FA Trophy Betting

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Commonly known as the FA Trophy, the Football Association Challenge Trophy was established in the U.K. in 1969. It came about when non-league clubs that paid their players sought an alternative to the FA Amateur Cup, for which they were ineligible. As a result, the Football Association introduced the FA Trophy as a new knockout cup competition for semi-professional teams.

Macclesfield Town of the Northern Premier League were the first winners of the competition at the end of the 1969-70 season. They defeated Telford United of the Southern League 2-nil in the final, which was held at the old Wembley Stadium. Thereafter, clubs of the Northern Premier League dominated the FA Trophy for roughly a decade, although Telford United did manage victories in 1970-71 and 1982-83.

In 1974, the FA eliminated the official distinction between professional and amateur status. The Amateur Cup was discontinued and all of the top amateur clubs joined in the Trophy competition, bringing the total number of entrants to more than 300 teams. Gradual reduction of this number occurred over the years, so that by 1991 only about 120 clubs were entered. Eligibility rules changed several times over the years in step with the development of the National League System so that now about 250 teams take part.

In 1978, the FA Trophy Final was moved to the Saturday immediately following the FA Cup Final. This was done to permit a longer build-up and avoid conflict with league programmes. A year later, the Southern and Northern Premier League teams merged to create the Alliance Premier League, and they dominated the FA Trophy competition throughout the 1980s. In 1989, Telford United were victorious once again, becoming the FA Trophy’s second three-time winner after Scarborough accomplished it in 1973, 1976, and 1977.

During the next decade, Woking pulled off the hat-trick, winning in 1994, 1995, and 1997. Other multiple winners included the Wycombe Wanderers (1991, 1993) and Kingstonian (1999, 2000) along with Macclesfield Town’s second victory in 1996. In 2001, the Finals moved to Villa Park after the original Wembley Stadium closed down. The contest has return, however, since 2007 to the new grounds at Wembley.

Currently, the FA Trophy competition is open to clubs that play in Steps 1-4 of the National League System, which is equivalent to levels 5-8 of the overall English football league system. Teams in the Football Conference, the Southern League, Isthmian League, and Northern Premier League may all take part, while those in levels 5-7 of the National League System compete for the FA Vase.

In years past, if the Final went to extra time and ended in a draw, a rematch was conducted to determine the winner. This occurred on three occasions, with Northwich Victoria defeating Bangor City 1-1 and 2-1 in 1984, Kidderminster Harriers defeating Burton Albion 0-0 and 2-1 in 1987, and Enfield over Telford United 0-0 and 3-2 in 1988. In all three cases, an alterative ground had to be used for the rematch due to Wembley’s limited availability.

Nowadays, if extra time in the Final results in a draw, a penalty shootout decides the winner. The first instance of this was in 2005, when Grays Athletic overcame Hucknall Town at Villa Park after playing to a 1-1 standstill. The following year, Grays Athletic bested Woking at Boleyn Ground 2-nil to become the first two-time winner of the new millennium. Stevenage Borough then joined them by winning in 2007 and 2009, but they failed to finish the hat-trick in 2010, losing to Barrow in the Final at Wembley 2-1 in extra time.

Pairings for the FA Trophy are drawn completely at random, with no seeds. The qualifying round draws are regionalised to keep travel costs down. Matches resulting in a draw, other than in the semi-finals or the Final, are decided by a replay at the visiting team’s home ground. Any drawn replays are settled with extra time and penalty shootouts. In total, there are six rounds prior to the semi-final stage, and teams from the Football Conference received byes through the early rounds,

Prize money is paid to all teams that win at least one match in the FA Trophy competition, ranging from £2,000 for preliminary round winners to £50,000 for ultimate Champion. Carlsberg is the current sponsor.

FA Trophy betting options run fro ante post wagers on the outright winner and match betting by picking the winner out of two sides to Half Time Result, Double Result (half and full time results taken together), Draw No Bet, Asian Handicap Betting, and Accumulators. Also available as markets for the FA Trophy Final are Total Goals (Under/Over), Correct Score, First Goalscorer, Each Way First Goalscorer, Last Goalscorer, and Scorecast, combining First Goalscorer with Correct Score.

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