Trophy Times are here again

By Ian Townsend

We might not have any league football for a while, but we do have the FA Trophy- and the First Round kicks off tonight

We’ve a large collection of competitive football tonight, and as that’s in short supply you might like to go and watch a game! Here’s our preview- although given that nobody has played a competitive match for more than five weeks, any look at form will be rather hit and miss.

We’re going to start at Parkside, where our Trophy kings of last year, Aveley, welcome Pitching In Isthmian South East leaders Hastings United. So far the Millers, who reached the Quarter Finals last season, have disposed of Beaconsfield Town and Hanwell Town to reach this stage, whilst their opponents have defeated FC Romania and Ashford Town. Hastings have only lost one match all season, and that on penalties to National League side Ebbsfleet United, whilst the Millers have lost four of their last seven- a rather uncharacteristic blip by their standards.

Carshalton Athletic will look to avoid an upset as they host Barking. The Robins, fourth in the Pitching In Isthmian Premier League, defeated Merstham in the last round on November 4th, and have won every home match in every competition so far this season; whilst their visitors have been in good form, four games unbeaten and with only one defeat in six. They defeated Sittingbourne and Harlow Town to reach this stage- and won a friendly against Fisher by three goals to nil on Saturday.

Corinthian-Casuals and Walton Casuals last met in a South Division Playoff Final a few seasons ago- a match which bizarrely saw both promoted despite the visiting Casuals winning a penalty shootout, after a truly turgid game in scorching conditions ended goalless. The home Casuals warmed up for this match with a late defeat in the county cup on Saturday, whilst the visiting Casuals, these days in Pitching In Southern Premier South, are currently twelfth in the table and defeated another of our Premier Division sides, Folkestone Invicta, in the last round. Match postponed- Walton Casuals have withdrawn from the competition.

We’ve an all-Isthmian Premier tie at Coles Park, as Haringey Borough host Bishop’s Stortford. Borough warmed up by scoring five against Hendon in a friendly on Saturday, but they’ll need to be at their best as Stortford have had a magnificent start to the season, their only defeat in all competitions coming on penalties in the FA Cup First Round. They defeated Brentwood Town in the last round, whilst Borough defeated Faversham Town but have been on rather a patchy run, that being their only win in five matches which saw four defeats.

We’ve another all Pitching In Isthmian Premier battle at Hornchurch, where the Urchins host Wingate and Finchley. The hosts defeated Bowers & Pitsea in the last round and have been in good form, with only one defeat in six; whilst the visiting Blues, who defeated Coggeshall Town in the last round, have also been impressive of late, with only one defeat in six.

Leatherhead host Felixstowe and Walton United, with their Pitching In Isthmian North visitors perhaps in their best form since promotion to our league. The Seasiders have lost only once this season, against Maldon and Tiptree, and defeated the Tanners Surrey neighbours Metropolitan Police in the last round. They’ve scored ten goals in their last three matches- and also won in a friendly at Leiston at the weekend. The Tanners, who defeated Potters Bar Town in the last round, are still searching for consistency but are undeniably talented when they get it right.

Cheshunt have had a fine start to the season, and Craig Edwards’ Ambers will be in confident mood as they travel to Lowestoft Town. Second in the Pitching In Isthmian Premier stadium and three games unbeaten, they will face a set of Trawlerboys who defeated Lewes in the last round- but that was their first win in five. They sit twelfth in the Pitching In Southern Premier Central.

Marlow host Nuneaten Borough- and after winning four out of their last five they should be confident as the Pitching In Southern Premier Central side travel to Oak Tree Road. This will be the hosts first match since celebrating their one hundred and fiftieth anniversary, and a giant killing would be a fine belated birthday present. Borough have been in decent form, however, with three wins from four, and will be no pushovers.

Bracknell Town have swept (almost) all before them this season, their only defeat coming against Haringey Borough in the FA Cup. The Robins have a tricky tie in prospect, as they travel to Wiltshire to face Steve Claridge’s Salisbury, their hosts in third place and unbeaten in Pitching In Southern Premier South. They defeated Tiverton Town six-nil in the last round, and come in to the game on the back of four successive victories in which they’ve scored sixteen goals.

Bognor Regis Town travel to face Thame United. Sixteenth in Pitching In Southern Division One Central, the hosts have had an up and down sort of season so far, and have two four-one wins and two defeats from their last four. The Rocks, in contrast, have five victories and one defeat from their last six matches in all competitions.

Finally, Pitching In Isthmian South Central side Uxbridge host Premier Division opposition, as Cray Wanderers arrive at Honeycroft. The Wands have been scoring goals for fun of late, six against Merstham and three against Whitehawk and Haringey Borough, but mixed in amongst those results came an FA Cup defeat at North Division Canvey Island, which will give the hosts hope. The hosts haven’t yet reached the heights of last season, but looked back to form in the last round as they defeated neighbours and Pitching In Southern Premier side Hayes and Yeading United two-one.

Where next?

Friendly Tuesday As well as a collection of FA Trophy fixtures tonight, a number of our clubs have arranged friendly matches. These are the ones we've noticed!
Cunnington comes to Town Enfield Town bring in Ambers forward

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