From 21 stone to last-minute winner – FA Cup stories


Kieran Amos signs for Essex Senior League side Sawbridgeworth Town
Kieran Amos (right) was Sawbridgeworth Town’s first signing for the 2020-21 season after shedding more than six stone
Dates: 11-13 September Coverage: Stocksbridge Park Steels v Stalybridge Celtic live on the BBC Sportwebsite and BBC iPlayer on Saturday, 12 September (12:30 BST)

Qualifying for the 2020-21 FA Cup continues this weekend with 320 non-league clubs battling it out in the preliminary round.

Some 136 teams enter at this stage and will be joined by 184 sides who advanced from the extra preliminary round.

A win will leave teams four victories from a place in the first round proper, when League One and League Two clubs enter, on 7-8 November.

BBC Sport looks at five clubs taking part this weekend.

‘I couldn’t look in the mirror’

When Kieran Amos stepped on the scales at the start of lockdown in March, he was “horrified” to discover he weighed 21st 6lb (134kg).

In the space of a few months the 24-year-old had embarked on a strict fitness regime, shed more than six stone, forced his way into the Sawbridgeworth Town team – and scored a 91st-minute winner in the FA Cup extra preliminary round.

“Lockdown gave me an opportunity to do something about my weight,” says Amos. “I’d avoided looking at myself in the mirror for a long time.”

A former player with Essex Senior League side Takeley, Amos put on weight after injuring his ankle, which required surgery, at the age of 17.

“I was watching games thinking: ‘I could still play if I got myself fit,'” he adds.

Kieran Amos
Kieran Amos said he “ballooned” to more than 21 stone after an ankle injury and going to university

After a conversation earlier in the year with Lee Mackman, boss at Hertfordshire club Sawbridgeworth, Amos went on to lose five stone.

Having played several friendly games, he was picked for the FA Cup tie against eighth-tier Romford on 1 September.

With the tie locked at 1-1 in stoppage time and penalties looming, he headed the winner from a free-kick.

“It’s by far the best thing I have ever done,” adds Amos on his weight loss.

Sawbridgeworth Townexternal-link face Hertfordshire rivals St Margaretsbury on Saturday, with Amos in excellent form.

He followed up his winner against Romford with a hat-trick in a 5-2 Essex Senior League win against Southend Manor.

The Mydas touch

When Manchester United beat Millwall in the 2004 FA Cup final, Mydas Smalls was not even born.

But the young Whitton United midfielder has already written himself into FA Cup folklore by becoming one of the competition’s youngest scorers.

Aged 16 years 63 days, Smalls netted his side’s third goal in a dramatic 4-3 win over neighbours Ipswich Wanderers in the extra preliminary round.

Sean Cato is thought to be the youngest scorer in the FA Cup. According to the Football Association, he was 16 years 25 days oldexternal-link when he scored for Barrow Town in a preliminary round tie in 2011.

“I was about to bring Mydas off because his legs had gone,” says Shane Coldron, manager of Ipswich-based Whitton.external-link

“Next thing he goes and scores.”

Mydas Smalls with Southampton's former Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand



Read More:From 21 stone to last-minute winner – FA Cup stories