A look at some of the players in the non league pyramid that are attracting the attention of Football League clubs. Read the rest of this entry
In the first of a new series in the run up to Christmas, James Griffiths, aka The Matlock Fan, takes a look at some of the delights on offer in our non-league club shops. Read the rest of this entry
This article has been published with the permission of Stephen Prosser, a Wrexham FC fan who lives in South Africa. Read the rest of this entry
The first round is now done and dusted, and we know the teams that will be in the hat for the second round draw, barring those ties that went to replays. So how did the non-league representatives do?
The lowest ranked team left in the competition, Redbridge FC, did themselves proud as they held Oxford City to a goalless draw at Oakside. City, who are top of the Southern Premier Division, were favourites to win, but will have to do it in a replay now. Bath City, bottom of the Conference Premier, have got themselves a home replay after their 1-1 draw at League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge. The Romans took the lead on eleven minutes through midfielder Marc Canham. Daggers equaliser came four minutes before the break, striker Brian Goodall getting his first of the campaign to take the game to a replay. Bath City will certainly fancy their chances of a causing an upset in that one.
In the other games involving League v Non-League, two teams got wins, and two more will take their ties to replays. The winners were Luton Town and Fleetwood Town. The Hatters saw off League Two outfit Northampton Town, the only goal coming ten minutes from time courtesy of young midfielder Adam Watkins. As for Fleetwood Town, they went one better by downing League One side Wycombe Wanderers 2-0. The goals in this one came from strikers Andy Mangan and Jamie Vardy. The Cod Army even had to play the second half with ten men, as Richard Brodie was sent off on the stroke of halftime. These two results are probably not too surprising, in terms of the clubs’ positions in their respective leagues; Both Wycombe and Northampton are fighting relegation, while Luton and Fleetwood have ambitions of becoming Football League clubs for next season.
The two non-league teams facing replays against their league opponents are Grimsby Town and Stourbridge. The Mariners got a good 0-0 draw with League Two playoff chasers Port Vale, and will fancy their chances back at Blundell Park in the replay. Stourbridge, meanwhile, came within two minutes of eliminating League Two’s bottom club Plymouth Argyle at the first attempt. The Glassboys were 3-2 up until Onismor Bhasera levelled for The Pilgrims, who had two men sent off in those hectic final ten minutes. Plymouth will not enjoy their trip to the Midlands for the replay, and I can see Stourbridge progressing.
There were also eight all non-league ties in the first round, with three of them needing replays. Draws between Hinckley United and Tamworth, Maidenhead United and Aldershot, and Cambridge United and Wrexham will all be sorted out with replays. The biggest result of the day, though, came at The Testwood Stadium, where AFC Totton thumped Bradford Park Avenue 8-1. Four goals in each half for The Stags saw them progress to the second round draw for the first time in their history. Bradofrd PA did have two players sent off, the first after just eleven minutes.
Technically, Sutton United caused an upset by beating Conference Premier side Kettering Town, although United are second in Conference South, while their opponents are battling relegation. Craig Watkins got the only goal of the game after 64 minutes. Not a bad way to celebrate his 100th appearance for the club. Another Conference South side, Chelmsford City, hammered Premier side AFC Telford 4-0 with goals from Aiden Palmer, Craig Parker and a brace from skipper David Rainford.
There were no such shocks at Croft Park, where visiting side Gateshead of the Conference Premier beat North outfit Blyth Spartans 2-0. Jon Shaw and Micky Cummins got the goals to settle this local derby. Finally, Salisbury City avoided a shock by seeing off Southern Premier side Arlesey Town 3-1.
There is one huge game today, of course, as Conference North side FC Halifax Town host League One’s runaway leaders Charlton Athetic at The Shay. It is undoubtedly the biggest game in the new Shaymen’s life. The club were formed in 2008 after the liquidation of the original Halifax Town AFC due to heavy debts. There hasn’t been a monumental shock yet in the first round, maybe this could be it?
Sunday was a day of expectation for many non-league fans; well it was for those whose teams who had made into the hat for the first round proper of the FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser.
On the whole it has to be admitted that a bit of a boring draw with only one or two tasty ties for Non-league fans to get their teeth into.
The game I have been talking about is that of FC Halifax Town v Charlton Athletic. The game has been put back to Sunday at 12:30pm for ITV and quite rightly so it should get massive coverage. FC Halifax are a former Football League club and their last couple of seasons on their quest to get back into the Football League have been quite remarkable: two successive promotions through the Evo-stik Northern premier division and they are back in the Blue Square North. While Charlton have been in this stage before- the former Premier League club were on Television against Northwhich Victoria two seasons ago and a trip Victoria Park saw the Addicks being knocked out one-nil. I can see the Shayman progressing to the second round.
The second tie I am looking forward to see the outcome of is Nantwich’s trip to MK Dons. The Cheshire side beat Nuneaton Town on Saturday at the Weaver Stadium 1-0 and despite their cup run sit 10th in the Evo-stik Premier and should not fear the Dons, even though they currently sit fifth in the League One table (at the time of writing). But unfortunately it will be the dons who will progress into the second round.
It will make it an added incentive for both Mansfield Town and Fleetwood Town to try and win the replay for the right to entertain Wycombe Wanderers at their home ground. Both look on good form; The Cod sit second in the Blue Square Premier with Mansfield just outside the play off zone. The Wanderers aren’t doing well at the present time and sit one from bottom in League One, though they will be looking for a good cup run to ease the woes. But somehow I think that who ever gets through the replay will be the winners in this game.
The last game I want to look at as a possible tie of the round is Luton v Northampton Town. The Hatters have been known in the FA Cup over the last few years thanks to their performance a few years ago against Liverpool in the third round and at one stage were leading 2-1 before succumbing to a 5-2 lose, but the way they played captured many hearts and will be hoping for another cup run as such. Northampton currently sit 18th in league two and are only eight points off the foot of the league. So an interesting game will be in store at Kenilworth Road and I am going for a Luton win.
So there are four games whose results I am going to look out for. The full draw can be found on the FA website http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/FACompetitions/TheFACup/Fixtures
Good luck to all non-leagues teams and hope we can have many progressing into the next round.