Hawks bidding to join exclusive band of FA Trophy winners from outside non-league’s top flight

Hawks are bidding to join an exclusive band of FA Trophy winners from outside the top flight of non-league football.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 8:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 8:18 pm
NL North club Brackley Town celebrate winning the FA Trophy in 2018 at Wembley. Pic: Mike Capps
NL North club Brackley Town celebrate winning the FA Trophy in 2018 at Wembley. Pic: Mike Capps

Since the Conference - now National League - was formed in 1979, a club from outside the top tier has only lifted the Trophy seven times.

And two of those occasions were in the first two seasons of the Conference’s existence.

Since the National League South and North Divisions were created in 2004, no club from the South division has won non-league football’s blue riband knockout tournament.

Only one club from the South division has ever played in a final - Gosport Borough in 2013/14.

A second, Concord Rangers, reached the 2019/20 final but that game - like Pompey’s EFL Trophy final with Salford and the FA Vase final between Consett and Hebburn - has yet to take place due to the pandemic.

Concord’s clash with Harrogate Town - now an EFL club - was due to take place at the end of last September but was postponed once the Government pressed the pause button on crowds returning to elite stadia.

No new date has yet been set for any of those three delayed finals, but it would be bizarre if they took place AFTER this season’s finals.

Dagenham were the first non top flight club to win the Trophy in 1979/80, beating Mossley.

They were followed 12 months later by Bishop's Stortford.

Bishop's played in Division 1 of the Isthmian League, and are the only club from outside the top two tiers of non-league football to win the Trophy since the creation of the Conference in 1979.

Canvey Island won the Trophy in 2001 and Burscough of the Northern Premier League beat Southern Premier League Tamworth two years later.

Tamworth had defeated Southern Premier League rivals Hawks in the two-legged semi-final.

In 2003/04 Hednesford - who finished third bottom of the Southern Premier League that season - beat Canvey Island.

North Ferriby became the first National League North winners in 2014/15, beating Wrexham on penalties.

Brackley were the second North club to lift the silverware in 2017/18, beating Bromley on penalties.

Hawks host Notts County this Saturday (1pm) aiming to reach the quarter finals for only the fourth time in their history.