Other than a small few notorious exceptions, the reassuring fact is that Carlisle United tend to survive encounters with non-league minnows in the FA Cup.

Should Horsham of the Isthmian League upset the Blues this Saturday, it will undoubtedly rank among one of United’s worst ever cup results.

The odds, though, favour Carlisle, in spite of their recent meagre form – as does their history of taking on sides from lower down the pyramid.

The last time they were toppled by a non-league side remains the infamous 2-1 defeat at Ilkeston in 1999.

Since then they’ve survived 11 FA Cup ties against teams from beneath the Football League, the most recent being the televised 4-1 win at Dulwich Hamlet in 2019.

The little cluster of defeats is surrounded by the more expected victories as United have taken on smaller sides over the years.

Two years into their Football League life, United saw off Tunbridge Wells Rangers in the 1930/1 FA Cup, McConnell and Hutchison scoring a brace each in a 4-2 win.

A year later and they met a Yorkshire Amateurs side who had reached the first round proper for the first time. Richmond, McConnell and Sharp supplied the goals in a 3-1 victory.

A win over Midland League outfit Denaby United came in the competition in 1932.

It was the following year when the Division Three North United were first toppled by non-league opposition in the cup. Cheltenham Town, then playing in the Birmingham Combination having just turned professional, got the better of the Blues 2-1 despite a Slinger effort in a second round meeting.

A heavier reverse followed in 1934. This time it was Wigan Athletic from the Cheshire League who accounted for United in emphatic style – thrashing the Blues 6-1, a Ranson goal thin consolation.

That was the last upset they suffered for the best part of three decades, Carlisle negotiating their non-league opponents in a range of ties thereafter.

That included a two-legged tie against North Shields in 1945, United winnin 5-1 at home and 3-2 away, while in 1946 they beat Runcorn 4-0 thanks to goals from Iceton (two), Broadis and Dougal.

They went on to meet South Liverpool in the next round and edged through 3-2 thanks to two more from Iceton and one from Moir.

Ten years later, in 1956, United put Billingham Synthonia to the sword with a 6-1 win, Garvie’s hat-trick supplemented by two from Ackerman and one from Broadis.

And the following year they treated Rhyl to similar punishment, winning 5-1 with Broadis netting twice, and Bond and Ackerman sharing the others.

1958 then saw United paired with Heanor Town of the Central Alliance. A crowd of 6,511 saw the underdogs go down 5-1 as Ackerman (two), Fletcher (two) and Mooney did the damage for Carlisle.

A 1962 win over Blyth Spartans followed that, Walker and Brayton securing a 2-0 win, but that same season they suffered one of their handful of infamous cup defeats.

It was the 1-0 defeat to Gravesend and Northfleet in the third round that led to the end of the reign of Ivor Powell, the manager who’d led the club to their first ever promotion.

News and Star: Ivor Powell (photo: PA)Ivor Powell (photo: PA)

In came Alan Ashman, who needed the club’s greatest ever player to avoid another upset in 1963 when facing Gateshead, who had recently been voted out of the Football League and now played in the North Regional League.

News and Star: Cumberland Evening News coverage of United's fightback against GatesheadCumberland Evening News coverage of United's fightback against Gateshead

The visitors stunned United by racing into a 3-1 lead, only for Hugh McIlmoyle to turn things around with a majestic hat-trick, Sammy Taylor getting the other in one of Brunton Park’s most memorable fightbacks.

United also beat Bedford Town 3-0 in 1963 thanks to goals from Livingstone, Kirkup and Davies, but in 1964 they were on the receiving end again.

This time it was Crook Town who humbled the Blues 1-0, future United defender Peter Garbutt a star for the home side at Millfield.

News and Star: Peter Garbutt, who eventually moved from Crook to CarlislePeter Garbutt, who eventually moved from Crook to Carlisle

United’s eventual rise to the second tier meant that for several years they’d start their FA Cup runs at third round stage, limiting their chances of meeting non-league opposition.

It was not until 1977 that they took on a minnow again, and they made short work of Matlock Town in the third round as Rafferty (two), McVitie, Clarke and Bonnyman earned a 5-1 win.

Rafferty was again at the double to see off Stafford Rangers 2-0 the following season, before United needed a replay to beat Workington Reds in 1980, winning 4-1 thanks to doubles from Brown and Beardsley, three years after the west Cumbrians had been voted out of the Football League.

A weather-delayed meeting with Bishop Auckland in the 1981/2 season was eventually settled by a Bob Lee goal in a 1-0 Blues win.

