It has been more than a century since a university fielded a side in the FA Cup. This week, the University of Bath team won its fourth-round qualifier to go through to the first round proper of the competition.
Team Bath is no ordinary university team, consisting of many former trainees or academy players at league clubs who were attracted to the university by its sporting reputation. Some of the players are following the university two-year higher national diploma foundation course in coach education and sports performance, while others have stayed on to study at degree level. One of the players is studying architecture.
Barry Lavety is possibly the team's best-known player. The 28-year-old won the Scottish First Division winners' medals with Hibernian and St Mirren. Team captain and degree student Kevin Watson is a former Reading player, while player-coach Peter Tisdale has played for Southampton and, at the age of 29, provides much of the know-how at the back.
The team took more than three-and-a-half hours to win its place in the first round. The initial match away against Horsham resulted in a goalless draw last weekend. The home replay, 48 hours later, resulted in a 1-1 draw after extra time. Team Bath won 4-2 on penalties.
Team Bath now faces Mansfield, which plays at the bottom of the second division, at home in the FA Cup's first round.
No student team has played in the FA Cup since Oxford and Cambridge universities took part in the 1879-80 season. Oxford won the cup in 1874, beating the Royal Engineers in the final. But after losing the 1880 final to Clapham Rovers, it never played in the competition again.
The Team Bath winning line-up comprised Ryan Northmore, Kevin Watson (captain), Mike Wisson, Alex Ball, Peter Tisdale, Matt Lewis, Jon Nichols, Bertrand Cozic, Barry Lavety, Giuseppe Sorbara and Luke Prince. Substitutes Carl Heiniger, Chris Lewis and Caleb Kamara-Taylor also played in this week's match.