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FA Cup first round: 80 teams, 32 non-league clubs and no replays

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FA Cup first round: 80 teams, 32 non-league clubs and no replays 2

Skelmersdale United are the lowest-ranked club left in the FA Cup after entering at the extra preliminary round stage
Dates: 6-9 November Coverage: FC United of Manchester v Doncaster Rovers live on BBC Two on Saturday, 7 November (17:30 GMT) Full coverage details

The FA Cup first round takes place over the next four days – but not as we know it.

After battling their way through six qualifying rounds, ninth-tier Skelmersdale United – the lowest-ranked side left in the competition – are away at League Two Harrogate Town on Friday.

It is the first of 40 fixtures, with the BBC showing 13 ties live across the weekend on its platforms, including FC United of Manchester v Doncaster on BBC Two on Saturday (17:30 GMT kick-off).

The draw for the second round takes place on Monday and is live on BBC Two.

Here, BBC Sport explains what is different about this season’s first round, which is taking place against the backdrop of a national Covid-19 lockdown in England, and what to look out for.

Games going ahead despite lockdown

England’s four-week lockdown began on Thursday and lasts until Wednesday, 2 December.

Elite sport is continuing behind closed doors during lockdown but all adult and children’s grassroots football is suspended.

No men’s teams in leagues below National Leagues North or South will be able to train or play.

However, all first-round ties, including those involving non-elite teams, will be played as planned from 6-9 November.

Thirty two non-league clubs have joined 48 League One and League Two clubs in the first round.

They include 10 non-elite teams – Banbury United, FC United of Manchester, Maldon & Tiptree, Hayes & Yeading United, Skelmersdale United, South Shields, Marine, Bishop’s Stortford, Canvey Island and Cray Valley Paper Mills.

All ties behind closed doors

Qualifying for this season’s FA Cup started back on 31 August when Essex Senior League side Woodford Town beat London Colney 3-1 in the extra preliminary round.

The first-round line-up was completed on 4 November when Stockport County beat National League rivals Chesterfield 4-0 in the fourth qualifying round to earn a tie at League One Rochdale.

Although supporters have been allowed to attend some fixtures in qualifying, fans will not be allowed into grounds to watch any of the 40 first-round ties because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sadly, that means no tinfoil FA Cups on display inside grounds.

Straight to extra time – no replays

There will be no FA Cup replays during the 2020-21 season to “ease pressure” on the football calendar.

In qualifying, ties level after 90 minutes went straight to penalties to decide who went through to the next round.

In the first round, ties level after 90 minutes will have an additional 30 minutes of extra time. If there is still no winner then they will be decided by a penalty shootout.

In the fourth qualifying round, Chesterfield beat Stockport on penalties after the tie ended 1-1 at full-time.

However, the tie was ordered to be replayedexternal-link after Chesterfield were found guilty by the Football Association of fielding an ineligible player.

Losing teams to get prize money

FA Cup prize money has been halved from 2019-20 because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, losing teams will receive a share of prize money in the FA Cup first round to lessen the financial impact of ties being played behind closed doors.

Losing teams previously got no prize money but will get 25% – £5,657 – while the winners get the rest – £16,972.

The scheme could be extended for the second round, which takes place on the weekend 28-29 November – before the current lockdown in England is scheduled to end.

Who to look out for

At least four non-league clubs are guaranteed a place in the second round after Bromley-Yeovil, Brackley Town-Bishop’s Stortford, Banbury United-Canvey Island and Havant & Waterlooville-Cray Valley Paper Mills were drawn against one another.

There are five tiers between North West Counties League Premier Division Skelmersdale and newly promoted English Football League side Harrogate.

National League North Chorley, who are at 2013 winners Wigan Athletic, received a bye into the first round after Macclesfield Town were wound up in the High Court.

National League North Chorley face 2013 winners Wigan in the first round of the FA Cup
Chorley entered the FA Cup at the second qualify round stage and received a bye in the fourth qualifying round

There are four teams from the eighth tier of English football in the first round – Maldon & Tiptree host League Two Morecambe, Merseyside-based Marine are at League Two Colchester, Canvey Island visit seventh-tier Banbury and Cray Valley Paper Mills are at sixth-tier Havant & Waterlooville.

Hull City, finalists in 2014, host League One rivals Fleetwood, while former winners Ipswich Town and Portsmouth meet at Portman Road.

How to follow on the BBC

The BBC will show 13 FA Cup matches live across Saturday and Sunday.

As well as FC United of Manchester’s home tie with League One Doncaster Rovers on BBC Two, a further 12 matches will be shown on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

The BBC Sport website and app will also feature live text and radio coverage across the weekend, plus video highlights of all 40 of the matches.

BBC matches to be shown on Saturday, 7 November:

  • Tonbridge Angels v Bradford City – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:30 GMT (multi-camera)
  • Ipswich Town v Portsmouth – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 15:00 GMT (multi-camera)
  • Colchester United v Marine – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 15:00 GMT (single-camera)
  • Banbury United v Canvey Island – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 15:00 GMT (single-camera)
  • FC United of Manchester v Doncaster Rovers – BBC Two, 17:15-19:35 GMT (multi-camera)

BBC matches to be shown on Sunday, 8 November:

  • Maldon & Tiptree v Morecambe – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:45 GMT (multi-camera)
  • Hampton & Richmond Borough v Oldham Athletic – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:45 GMT (multi-camera)
  • Eastleigh v MK Dons – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:45 GMT (single-camera)
  • Barnet v Burton Albion – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:45 GMT (single-camera)
  • Wigan Athletic v Chorley – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:45 GMT (single-camera)
  • Torquay United v Crawley Town – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:45 GMT (single-camera)
  • Hayes & Yeading United v Carlisle United – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:45 GMT (single-camera)
  • Havent & Waterlooville v Cray Valley Paper Mills – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 12:45 GMT (single-camera)

When will the FA Cup second-round draw be held?

The draw will take place on Monday, 9 November with Mark Chapman presenting live coverage on BBC Two from 19:00 GMT.

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