The second round of the FA Cup is upon us, the final round before all Premier League and Championship teams join in the fun. We’ve picked out seven key fixtures that look as if they could be exciting matches (and made our own predictions), and there’s some potential for upsets here.
Maldon & Tiptree vs Newport County
One of the lowest-ranked sides left in the competition alongside Chichester City, can Maldon & Tiptree spring a surprise against their League Two counterparts? They did well to get this far by beating Leyton Orient in the first round, but Newport County are having a slightly better campaign than the O’s in the league, despite losing three matches on the spin. Newport County should win but. Maldon around 10/1 to emerge victorious.
Result: Newport County WIN
Portsmouth vs Altrincham
On paper, this looks to be a very one-sided tie, with Portsmouth as short as 1/5 to win at home. However, they had to come back from a goal down to beat Harrogate Town in the first match while Altrincham, at around 12/1, are mid-table in National League North, and could enter the play-offs should they win their games in hand. Could Ellis Harrison or Ronan Curtis add to their goal tallies of seven and six goals respectively in all competitions this season to shoot Portsmouth through to the third round?
Result: Portsmouth WIN
Walsall vs Oxford United
These two sides might have been in the same league last season, but are enjoying drastically contrasting campaigns this time around. Walsall are in dire straights after their relegation to League Two – another successive relegation isn’t out of the question, while Oxford United have crept into the League One play-off places on goal difference. Neither side particularly covered themselves in glory in the first round, but the U’s are the better team with odds of about 10/11 to get through, and should win this fixture without a huge struggle.
Result: Oxford United WIN
Eastleigh vs Crewe Alexandra
In lower mid-table of the National League, Eastleigh will have their work cut out against the Railwaymen, currently in League Two’s play-off places. Like Oxford United, Crewe are at 10/11 to win. However, Crewe were leading the division until fairly recently, with two losses on the spin sending them out of the automatic promotion places. In contrast, Eastleigh have had an indifferent league campaign and an upset seems unlikely. Crewe are justified odds on favourites to come out winners here.
Result: Crewe Alexandra WIN
Peterborough United vs Dover Athletic
Peterborough have been one of the teams of the season so far, third place in League One and scoring goals for fun – 4/11 to get to the third round. Although Dover did well to beat Southend United, also in League One, in the first round, the feeling remains that beating Peterborough would be a scalp too far for the Whites. Mo Eisa, Marcus Maddison and Ivan Toney are on fire for the Posh at the moment, and it’s difficult to see Dover finding a way to get to the third round of the competition.
Result: Peterborough United WIN
Tranmere Rovers vs Chichester City
Chichester City have done well to get this far, albeit after being helped by getting a bye into this round after Bury’s expulsion. In the Isthmian League South East Division, they’re just about in the top half of the table, but they’re unlikely to emerge victorious against League One Tranmere. They might be languishing near the relegation places, but with four leagues between them and the Lillywhites, it’s hard to see anything other than a win for the Merseyside who are 1/10 to win.
Result: Tranmere Rovers WIN
Solihull Moors vs Rotherham United
Another fascinating clash between the side third in the National League and the side currently fourth in League One. Rotherham came back from behind to beat Maidenhead 3-1 in the first round while Solihull Moors thumped Oxford City 5-1 in the same round. As well as Solihull Moors are doing in the league season, Rotherham should have too much to them to cope with, although it might not be too easy for the Millers. Solihull Moors are just 3/1 to go through, and could well surprise Rotherham.
Result: Rotherham United WIN