FA Cup second round predictions

wikAll the FA Cup first-round ties have now been completed following Mansfield Town’s replay victory at Concord Rangers so what are the best bets for potential shocks in the second round?

Warrington Town, Maidstone United, Southport, Worcester City and Dover Athletic made all the headlines when they were the giant-killers in the first round. But they have all been handed difficult second-round ties so it may be best to look elsewhere for possible upsets.

Hartlepool United v Blyth Spartans

Blyth may be languishing in 19th spot in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League table and are more used to playing the likes of Rushall Olympic and Belper Town but they have a fine FA Cup pedigree and are facing a Hartlepool side that is already looking like relegation certainties from League Two.

In the 1977/78 season, Blyth made national headlines when they reached the fifth round, knocking out Chesterfield and Stoke City – who had only recently been relegated from the top flight – before holding Wrexham to a 1-1 draw. Spartans were eventually beaten 2-1 in the replay.

More recently, in 2008, Blyth knocked out Shrewsbury Town and Bournemouth before losing 1-0 to Premier League side Blackburn Rovers.

In contrast, Hartlepool are rooted to the foot of the League Two table and are six points away from safety following the recent 3-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers York City, their 13th defeat in 19 matches this term.

Hartlepool are a side devoid of confidence and seemingly perfect fodder to be the latest of Spartans’ conquests.

Accrington Stanley v Yeovil Town

Most of the first-round giant-killers have been handed tough away draws, so it may be best to look with the likes of Bet365 at teams that have good home records for potential FA Cup betting.

Yeovil Town are struggling in League One following last term’s relegation from the Championship and are used to losing. A long trip to Accrington in early December is exactly what they do not need and Stanley will be no pushovers at their tight Crown Ground.

Accrington saw off Notts County 2-1 in the first round and have won six of their ten home League Two fixtures so far this term. The Glovers will be dreading the journey back to Somerset if they slip to defeat at Accrington.

Aldershot Town v Rochdale

Home advantage could be key to the Shots, who did brilliantly to beat 2008 FA Cup winners Portsmouth in the first round.

Aldershot have little to play for in the Conference as they are currently in 16th position and they will be keen to make more national headlines against Rochdale. League One play-off challengers Rochdale may be two divisions above their opponents but they are more likely to be thinking about another possible promotion campaign when they arrive at the ESS Stadium.