The draw for the Third Qualifying Round of this season’s FA Trophy has now been made. This is the round where clubs from the Conference North and South enter proceedings, and I thought I would pick out some highlights.
Firstly, my club, Hampton & Richmond Borough, have been drawn at home against Canvey Island, who currently sit tenth in the Ryman Premier League. It’s a good draw for The Beavers, a home tie and a good chance of progressing into the first round proper, where the Conference Premier clubs await.
Elsewhere, and Under The League’s James Griffiths still has an interest in the competition. His beloved Matlock Town will have a plum home tie with Hyde, who are flying high in the Conference North. Matlock do, however, have the small matter of a home replay with divisional rivals Hednesford Town to contest first, after the first match ended goalless.
FC United Of Manchester could set up a local derby with Altrincham, if they can overcome Durham in a replay. Redbridge FC will face East Thurrock United in an Essex derby, and there could be another one if AFC Hornchurch can get past Harrow Borough in a replay. The winners will travel to Thurrock FC, who sit bottom of the Conference South table.
Meanwhile, the draw has thrown up a “top v bottom” clash between Conference North leaders Stalybridge Celtic and Blyth Spartans, who sit bottom at the time of the draw. Spartans will be at home for the match though, which could have an impact on the result. Conference South leaders Woking, meanwhile, face a very tricky looking trip to Chelmsford City, who are chasing a playoff place in the same division.
Gosport Borough have been garnering a lot of attention lately, due to the fact that they boast Steve Claridge in their ranks, and they will face a very tough trip to Conference South side Dorchester Town in the next round. They will need every ounce of Claridge’s vast experience to get through the tie. FC Halifax Town, who face Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup in their biggest ever game this weekend, have an away day against fellow Conference North side Colwyn Bay in the Trophy.
The games will be played the weekend of November 26th, and the full draw can be found here