January 5, 2021

2020-21 FA Cup, 3rd Round: Location-map, with fixtures; with attendances from the previous season./+ Illustration for Marine AFC: The second-ever 8th-level club to advance to the FA Cup 3rd Round.

Filed under: 2020-21 FA Cup — admin @ 9:36 pm

2020-21 FA Cup, 3rd Round: location-map, with fixtures; with attendances from the previous season

By Bill Turianski on the 5th of January 2021;
-The competition…FA Cup (
-BBC’s page on the competition…

Four non-League teams have qualified this season for the FA Cup 3rd Round…Boreham Wood (5th division), Chorley (5th division), Marine (8th level), Stockport County (5th division). That’s up from 2 non-League teams, as it was in each of the previous two seasons. In 2017-18, actually, zero non-League teams qualified for the 3rd round. The record number of non-League teams qualifying for the 3rd round is 8 teams, which was achieved in 2008-09 (those 8 teams were…Barrow, Blyth Spartans, Eastwood Town, Forest Green Rovers, Histon, Kettering Town, Kidderminster Harriers, Torquay United).

It has been 42 years now, since the 5th division was established in 1979-80 (as the Alliance Premier League/now called the National League). This lead to the re-organization of English non-League football, into the English football pyramid, with a whole set of feeder-leagues sending promoted sides up towards the 5th tier, and of course, to the Football League starting at the 4th tier. (Automatic promotion from the 5th tier to the 4th division of the Football League was finally instituted 7 years later, in 1986-87.) And in that time (42 seasons), the average number of teams from non-League football that have made it into the FA Cup 3rd Round has been between 3.1 and 3.4 teams per season.

Below is a chart I put together, with figures from FA Cup Factfile {at[@FACupFactfile]}. The bar-graph chart shows the total number of non-League clubs which have qualified for the 3rd Round of the FA Cup, each season since 1979-80.
{Data from from FA Cup Factfile at[@FACupFactfile].}

    Marine AFC: Marine becomes only the second-ever 8th-level club to advance to the FA Cup 3rd Round…

Marine AFC, who play in the 8th-level Northern Premier League Division One North West, are located in Crosby, Merseyside (which is 6 miles (10 km) north of Liverpool). The club was formed in 1894 by a group of local businessmen and former college students. Marine AFC takes its name from the Marine Hotel on the River Mersey sea front at Waterloo, 7 miles to the north of Liverpool city centre, where club founders met. The club’s colors are White-and-Black, but the team are currently playing in Pale-Gold-and-Black halves. The club’s tiny Rossett Park has capacity of 3,145 (with only 389 seated). Marine have played at Rossett Park since 1903. Rossett Park is bordered by row housing on all 4 sides, with houses’ back gardens looking directly onto the pitch on one of the long sides. On that side, the houses’ address-numbers are posted on the tall nets that separate the back gardens from the playing field. This is so because when a game ball inevitably flies into a back garden, the player sent to retrieve the ball knows which house to go to, to get the ball back {see this photo}. The other long side features only a very thin uncovered terracing that is two just two-persons-deep. The Main Stand/clubhouse sits behind one of the goals, and is the only seated area in the ground.

Prior to the pandemic, Marine were averaging 448 per game, which is pretty decent for an 8th-tier side, and that figure was second-best in their league, at about 150 above the median figure {source:}.

In 1979-80, Marine joined the Northern Premier League (which was back then a 6th-level league, and which is today a 7th-level league). Marine were a Northern Premier League club for 40 seasons (1979-80 to 2018-19). Marine had a heyday in the mid-1990s. It was during this era that Marine first reached the FA Cup 3rd round – in 1993-94. Then Marine won the league title in back-to-back seasons, but both times they were denied promotion to the Conference (the 5th division), due to their ground being insufficient (too small). This happened in 1993-94 and in 1994-95. (Rossett Park cannot be expanded, because of the housing that fully borders the ground.) The next 23 seasons saw Marine finish in the lower half of the Northern Premier table 12 times; their best finish in this time period was in 3rd place in 2005-06 {source:}. Their four decades-long spell in the Northern Premier came to an end in 2018-19.

