Following the weekends FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round ties, four teams from Berkshire line up in the 2023/24 FA Cup First Round Proper.
Bracknell Town, Maidenhead United, Reading FC and Slough Town (assuming they can get through a replay with Ebbsfleet United) will all represent Berkshire in the First Round, a rarity for Reading especially who are far more used to joining the action in later rounds.
We couldn’t think of any moment in the last 20 or so years – given their then-Championship status Reading usually started in the FA Cup Third Round Proper – but we were fairly sure it must have happened at some point.
So where do you go when you have a question about the FA Cup? Why, Phil Annets – or as he’s more commonly know on Twitter – @FACUPFACTFILE.
But what about the last time FOUR Berkshire sides were in contention for the First Round? That seems like quite a rarity as well.
Phil managed to answer both these questions with the same answer. 1982/83. 40 years ago.
The Rebels beat Millwall in the First Round before going out to Bishop’s Stortford, losing 4-1. Bishop’s Stortford themselves were the ‘giantkillers’ of Reading who that same season were relegated from Division Four to Division Three.
To round it all off, this was the same season Wokingham Town famously took Cardiff City to a replay, losing 3-0 at Ninian Park after a 1-1 draw at Finchampstead Road while Windsor & Eton were beaten 7-0 by Brentford.
The Berkshire centric FA Cup First Round Proper draw
All that means then is we could be in for a record-breaking FA Cup season for Berkshire. Even if Slough can’t get past Ebbsfleet, it would still be a rarity for more than one club from the Royal County to reach the FA Cup Second Round.
- Cambridge United vs Bracknell Town
- Oxford United vs Maidenhead United
- Reading FC vs MK Dons
- Ebbsfleet United OR Slough Town vs Grimsby Town
It is certainly a tall order though for all three non-league sides with league opposition awaiting. Bracknell have been to the First Round on two previous occasions – most recently against Ipswich Town last season – while Maidenhead are serial First Rounders, haven’t been to the Second Round since 1886 when they were beaten 3-2 by Dulwich after extra time.
Between 2017 and 2019 Slough made the Second Round twice in succession losing to Rochdale and Gillingham while Reading famously made the semi-final in 2014/15 narrowly losing 2-1 to Arsenal.