It’s Trophy Time!

By Ian Townsend

The First Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy starts this weekend, and a number of our sides are involved. Here’s our guide to the action.

It might seem a little strange to be starting this season’s FA Trophy when the 2019-20 competition hasn’t finished yet, but we are, and here’s a preview of the action to come.

Tooting and Mitcham United didn’t fare too well in the FA Cup, but will hope for a positive Trophy campaign and start it with a trip to AFC Dunstable. The Terrors might need to be at their best, as their hosts knocked Pitching In Isthmian Premier side Merstham out of the FA Cup in midweek, defeating them on penalties after a two-all draw.

AFC Sudbury will also look to bounce back from their FA Cup defeat in midweek, as they host Barking, who were walloping Dunstable Town six-one at the same time. The Yellows will hope that the side who defeated Coggeshall Town and Harborough Town turns up for this one!

Cambridge City entertain Kidsgrove Athletic, of the Pitching In Northern Premier League South East Division. Athletic won their opening League fixture of the season, at Stocksbridge Park Steels, last weekend, by one goal to nil- losing to Chasetown in the FA Cup by the same scoreline the season before. They were in tenth place when last season came to a close, and had won more matches away from home than on their own patch.

Felixstowe & Walton United and Great Wakering Rovers know each other rather well already, as they drew nil-nil at Rovers last weekend. Someone will have to win this time!

Hullbridge Sports host Ashford Town, Sports buoyant after their seven-nil thumping of Witham Town last time out, the Tangerines also confident after picking up three points at Chalfont St Peter, although with a far less emphatic scoreline.

Hythe Town invite those saints of Chalfont to Reachfields. The Cannons won their opening league match against Burgess Hill Town last weekend, and would like a run in the Trophy given they are out of the FA Cup, whilst Chalfont St Peter also departed the Cup in midweek, but played some excellent football in late defeat to Step Three Farnborough, scoring two great goals and holding the lead until close to the end.

Bury Town have had a perfect start to the season- three matches and three wins. They travel to Market Drayton Town hoping to make it four from four, their hosts without a win this season, and coming into this match after a four-nil loss to Belper at the weekend.

Northwood and Basildon United have managed only one win between them so far this season, and that came to the hosts in a penalty shootout. Hopefully one or the other will manage that victory inside ninety minutes on Saturday.

Soham Town Rangers will look to bounce back from that heartbreaking FA Cup defeat on Monday as they host Corby Town. Rangers are unbeaten in open play- they bowed out of the cup on penalties- and their opponents Corby Town haven’t managed a win yet, but to be fair they’ve played only two games and lost one of those on spot kicks!

South Park came very close to defeating Bognor Regis Town in the cup in midweek, and will be confident as their visitors, Three Bridges, have not had the best of starts- losing on penalties in the FA Cup and being walloped four-one by Sevenoaks Town last weekend. This is effectively a local derby as the two are less than ten miles apart.

Waltham Abbey and Staines Town both started their campaigns positively, the Abbotts with three straight victories and three clean sheets, the Swans winning two out of three and being defeated by higher division opposition- Walton Casuals- in the other.

Finally, Witham Town will be desperate to make amends for last weekend’s hammering, but have a tricky job to do as their visitors are Hanwell Town. The Geordies have won each of their three matches so far, scoring six goals and conceding one, whilst their hosts haven’t scored a goal yet in their two games, but have conceded eight.

Where next?

Invicta snap up Simpson Former Gillingham man Aaron heads to Folkestone
Double-Cray Cup Glory Wins for the Wands and the Millers, whilst Grays and Invicta also advance

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