FA Cup 1st Round Predictions: can Swindon end their cup curse?

Dartford v Swindon

Dartford have scored more goals than any other team in the National League South, with ex-Millwall fringe striker Alfie Pavey looking a real prospect since joining. Swindon though have an impressive Lions loanee up top in Harry Smith, who has scored two goals in his last three games. The Robins had an inconsistent start but are starting to show a certain dependability in both form and performances that suggests they are strong promotion contenders. They do however have a woeful recent record in the FA Cup: since a Fourth Round tie with Leicester in 11/12, they have crashed out at the first hurdle every year. Now though, they might just be made of sterner stuff. 1-3

Exeter City v Heybridge Swifts

From the 320 teams who took part in the FA Cup’s Preliminary Road, Heybridge Swifts are one of just two teams who have got through five qualifying clashes to reach the First Round. They deserve credit for their run, but the level of opposition up to this point – ninth tier Haverville Rovers, two eighth tier sides and two from the seventh tier – doesn’t give us an indication that they can compete with an EFL club. Exeter City, fourth in League Two, are hopeful of another promotion push but could do with a convincing win here to rebuild some confidence, after going four games without a win. 3-0

Guiseley v Accrington Stanley

Guiseley frequently have a bad start to their National League campaign before recovering quickly enough to stay up and this campaign appears to be following a similar pattern. With the third lowest gates in the division, a cup run would provide a boost for the club, for whom midfielder Will Hatfield and left-sided utility man Lee Molyneux could face their old clubs. Accrington Stanley have a strong midfield now though, with Liam Nolan and Seamus Conneely providing bite in central areas. Jordan Clark and Sean McConville can create at any moment for the strikers, with Leeds loanee Mallik Wilks likely to get an opportunity. The East Lancashire outfit moved up to second with a 4-1 win over Barnet at the weekend and John Coleman will want to ensure his players keep that winning feeling. 0-2