On Saturday 8th September 2012, Blyth will play a First Qualifying Round game for the first time in 6 seasons, the last time Blyth started the competition that early was 2005/2006 season, ironically it was an away tie against Wakefield & Emley on 10th September 1995, Blyth came from 1-0 down to win 2-1 thanks to goal from Andrew Leeson & Liam Gildea, the game also saw Adam Bartlett make his debut for the club replacing the injured Craig Turns.
Now 6 years on the draw has given the possibly of a rematch with Blyth due to play the winners of the Preliminary Round tie between Garforth or Wakefield and an omen if we meet Garforth the last time we played them in the First Qualifying Round we went on to reach the 2nd Round proper!.
While many will no doubt complain it’s another game in what will already be a busy season and a banana skin that has tripped up the club many times before it will however (if Blyth win the tie) give a winners prize of £3,000 which can’t be sniffed at in the current climate, however there will of course be the cost of staging another game.
However starting 1 round earlier will make the perceived ‘holy grail’ of a First Round appearance more difficult to do, reaching the First Round in 2012/2013 will bring the possibility of a ‘plum’ draw against the likes of Portsmouth, Sheffield United, Coventry City and just reaching that far will have netted the club a handsome £27,500 in prize money.
Although Blyth’s own record of reaching the 1st Round features 7 occasions of doing so from the starting in the First Qualifying Round, last season’s FA Cup proved the odd’s are now heavily stacked against clubs doing so.
Of the 232 clubs that played 1st Qualifying Round games only 8 clubs made it to the First Round proper (AFC Totton, Bradford Park Avenue, East Thurrock United, Nantwich Town, Stourbridge, Redbridge FC, Oxford City & Arlesey Town)
And the reward wasn’t exactly what those 8 clubs had hoped for with only 3 drawing League clubs and they weren’t exactly the kind of opponents Non league clubs hope for when reaching that far – Plymouth Argyle v Stourbridge, Milton Keynes Dons v Nantwich & East Thurrock United v Macclesfield Town.
4 clubs drew each other AFC Totton v BPA, Redbridge v Oxford City and 1 drew a Conference South club, Salisbury City v Arlesey Town.
The FA Cup has changed many times over the years with the number of competing team increasing each year to the point there is now even 2 rounds before Blyth enter the competition (Extra Preliminary Round & Preliminary Round) on the 11th August 2012 there will be 200 games played in the Extra Preliminary Round alone.
Back in the late 1940’s Blyth played in a Premlinary Round for 4 season running, 1947/1948, 1948/1949, 1949/1950 & 1950/1951 and going as far back as the 1920’s Blyth even played in a 5th & 6th Qualifying Round ties.
As for Blyth’s record in the 1st Qualifying Round it isn’t as bad as many would think having through exemptions to various rounds only played 28 times in the First Qualifying Round.
Winning 19 times plus 5 times in replays, losing only 4 times 1 of them being in a Replay and drawing 6 times.2005-06 WAKEFIELD-EMLEY Away Won 2-1 2004-05 SKELMERSDALE UNITED Home Lost 0-2 1997-98 SPENNYMOOR UNITED Away Drew 1-1 Replay Home Won 1-0 1995-96 GARFORTH TOWN Home Won 6-0 1993-94 GATESHEAD Away Lost 0-4 1994-95 CROOK TOWN Away Won 2-0 1992-93 PENRITH Away Won 2-1 1991-92 BRIDLINGTON TOWN Away Lost 2-3 1990-91 BRIDLINGTON TOWN Home Won 2-0 1989-90 MURTON Away Won 3-0 1988-89 ROSSENDALE UNITED Home Won 1-0 1987-88 GATESHEAD Home Won 2-1 1986-87 CROOK TOWN Home Drew 1-1 Replay Away Won 1-0 1984-85 GUISBOROUGH TOWN Home Drew 1-1 Replay Away Lost 1-3 1985-86 FARSLEY CELTIC Away Won 2-1 1977-78 SHILDON Away Won 3-0 1971-72 BOLDON COLLIERY WELFARE Home Won 3-2 1970-71 WILLINGTON Home Won 2-1 1969-70 STOCKTON Away Drew 3-3 Replay Home Won 8-2 1968-69 SPENNYMOOR UNITED Home Won 4-3 1967-68 GATESHEAD Away Drew 1-1 Replay Home Won 2-1 1966-67 WHITLEY BAY Home Won 4-1 1965-66 RYHOPE COLLIERY WELFARE Home Won 4-3 1951-52 NEWBURN Away Drew 1-1 Replay Home Won 1-0 1950-51 SOUTH SHIELDS Away Won 2-0 1949-50 GOSFORTH & COXLODGE Away Won 4-0 1948-49 ASHINGTON Home Won 2-1 1947-48 THROCKLEY Home Won 4-0