The draw for the 2020/21 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round has been made, meaning all Essex Senior League teams found out their fate for the first game of the season. As it stands, the Extra Preliminary Round will take place on the 1st September, even if it means without fans. So who faces who?
1. Clapton vs Sporting Bengal United
The first all-ESL tie will see Clapton host Sporting Bengal. Both sides were eliminated from the competition at this stage last year following heavy defeats. Clapton lost 6-0 at home to Stowmarket Town whilst Sporting lost 5-0 away to fellow-ESL side Walthamstow. This tie means at least one will make it past this stage.
2. Cockfosters vs Stanway Rovers
Cockfosters have been drawn at home to Stanway Rovers. Fosters’ reached the Preliminary Round last term but lost to Coggeshall Town after beating Leyton Athletic at this stage. It will be another tough game as they look to reach the Preliminary Round again.
3. Harlow Town vs Enfield
Enfield will travel to Harlow for their first competitive game of the season. They were one of 11 teams to be knocked out in the first round as they lost 3-2 to Fairford Town. They will be hoping to do one better although it won’t be easy against tougher opposition.
4. Hullbridge Sports vs Hadley
2018/19 ESL Champions will welcome Hadley to the Bridge for an FA Cup tie. Hadley went the further last season, flying the flag for the ESL, as they reached the 3rd Qualifying Round but their cup run was brought to an end by National League side Havant & Waterlooville. Hadley will be hoping for another good run in the cup but will have to get past a strong Hullbridge to do so.
5. Park View vs Hashtag United
Hashtag will take part in their first FA Cup game after only joining the English Football system two years ago. They will return to New River in Tottenham to face Park View (another team taking part in their first FA Cup). The tie will mean at least one side will reach the Preliminary Round for the first time.
6. Hoddesdon Town vs FC Clacton
Hoddesdon Town will host FC Clacton, a team that wanted to join the ESL. Hoddesdon reaches the Preliminary Round last season but were knocked out by fellow-ESL side Hadley after they had beaten Brantham Athletic at this stage. FC Clacton will not be an easy game although the home advantage could be key.
7. Ilford vs Halstead Town
Ilford, like last year, will have a home tie as they go up against Halstead Town. It will be another tough game as they look to get past the Extra Preliminary Round. They didn’t do so last season as they lost 2-1 to Harwich & Parkeston.
8. Redbridge vs Harpenden Town
Redbridge will get the benefit of a home tie this time around as they go up against Harpenden Town. Last season, they were eliminated at this stage by fellow-ESL side Hadley. They will be looking for a better result this time around.
9. Saffron Walden Town vs Little Oakley
Saffron Walden will go up against first-timers Little Oakley in this years FA Cup. They had progressed last season when they beat Baldock Town 1-0 but were eliminated in the next round when they lost against Maldon & Tiptree.
10. Sawbridgeworth Town vs Romford
Sawbridgeworth is another side from the Essex Senior League that will look to reach the Preliminary Round of the cup. In last season’s competition they were eliminated in the first round by Halstead Town. It will be no easy task for the side that finished bottom of the ESL last season against an Isthmian League North side.
11. Southend Manor vs Ware
Southend will look to reach the Preliminary Round of the competition after failing to do so last season. They welcomed Long Melford to Southchurch Park but drew 0-0 so went back to Melford for a reply. The game also finished in a draw and Manor were eliminated on penalties, losing 5-4. They will look to make the most of the home advantage and hope to progress against Ware.
12. Baldock Town vs St Margaretsbury
St Margaretsbury will be away for their FA Cup as they travel to Baldock Town. Whilst they lost against FC Clacton last season at this stage, they will hope they can improve and get past the first round. One positive they could take from the game is that Baldock were eliminated by Saffron Walden last season.
13. Stansted vs Takeley
The second and only other all-ESL tie will see Stansted host Takeley. Stansted were eliminated at this stage last season as they lost 4-1 to Barkingside whilst Takeley reached the first qualifying round where they lost to Potters Bar Town. Takeley had beaten Crawley Green at this stage before beating White Ensign in the reply to teach the qualifying rounds. Takeley will hope for a similar or better cup run whilst Stansted will hope they can get past the first round and build a good cup run.
14. Walthamstow vs London Lions
Walthamstow will welcome London Lions to Wadham Lodge in the FA Cup. Stow reached the 2nd Qualifying Round last season as they beat Sporting Bengal United, Great Wakering Rovers and Aylesbury United before losing to Abbey Rangers in a replay. Stow will be hoping for another good cup run and will be hoping they can get past the lower opposition.
15. West Essex vs Crawley Green
West Essex will have another home tie, like they did last season. This year they’ll come up against Crawley Green and will be hoping they can reach the Preliminary Round whilst they failed to do during the 2019/20 season. They were eliminated by Whitton United, losing 2-1.
16. Woodford Town vs London Colney
Woodford Town will play at home once again as they look to have a better cup run. Last season they were eliminated at this stage when they lost to White Ensign in the replay following a 1-1 and will try to improve against London Colney. It will be a tough game but Woodford will have the benefit of home advantage.