Thursday, 21 October 2010

Carshalton and Co. Up for the Cup

This weekend sees 64 non-league sides take to the pitch, needing just one win to progress to the FA Cup First Round 'Proper'.

For many clubs, it's a great opportunity to draw a 'big name' side, with clubs from Leagues One and Two entering at the next round. Whilst for the top Blue Square Bet Premier teams it presents a chance to draw a smaller club with the hope of progressing and getting a tie with a top Premier League outfit in January.

Ryman League Premier side Carshalton Athletic have already safely navigated their way through three rounds - a feat they've not managed in my eight years of supporting them. Unsurprisingly, the season I don't attempt to get to south London to watch them slog it out against an even more lowly non-league side in the early qualifying stages, they hit a blistering run of form!

Saturday sees the Robins host Blue Square Bet South outfit Chelmsford City - a disappointing tie in the end for the Carshalton faithful ,as their opponents needed a replay to surpass league rivals Bromley, managed by former Robins boss Hayden Bird.

The current man in the Colston Avenue hot-seat, Mark Butler, has seen his side brush aside Tunbridge Wells and East Thurrock United (albeit via a replay) and they're no strangers to beating bigger opposition either, putting four past high-flying BSS side Braintree Town after going a goal down after just five minutes.

The Robins' local-rivals Tooting and Mitcham United reached the First Round last season and were rewarded (?) with an away day at Stockport County, whilst rivals of an even closer viscinity, Sutton United, will always be remembered for their famous Third Round defeat of then top-flight side Coventry City in 1989.

Both of these clubs will be wrapped-up in league action this weekend, however, having had their respective Cup runs brought to a halt. But other ties to look out for include Wessex Premier League Poole Town who host Hayes and Yeading of non-league's top-flight and a local derby between Luton Town and St Albans City . It's the battle of the Boroughs at Priory Lane as Harrow travel to Eastbourne, while Mansfield visit FC Halifax Town of the Evo-Stik Premier League.

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