in 1987. Making it four non-league victories over the two days, Dover Athletic won a tight battle against Morecombe by the only goal of the game and hopefully there will be more headlines to come after the replays.

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