We finally have some actual football to write about, as Hornchurch and Haringey Borough face National League opposition in the Fourth Round of the FA Trophy today.
The Urchins are at home- not that it matters all that much given nobody is allowed to watch- although you can view the game from the comfort of your own home by paying seven pounds and using the stream you can find HERE. The Urchins, we understand, didn't want the seven pounds charge, and as such Alex Sharp, the club chairman, has offered all supporters who stream the game a five pound bar credit with proof of purchase. Sadly it may be a while before you can take advantage of that, but it's a very kind gesture and the Urchins have a very fine bar, so keep your receipt! Read more here.
The Urchins head into this match having not played since their win over Dulwich Hamlet on the Saturday before Christmas. So far, as well as Hamlet, they've defeated Bowers & Pitsea, Wingate & Finchley and Tonbridge Angels to reach this stage, scoring ten goals and conceding three. Their opponents, twentieth in the Vanarama National League, have played only one match so far this month- a one-one draw against FC Halifax Town last weekend. Prior to that they hadn't played since the last round of the Trophy, a three-one win over Alfreton Town on December 22nd.
This is the furthest the Urchins have progressed in the competition since their reformation in 2005, and indeed only once in their history have they been more successful, 2003-04, when they defeated Wingate & Finchley, Newport County, Aylesbury United, Stevenage Borough and Burton Albion, before falling to Quarter Final defeat against Hednesford Town.
Kings Lynn Town haven't previously got past the Third Round. The old Kings Lynn club, however, reached this stage in 2000-01 and 2003-04.
Borough are on the road to the city of Dreaming Spires, better known as Oxford, where they take on Oxford City. Supporters can watch the match for £6.99, by heading here, but sadly you won't get to hear the cacophony usually provided by the Bell End unless you happen to be one of their neighbours, and even then it'll be a solo performance. Yes, that's a long-handed way of telling you that it's behind closed doors.
Borough shot down City's National League South rivals Eastbourne Borough in the Second Round, and using playground logic are already better than City- as they could only draw in their league fixture against the side from the seaside. They then defeated Dartford in the last round, and given Dartford currently lead National League South and are nine points ahead of City in the table, we're sure that it's entirely logical to conclude that a Borough victory is nailed on! Our side have also defeated Bishop's Stortford and Faversham Town to reach this stage, whilst their hosts have had to win only one match, against Welling United.
City have, of course, been able to continue to play their football, albeit without fans- and they've managed quite well in front of empty stadiums, as they are seven matches unbeaten, including five victories and four clean sheets.
Borough are well beyond their previous best run in the competition- their First Round tie against Leyton Orient in 2017-18- although their long-gone predecessors of Tufnell Park had an illustrious early Amateur Cup record, reaching the Final in 1920 and the Semi-Final three times before that. City were Isthmian rivals of that Tufnell Park side, and indeed were an Isthmian side as recently as 2004. This is also the furthest they've ever progressed in the FA Trophy, although they did have a fine pre-First World War Amateur Cup record, reaching three Finals and winning once, in 1906.
We'll be back tomorrow with a round up of the matches, but good luck to Borough and the Urchins and here's hoping you'll give us even more football to watch going forward, even if we can only see it on a computer screen.