In September 2018, when Marine were stuck near the bottom of the table, former Chester FC manager Neil Young was hired as Marine’s new manager {see photo and captions below}. At the close of 2018-19, Marine were relegated to the Northern PL D-1 North West; Neil Young stayed on as manager. In 2019-20, now in the 8th tier, Marine were doing well, and were in 3rd place in mid-March when the season was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic. Currently [5 Jan 2021], Marine are in 6th place, 7 points off first place, with a couple games in hand.

Marine are only the second 8th-level club to have qualified for the FA Cup 3rd Round.
(The 8th level was instituted in 2004-05 {see this}. The first 8th-tier club to qualify for the FA Cup 3rd Round was Chasetown FC, of Staffordshire, in 2007-08.)

Marine won 5 matches, to advance to the 1st Round…
•Marine beat Barnoldswick Town (9th level), in the Preliminary Round.
•Marine beat Frickley Athletic (8th level), away, in the 1st QR.
•Marine beat Runcorn Linnets (8th level), away, on penalties, in the 2nd QR.
•Marine beat Nantwich Town (7th level), in the 3QR.
•Marine beat Chester (6th level), away, in the 4th QR.

•In the FA Cup 1st Round, in early November 2020, Marine beat a club 4 League-levels and 90 league-places above them: Colchester United, of League Two.
(Marine beat them 1-1/aet/5-4 on penalties.) {You can see an illustration I made for that, here.}

•Then in the 2nd Round, in late November 2020, Marine beat a club 2 league-levels and 43 league-places above them: Havant & Waterlooville, of the National League South.
(Marine beat them 1-0, scoring in the 120th minute of aet; see photos, screenshots, and captions below.) The goal that sent Marine into the lofty reaches of the FA Cup 3rd Round was scored by 33-year-old team captain Niall Cummins. In the 120th minute, MF James Barrigan sent a free kick towards the box. The free kick arced across the goal-mouth, bouncing near the right goal post. There the ball was headed back towards the goal-mouth by DF Anthony Miley. The ball reached near the left post, where FW Niall Cummins dived low, to volley the ball into the net. Cummins later admitted that he dove blind towards the ball, and it hit his back, then went into the net. {Here is the goal and the celebration afterwards (from[@DomerSaverage]).} {Here is a more visible replay of the goal [you can see the ball does go off of Cummins' back to score], from} In celebration, some of the fans watching from the neighboring houses’ back gardens almost fell off the fences and trees they were perched on. Then, after the on-pitch celebrations, the squad sent the goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant out ’round to the corner store, to buy some lager to celebrate the win {see this tweet, from[@TheAnfieldWrap]}. {Here are some more shots from Rossett Park that evening, from[@mdarlington].}

-Here is an nice article, from the Liverpool Echo, on Marine’s 2nd round win, Marine given day of dreams as financial figures show power of FA Cup (by Sam Carroll on 29 November 2020, at

-Here is the match report at Marine AFC official site, Match Report: Marine 1-0 Havant & Waterlooville (AET) (from

Now, for the 3rd round, Marine have been drawn to play Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur, at Rossett Park in Crosby, Merseyside. It will be the biggest mismatch in FA Cup history: the two clubs are 7 League-levels and 161-League-places apart. The match will be at 5 pm (12 pm ET), on Sunday the 10th of January. The match will be televised on the BBC in the UK.

Below: Marine AFC: the second-ever 8th-tier club to make it to the FA Cup 3rd Round…
Photo and Image credits above – Photo of Marine’s home ground, Rossett Park, from Neil Young (Marine AFC manager), photo from Main Stand at Rossett Park, photo by the Wycombe Wanderer at Teams lined up at centre-circle before match, photo by Paul Greenwood/Rex via Screenshots (2) of Marine’s winning goal in the 120th minute, from video uploaded by The Emirates FA Cup at Screenshot of Niall Cummins celebrating the goal, from video uploaded by hawksfconline at Niall Cummins celebrates, photo by Kevin Warburton/A Moment in Sport/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock via Marine players celebrate with champagne at the centre-circle, photo by Paul Greenwood/Rex via

Thanks to all, at the links below…
-Blank map of English Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Counties, by Nilfanion, at File:English metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties 2010.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.
-Fixtures list: screenshot from
-Data for graph, from FA Cup Factfile.
Attendance figures… (2019-20 average attendances for the Premier League [1st division] and the Football League [2nd, 3rd, and 4th divisions].) (2019-20 average attendances for all non-League clubs on the map, from the 5th division to the 8th division.)

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