FA Cup & FA Trophy Draws - A Closer Look
The draws have been made for the early rounds of this year’s FA Cup and FA Trophy competitions, read on for a closer look at all of our potential opponents in the national cup competitions...
Just like last season we will face one of two Step Five sides in the FA Cup Preliminary Round, Chessington & Hook United of the Combined Counties Premier Division or Crowborough Athletic of the Southern Counties East League (formerly the Kent League). The FA Cup Preliminary Round tie will be played at Reachfields on Saturday 29th August, with the winner receiving prize money of £1,925.
We have previous experience of playing Chessington & Hook United in quite bizarre circumstances. With the memory of playing in front of 2217 spectators in the 1st Round Proper at then League One Hereford, our next game back in the FA Cup the following season (September 2011), was when we were drawn away to the club that sit just outside the perimeter of Chessington World of Adventures! The difference between the two occasions couldn't have been greater, as we toiled in the heat to a 1-0 win in front of an attendance of 97!
Last season, Chessington & Hook United finished third in the Combined Counties Division One, gaining promotion back to the Premier Division after being relegated at the end of the prior campaign. This was an excellent achievement considering they started the season with almost an entirely new squad (with the exception of four players) and were bottom of Division One halfway through the campaign. They also finished the season as the highest scoring team in the league, scoring 89 times in only 30 games!
Our other possible opponents, Crowborough Athletic, ended last season exactly mid-table (10th) in our old division, now named the SCEFL. Having won the Sussex County League Division One championship, Crowborough gained promotion to the Ryman South in 2008. However, their time in our current division was short-lived, only lasting a single season, finishing bottom of the league and being relegated back to Division One of the Sussex County League. Despite successfully winning an appeal against a move to the SCEFL two years ago, they were still moved to the old Kent League at the start of last season.
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Hythe Town v Chessington & Hook United or Crowborough Athletic
Saturday 29th August 2015
Winners to receive £1,925
In the FA Trophy Preliminary Round we face a long journey (just over 120 miles) to Aylesbury of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central (Step Four like ourselves). The tie will be played on Saturday 3rd October, with the winner receiving prize money of £2,500.
Our opponents are a very strong outfit that had a heartbreaking end to their promotion challenge last season. Having finished the campaign third in the table, securing home advantage in the play-off semi-final, they lost 2-1 to the club just below them in the division, Bedworth United, a side they had beaten twice already that season without conceding a goal. To add insult to injury, Bedworth went on to win the final and with it promotion to the Premier Division.
The winners of the game between ourselves and Aylesbury will claim a home tie in the First Round Qualifying, where Brentwood Town of the Ryman Premier will lie in wait, that game will be played on Saturday 31st October. It will be an intriguing fixture for the side that progress, as Brentwood Town, under the guidance of young joint-managers, Adam Flanagan (ex-Folkestone) and Danny Dafter, completely overachieved last season to win through the Ryman North play-offs.
Those two have now moved on (Flanagan to manage Vanarama South side Concord Rangers), but have been replaced by new Director of Football/1st Team Manager, former Premiership player, Dean Holdsworth! The new man was in an opposing dug-out to Sir Alex Ferguson just four years ago, during Aldershot’s League Cup run and has won the Conference South with Newport County in 2010.
The FA Trophy Preliminary Round
Aylesbury v Hythe Town
Saturday 3rd October 2015
Winners to receive £2,500
The FA Trophy First Round Qualifying
Aylesbury or Hythe Town v Brentwood Town
Saturday 31st October 2015
Winners to receive £2,700
Originally Published - 06/07/15