January 2, 2018

2017-18 FA Cup 3rd Round Proper- map with attendances & fixture list./+Graph showing the number of non-League teams that qualified for the 3rd Round each season (1979-80 to 2017-18)./+Update: biggest upsets in 2017-18 FA Cup 3rd Round Proper (6th-7th January 2018).

Filed under: >2017-18 FA Cup — admin @ 3:03 pm

2017-18 FA Cup 3rd Round Proper- map with attendances & fixture list

By Bill Turianski on 2 January 2018;
-The competition…FA Cup .
-2017-18 FA Cup/3rd Round (

    Update: biggest upsets in 2017-18 FA Cup 3rd Round Proper (6th-7th January 2018)…


There are zero non-League teams in this season’s FA Cup 3rd Round.
This season’s FA Cup 3rd Round will be the first time since 1950-51 that no non-League teams have qualified.
[Explanation for neophytes: non-League means all the many leagues in the English football leagues system that are below the 4th level (ie, below the Premier League/1st level, and the League Championship/2nd level, and League One/3rd level, and League Two/4th level); see this chart of the English Football Pyramid (]

While it might be tempting to conclude that this is an example of how the gap between the Football League and non-League is starting to widen, I would say that the real reason for this is how the draw for the 2nd Round went. Because, in the 2nd Round this season, there ended up being zero match-ups between two non-League teams. (By way of comparison, last season [2016-17], there was just one non-League v non-League match-up in the 2nd Round, yet 5 non-League teams still advanced/see 2 paragraphs below).

Granted, many of the teams from non-League that were in the 2nd Round this season played poorly. But don’t forget that nine years ago, in 2008-09, the all-time record for non-League teams qualifying for the 3rd Round was set, with 8 teams. Those teams were…Barrow, Blyth Spartans, Eastwood Town, Forest Green Rovers, Histon, Kettering Town, Kidderminster Harriers, Torquay United. And it wasn’t a case of there simply being a plethora of non-League versus non-League match-ups in the 2nd Round in 2008-09, because 7 of those 8 non-League teams that qualified for the 3rd Round that season beat Football League teams to advance…Eastwood over Wycombe, Kettering over Notts County, Barrow over Brentford, FGR over Rochdale, Histon over Leeds Utd, Fleetwood over Hartlepool, Blyth Spartans over Bournemouth.

And, counting this season, in six of the last ten seasons, at least 4 non-League teams were able to make it to the 3rd Round (including in two of the last four seasons). And last season [2016-17], 5 non-League teams made into the 3rd Round, with 4 of them beating Football League opposition to advance (Sutton Utd over Cheltenham, Barrow over Bristol Rovers, Lincoln City over Oldham, Stourbridge over Northampton). And also last season, 2 non-League teams made it all the way to the 5th Round (Lincoln City and Sutton United), and one of those teams, the now-4th-division-Lincoln City, made it all the way to the 6th Round/Quarterfinals. That hadn’t happened in over a century (when a then-non-League QPR made it to the Quarterfinals, in 1914).

{To get a sense of how, through the years, non-League teams have fared in the FA Cup, see this chart from the FA Cup Factfile’s twitter feed,
Non-League teams into FA Cup 3rd Round, 1926-2018 (by Phil Annets at}

Here is a graph I put together which shows how consistent the average number of non-League teams qualifying, per decade, has been…
{Data from from FA Cup Factfile at}
1979-80 to 1988-89: 3.2 n-L teams.
1989-90 to 1998-99: 3.2 n-L teams.
1999-2000 to 2008-09: 3.4 n-L teams.
2009-10 to 2017-18: 3.22 teams [29 n-L teams qualified in a 9-season-span].
So, if 3 non-League teams make it to the 3rd round next season [2018-19], it will be 4 straight decades that at least 3.2 non-League teams have qualified per season. Now, this admittedly introduces an arbitrary factor (the clustering by decades). And, of course, you could cherry-pick the data, and say in the last 10 years, from 2008-09 to 2017-18, an increase is seen, with 4.1 n-L teams per year. But that is thanks to the spike [8 n-L teams] in 2008-09. I think what the data points to is that the level of play in non-League football has been competitive enough with respect to the lower reaches of the Football League…competitive enough to consistently engender more than a couple of non-League Cup-upsets in most every season’s 2nd round. And this has been the case for quite some time. And if anything, the gap between non-League and League is shrinking.
Graph by billsportsmaps/data from FA Cup Factfile at

Televised matches. The big news here is that Manchester United’s 3rd round match (v Derby County) will not be televised, for the first time in 13 years. It’s about time; people can see Man United plenty (elsewhere), and it had become a ridiculous situation of the powers that be cramming Man U down the throats of the viewing public, to the detriment of other worthy clubs (the Man U/Derby match will be televised in North America, though].

Meanwhile, there are a couple of big derbies to be televised…on Friday the 5th, Liverpool hosts Everton; and on Monday the 8th, Brighton & Hove Albion hosts Crystal Palace {Brighton–Crystal Palace rivalry (}. The other televised games are…the early game on Saturday the 6th (Fleetwood Town v Leicester City); the late game on Saturday the 6th (Norwich City v Chelsea); and two games on Sunday the 7th (Shrewsbury Town v West Ham United, and then Nottingham Forest v Arsenal).

A possible Cup-upset could be had by 3rd-tier-side Shrewsbury Town. Shrewsbury, who are managed by Paul Hurst, surprised everyone by starting hot this season, and have only cooled down very slightly (and are in 2nd place in League One, currently). I think this match-up has the potential to be a Cup-upset because the Shrews’ opponents, West Ham, will almost certainly be prioritizing their Premier League campaign. West Ham are mired in a relegation-battle, and they will most likely field a significantly weakened squad for their FA Cup match. And the neutral will hope that Paul Hurst takes a page from Lincoln City’s manager Danny Cowley last season, when Lincoln City (successfully) went all-out for a promotion-run and an FA Cup-run.
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (
-Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
-Blank relief map of Greater Manchester, by Nilfanion (using Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater Manchester UK relief location map.jpg.
-Blank relief map of West Midlands, by Nilfanion, at File:West Midlands UK relief location map.jpg -List of Greater Manchester settlements by population.
-Attendances from
-2017-18 FA Cup (
-Thanks to Phil Annets at FA Cup Factfile.

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