FA CUP

Marine v Tottenham: Kane out to avoid another non-league nightmare

Tottenham's trip to Marine sees non-league meet Premier League this weekend, an occasion that might bring back bad memories for Harry Kane.

Marine v Tottenham: Kane out to avoid another non-league nightmare

Sunday's FA Cup encounter between Marine and Tottenham is the kind of clash that really captures the imaginations of supporters, as non-league meets Premier League.

Ordinarily such an occasion would mean a potentially vital cash influx for the smaller side, with match tickets selling out quicker than ever and TV crews descending on a modest ground in their droves. While it won't be quite the same this time given the coronavirus pandemic, it still promises to be a special day for Marine, who by Sunday morning had sold over 15,000 virtual tickets. While those fans won't be able to physically attend the game, the club has promised that none of them will be forgotten and the names of everyone who bought a ticket will be etched onto a commemorative wall which will be erected at the Crosender Road end of the ground. After the game, the names of every ticket holder will enter a raffle with the winner having a unique  chance to 'manage' Marine from the dug-out in a friendly match at a later date.

Marine's previous attendance record broken

Before today's tie, Marine's attendance record was 6,000 - set on 31 August 1949 for a friendly against Nigeria. Playing in the Northern Premier League Division One North West, the eighth tier of the English football pyramid, Liverpool-based Marine, who were founded in 1894, will host a Spurs team that is used to competing in the Champions League. It represents a whole new kind of challenge for the non-league side, though it is also an opportunity for the unlikeliest of 'giant killings'. Ahead of the match, we looked at the Opta data behind contests between non-league sides and the titans of the Premier League.

Non-league versus Premier League

"The magic of the cup" is that on a given day, any team could potentially beat any other, and that's surely the attitude Marine will want to take into the weekend. Though, obviously the reality is rather more stark. Since the Premier League's inception in 1992, only twice have non-league sides defeated top-tier opposition.

The first was in 2013 in the fourth round, as Luton Town claimed a 1-0 win over Norwich City. It ended a run of 27 years since top-tier opposition had lost to a non-league side, with Altrincham having eliminated Birmingham City in 1986. The only other occasion since then occurred in 2017, as Burnley lost 1-0 to Lincoln City, who made it as far as the quarter-finals.

There is also a coincidental link to that Norwich defeat with Sunday's contest – Spurs star Harry Kane was in the Canaries' side that day during an unsuccessful loan period at the start of his career. Those two wins for non-league teams have come from 52 matches, with 42 unsurprisingly ending in victories for the top-flight sides.

Spurs eye a hatful?

It won't come as a shock to learn there have been plenty of one-sided scorelines between non-league and Premier League sides. West Brom have claimed the biggest win, as they defeated Gateshead 7-0 at this stage of the competition in January 2015 – the Baggies clearly weren't complacent on that occasion.

Manchester United and Arsenal have beaten non-league opposition heavily as well, the Red Devils winning 5-0 against Burton Albion in a 2006 replay, and the Gunners crushed Lincoln by the same score a month after their surprise win over Burnley four years ago. Spurs' most straightforward win against a non-league side came in 1993, as they eased past Marlow 5-1.

Throughout the club's history, Spurs have met such lowly opposition 26 times in the FA Cup, losing five times. Could Marine do the unthinkable and make it six? Assuming he features, that would make Kane the first player to lose to non-league opposition on two different occasions with Premier League clubs.