Football Management & Technology

Emirates FA Cup Third Qualifying Round Preview

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Date: Thu 29 Sep 2022

By Steve Whitney

It’s Emirates FA Cup Third Qualifying Round action again involving a number of clubs in the Pitching In Southern Football League.

And there are some intriguing ties.

The league is only assured of two entries into the next round as Premier Division Central rivals Alvechurch and Nuneaton Borough meet at Lye Meadow and Premier Division South sides Yate Town and Bracknell Town do battle at Lodge Road.

Friday evening kicks-off the round as Kevin Horlock’s Premier Division Central outfit Needham Market welcome Isthmian League Premier Division Brightlingsea Regent to Bloomfields.

The Marketmen are currently fourth in the table with five wins from nine league games and have so far seen off league rivals Leiston and Thurlow Nunn Leaguers Sheringham in the previous rounds.

Brightlingsea are sitting in 19th spot in the league with just two wins and five defeats from their eight league matches.

In the cup, they beat Thurlow Nunn League side Mildenhall Town 3-0 and won 3-2 at Southern Division One Central outfit Waltham Abbey in the last round.

Several Southern League clubs face opposition from the Vanarama National League North or South.

Division One Central side Berkhamsted will be looking to cause an upset when they journey up the M4 to play reigning Southern Premier Division Central champions Banbury United, now sitting second in the National League North.

Last season’s Premier Division South play-off winners, Farnborough, will be familiar opposition for their former league rivals Swindon Supermarine, who welcome Spencer Day’s side to the Webbswood Stadium with Boro currently 21st in the National League South.

Their start to the league season may be disappointing, but Boro will be tough opponents as their play-off losers Hayes & Yeading United found in the last round.

Plymouth Parkway have endured a tough start to life at Step 3 level but will be buoyed by earning their first Premier Division South win of the campaign this week as they head up the motorway to take on National League South side Oxford City at Marsh Lane.

The Hoops are currently 11th in the table with four wins and four defeats from ten league outings.

Parkway’s league rivals Metropolitan Police will fancy their chances of causing another cup upset when they host National League South side Chippenham Town at Imber Court.

The Bluebirds are currently a place behind Oxford with an identical record, while the Met, sitting 9th, have been a bit inconsistent so far and have wins over lower league opponents in Isthmian South East outfits Corinthian and Burgess Hill Town to reach this stage.

Hanwell Town have had a good start to life at Step 3 level in the Premier Division South and Monday’s 1-1 draw at Bracknell Town leaves them in fourth spot.

The Geordies have beaten Southern Combination League side Eastbourne Town and Isthmian South East outfit Cray Valley PM so far and now face one of the biggest games in their recent history when National League South Ebbsfleet United journey to the Powerday Stadium.

And the draw could not have been harder for Hanwell as Fleet sit top of the table, having won nine and drawn one of their ten league matches!

Division One South club Paulton Rovers will have to produce something special if they are to progress.

Rovers travel to The Beveree to take on National League South side Hampton & Richmond Borough, and whilst the Beavers are only 17th in the table, it is still a two-division gap that the visitors are looking to surmount.

Rovers have beaten league rivals Bideford AFC, Hellenic Leaguers Royal Wootton Bassett Town and then did cause an upset by beating Premier Division South side Gosport Borough in the last round.

Basford United, switched from the Northern Premier League to the Premier Division Central in the summer, have started reasonably well and are currently seventh in the table.

The Nottinghamshire side host National League North outfit Boston United – probably a few weeks too late!

The Pilgrims had a terrible start to the season, culminating in the departure of manager Paul Cox.

However, since Ian Culverhouse’s arrival, Boston have turned the corner and have won their last four games.

Merthyr Town have started well in the Premier Division South under Paul Michael and sit in 11th spot.

They have beaten rivals Truro City and Division One Central side Cirencester Town (after a replay) in the previous rounds and now cross the Bridge to take on National League North side Gloucester City at Balckwell Meadows.

Old rivals of course, the Tigers are sitting in 15th spot in the table, having earned a decent point away at Banbury on Tuesday.

However, they may now be a little more dangerous to play against as they have just sacked their manager Lee Mansell!

The only Division One Central representative in the round is Robbie O’Keefe’s Biggleswade Town.

It was only last weekend that the Waders managed to win their first game in the league – 4-1 at home to Highworth Town – but they have enjoyed wins over Thurlow Nunn Leaguers Whitton United and Northern Premier Division One Midlands outfit Dereham Town and then Isthmian North East Thurrock United to reach this stage.

Biggleswade travel to Essex again to take on Isthmian Premier Division side Billericay Town at New Lodge.

The Blues, relegated from the National League South last season, are currently 12th in the table with three wins and four defeats from eight games.

Premier Division South club Hendon will fancy their chances of making progress as they welcome Herne Bay to Silver Jubilee Park.

Lee Allinson’s side may be in the bottom four but are currently unbeaten in five matches.

Bay, promoted to the Isthmian Premier after winning the Isthmian South East play-off final last season, are bottom of the table and suffered a recent 6-0 home drubbing by Hornchurch and their only league win came in their second game of the season.

Three Southern League clubs face lower league opposition.

Premier Division Central sides Coalville Town and St Ives Town host AFC Sudbury and Chasetown respectively.

The Ravens head into their tie against their Isthmian North visitors in fantastic shape after hammering AFC Rushden & Diamonds 7-0 at Hayden Road on Tuesday.

However, Adam Stevens` side need to be wary as the Suffolk side have already caused an upset by ousting National League South side St Albans City out of the competition after a replay in the last round.

The Saints, currently eighth in the table, welcome the Northern Premier Division One Midlands Scholars to Westwood Road.

Chasetown have only won once in the league to date but caused a big shock in the last round by knocking out famed FA Cup fighters AFC Telford United 4-2 – and at the New Bucks Head too!

Premier Division South leaders Weston-super-Mare are currently unbeaten in league and cup and were handed a home draw against one of the few Step 5 clubs left in the competition, Toolstation Western League Premier Division Helston Athletic.

The Cornishmen reached this stage after beating Division One South side Bishops Cleeve.

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