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The FA Cup

Fleetwood Town and Luton Town sprinkle magic on FA Cup first round

The magic of the FA Cup may be a careworn concept, as faded as Paul Daniels and his on-stage shtick, but there were still moments to cherish for fans of unheralded sides up and down the country as the first round got underway in earnest.

Fleetwood Town and Luton Town were the only two non-league clubs to pull off genuine, if minor, shocks but the result of the day perhaps came at Home Park where Stourbridge, of the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division, were denied a win against nine-man Plymouth Argyle.

Despite falling behind in the fourth minute, the Glassboys – who arrived for the match to find that Stourbridge had been misspelled on their shirt badges – recovered to lead 2-1 shortly after half-time through goals from Aaron Drake and Ryan Rowe. The Plymouth player-manager, Carl Fletcher, equalised before a frantic final 10 minutes: a Sean Gebbis penalty, following Robbie Williams's red card, made it 3-2 to the visitors but Onismor Bhasera again pulled Plymouth level. There was still time for Conor Hourihane to become the second Plymouth player to be sent off, as Stourbridge claimed a replay against opponents who, despite being rooted to the bottom of League Two, are three divisions above them.

Fleetwood secured the biggest scalp, knocking out Wycombe Wanderers despite playing more than half the match with 10 men. Andy Mangan and Jamie Vardy scored the goals that ensured the Lancashire club, second in the Blue Square Bet Premier Division, beat a side 27 places above them in the league system.

Luton, relegated from the Football League in 2009, are five places below Fleetwood, but overcame League Two opposition in the shape of Northampton Town. The substitute Adam Watkins scored the only goal of the game in the 80th minute at Kenilworth Road to put the Hatters in the hat for the second round.

That was as far as the giant-killing went, though Maidenhead United celebrated 140 years since they played a part in one of the first FA Cup fixtures by holding the League Two side Aldershot to a draw. The Conference side Bath City also earned a replay after holding Dagenham & Redbridge. Five other non-league teams progressed, with the most remarkable scoreline occurring at the Testwood Stadium, where Southern League Premier side AFC Totton put eight goals past nine-man Bradford Park Avenue of the Northern League.

League Two Swindon Town claimed a significant victory, winning 4-1 against Huddersfield, who were unbeaten in their previous 42 league games.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Alan Gardner, for The Observer on Saturday 12th November 2011 21.59 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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