We're officially* (*I didn't check with the FA whether the prelim rounds count, but they do for the Mitre Golden Boot!) into the second half of the 2021/22 FA Cup, and the inaugural top scorer trophy is still well and truly up for grabs.
The Second Round Proper kicks off on Friday night, with 20 games to be played over the footballing weekend, and a chance for all 40 remaining teams to go into the hat on Monday night's draw – held during the ITV coverage of Monday night's Hertfordshire derby between Boreham Wood and St Albans City – with a chance of pulling out a giant Premier League opponent.
Previously profiled FA Cup top scorers Sol Solomon (Jersey Bulls) and Adam Boyes (Marske United) have now been dragged kicking and screaming out of the competition, which leaves the Golden Boot sitting there to be taken by anyone left standing – with fully half the competition left to be played out.
Who's in the mix before the big boys join the party in January? Let's introduce you...
1. Diego De Girolamo – Buxton FC (7 goals)
That's right, we haven't folded our international coverage into our FA Cup coverage (or, indeed, our mineral water coverage into our FA Cup etc. etc.), former Italian youth international Diego De Girolamo is the leading active scorer in this year's competition with seven.
It was his winner against National League North's York City that put Buxton just one game away from a 2022 date at any of the country's biggest grounds.
His second round tie against newly promoted League One side Morecambe – themselves at the height of their league history – will be live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Saturday 4th December at 12:45pm.
2. Ashley Chambers – Buxton FC (4 goals)
A second Buxton player, but this time one who's on something of a mini-drought in England's greatest cup competition.
31-year-old veteran Chambers (do you know, by the way, how it feels to start calling someone a 'veteran' when you're a year younger than them? No, I bet you don't. It isn't fun, by the way) hasn't scored since his four goals in the first and second qualifying rounds.
Much like De Girolamo, Chambers has a notable footballing past – to this day, his appearance for Leicester City in the League Cup in 2005 makes him the club's youngest ever player...by some margin. For the record, Mark de Vries (later of Hearts) scored twice to give the Foxes a 2-1 win.
3. Shaun Jeffers – St Albans City FC (4 goals)
Speaking, as we were earlier, of Monday night's Hertfordshire derby...
Shaun Jeffers provided one of the biggest shocks of the FA Cup's first round with his winner against runaway League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers, ending their hopes of a comeback in the last 15 minutes to seal a place in the pot.
St Albans have never claimed a place in the third round of the competition, taking only one Football League side out along their way to five second round berths. That one? Brentford, in fact 1924. There's just a tiny chance that they could play the Bees again in the third round, 98 years on...
4. Macauley Langstaff – Gateshead FC (4 goals)
Comfortably the youngest member of the little leaderboard we've compiled, Langstaff (no relation to Newcastle's Longstaffs) will face Charlton Athletic on Friday night, live on ITV4.
The 24-year-old can get a jump-start on all of his remaining Golden Boot competitors before the weekend gets underway as his National League North side welcome the southern visitors from three tiers above.
5. Scott Quigley – Stockport County FC (4 goals)
Arguably the FA Cup first round's biggest difference-maker this season, Scott Quigley helped his side reach a first-round replay against Bolton at the start of November, before scoring the winning goal in a 5-3 extra time win over the former Premier League denizens in a frantic replay.
Quigley rose to prominence when he dragged Cumbria's second team, Barrow AFC, to League Two in 2019/20 thanks to his 20 goals.
He scored another 15 goals in League Two the following season, keeping Carlisle's little brothers inside the 92 for the first time in almost half a century, before moving to Stockport for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal. With Stockport in the second round, it's hard to argue with the outlay.
The Emirates FA Cup 2021/22 continues with the Second Round Proper, with fixtures scheduled across the weekend of Friday 3rd December and Monday 6th December. Further information can be found on The FA's website.