5 minnows looking to get ahead in this year's FA Cup first round

Ninth tier Westfields are the pick of the underdogs heading into this weekend's FA Cup first round.

Here, we've sought out some of the stories behind the minnows who will be looking to maintain their improbable runs at least one stage further:

1. Westfields (h v Curzon Ashton)

The lowest-ranked team left in the competition, the Hereford-based, Midlands League outfit were formed in 1966 by a group of local youths inspired by watching England win the World Cup. Their claret and blue kit is in honour of the West Ham backbone of the side.

Westfields won their first trophy two years later when they beat Danish Bacon 4-0 in the final of the Herefordshire Sunday League Division Two Cup.

2. Curzon Ashton (a v Westfields)

(Dave Howarth/EMPICS Sport)
Curzon Ashton's home ground, The Tameside Stadium (Dave Howarth/EMPICS Sport)

Ashton-under-Lyne boasts illustrious football pedigree, as the home town to World Cup winners Sir Geoff Hurst and Simone Perrotta. Statues to both men - and another local legend, Jimmy Armfield - stand outside Curzon's new Tameside Stadium.

Formed in 1963 following a merger of Curzon Ashton Methodists and Ashton Amateurs, Curzon's 11th-placed finish in last season's National League North was the highest in their history.

3. Merstham (h v Oxford Utd)

Hailing from a Surrey village with a population of just over 8,000, the Ryman Premier League side have clearly impressed TV presenter and keen Oxford fan Timmy Mallett this:

Given Alfred Nobel carried out the world's first dynamite tests in Merstham in 1867, Mallett and co could be in line for an explosive afternoon.

4. Maidstone Utd (h v Rochdale)

The club in its current guise was formed after the bankruptcy of the former league side of the same name. Re-starting in the fourth division of the Kent County League in 1993, the Stones rose through the ranks, finally getting their own stadium in 2012 and reaching the National League this season.

In their former guise, Maidstone boasted strong knockout pedigree and reached the FA Cup third round in 1979, losing to Charlton in a replay.

5. Stamford (a v Hartlepool)

The Northern Premier League Premier Division side are nicknamed the Daniels in honour of local man Daniel Lambert, reputedly England's heaviest man, who weighed 52 stones at the time of his death in 1809 and is buried close to the club's former home.

Winners of the FA Vase in 1980, Stamford reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time with a replay win over former FA Cup heroes Wrexham at the Recreation Ground.

Read Full Story