The mid-80s saw Mally Poskett score to see off Dagenham 1-0 in 1984/5, before an infamous 4-2 loss at Macclesfield Town followed in 1987, Poskett and Jon Clark taking temporary charge after Harry Gregg’s sacking, but United knocked out by their non-league hosts despite goals from Hetherington and Fulbrook.

From there, the Blues were too good for their next string of non-league opponents.

In 1988 Telford United gave them a test, United requiring a Derek Walsh goal to earn a first round replay, but they eased through the replay 4-1 at Brunton Park thanks to Saddington, Fitzpatrick, Gorman and Halpin in a run which eventually saw them face Liverpool in the third round.

Come 1993 and the Blues drew Knowsley United, a tie switched to Everton’s Goodison Park. United did enough on the big stage with Arnold (two), Davey and Reeves securing a 4-1 win. In the next round Arnold, Gallimore and Edmondson saw off Stalybridge Celtic 3-1, earning a third round crack at Sunderland.

The following season saw another first round tie moved to a bigger ground. Valley Parade hosted United’s meeting with Guiseley and again the Blues won through 4-1, Reeves scoring twice to add to efforts from Conway and Mountfield.

A brace of own-goals put United on the way to a 6-0 win over Shepshed Dynamo in 1996, Archdeacon, Peacock, Conway and McAlindon also on target – but things were dismally different three years later.

That brought the trip to Ilkeston Town of the Dr Marten’s League, and a dreadful defeat which sticks dismally in the memories of the Blues fans who were there. Harries gave Carlisle the lead but the minnows turned things around with goals from Moore and Raynor, the latter seeing a corner deceive United’s emergency goalkeeping signing Barry Thompson. You can see footage of the dreadful spectacle here:

There has not, mercifully, been a repeat since. In 2000 Ian Stevens scored four and Scott Dobie the other in a 5-1 win over Woking in a run that eventually brought Arsenal to Brunton Park two rounds later.

In 2001 they evaded Barnet 1-0 in a replay, having drawn 0-0 at Underhill, Steve Soley’s goal the difference.

There was a real risk of an upset in 2008, when, after Madine's penalty spared United's blushes in a 1-1 home draw with Grays Athletic, Sam Sloma put the underdogs in front after 20 minutes of the replay, only for a floodlight failure to curtail the non-league side’s hopes. The rearranged game went United’s way thanks to goals from Danny Graham and Graham Kavanagh.

News and Star: One floodlight is on at Grays - but others went out (photo: PA)One floodlight is on at Grays - but others went out (photo: PA)

In 2010, Tipton Town of the Midland Alliance tried to bridge a large gulf but found themselves beaten 6-0 at Brunton Park thanks to Madine (four) and Zoko (two). In the second round, United were given a fright by Tamworth before staging a late revival to win 3-2. Madine, Zoko and Chester were the scorers that day.

News and Star: Tipton players applaud United's fans after their cup outing at Brunton Park (photo: Louise Porter)Tipton players applaud United's fans after their cup outing at Brunton Park (photo: Louise Porter)

A trip to Alfreton Town in 2011 saw a more comfortable passage as Miller, Loy, Noble and Berrett achieved a 4-0 win, while the following year Ebbsfleet gave them a decent test before United eventually came to the fore with goals from Symington, Noble, Berrett and Garner.

Then there was 2013 and the first round meeting with Boreham Wood that became infamous for off-field events. A 0-0 draw in Hertfordshire was followed by United edging a tortuous replay 2-1, before a surreal row broke out over a substance left on the away dressing room floor after the game; one side alleging urine, the others maintaining it was orange juice.

Under Keith Curle, United went to Welling United in 2015 and emerged 5-0 winners. Wyke hit a hat-trick and there were further goals from Sweeney and Grainger, in a tie that took place as Storm Desmond was ravaging Cumbria. United’s hosts that day raised money to support flood victims in a show of kindness.

News and Star: United's Antony Sweeney takes on Welling (photo: Keith Gillard)United's Antony Sweeney takes on Welling (photo: Keith Gillard)

Curle’s side then went to St Albans City in 2016, going behind early on before imposing themselves. A high-scoring duel ended 5-3 in United’s favour, with Ibehre (two), Grainger, Kennedy and Wyke taking Carlisle through.

Then it was Dulwich Hamlet in 2019, a first trip to Champion Hill shown live on BBC television as Steven Pressley’s side prevailed 4-1 thanks to McKirdy (two), Olomola and Mike Jones.

A similar show of superiority, even from a struggling Blues side, would be very much in order this weekend – and United must hope the ghosts of Gravesend, Crook, Macclesfield and Ilkeston don’t hop off the Horsham team coach when it pulls into Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon...