We have completed 10 league games since the Vanarama National League North campaign started on August 4th, but today we are in action in the Emirates F.A. Cup.
We enter this year’s competition at the 2nd Round Qualifying stage with a home tie against Whitley Bay. Kick off at the J.Davidson Stadium is at 3 pm.
Last Saturday, we didn’t play particularly well but came out on the right side of a 3-2 scoreline against an impressive Bradford Park Avenue side, who put us under more pressure any side that we have come up against this season.
Trailing 2-1 early in the second half, we had a bit of good fortune as John Johnston (JJ) equalised with a shot that took a big deflection off Shane Killock. This proved to be a pivotal moment in the contest as a few minutes later, we produced our best move of the game when JJ turned provider for Max Harrop. Fresh off the bench, Harrop finished clinically.
It was a huge result for us, as defeat would have meant that we would have been just two points above the relegation zone, whilst victory lifted us to within three points of the playoffs!
Today’s F.A. Cup matchup against Whitley Bay is important for a number of reasons. The prize money has increased substantially for this year’s competition with the winners in this round taking £9,000.
Also, whilst last season was a really successful one, our biggest disappointment was going out to a late goal from Shildon at the same stage we are playing at today.
Whitley Bay, like Shildon, play in the Ebac Northern League and have a proud history that includes three consecutive F.A. Vase wins between 2009-2011. Like Shildon last year, they have already come through three rounds of this competition, beating Whitby Town 1-0 in the last round, with an 89th minute goal.
Only Shaun Densmore and Ben Harrison will be missing through injury as Connor Hampson returns after five weeks off with a hand injury sustained against Boston United.
Joe Thompson will be on the bench this afternoon, having scored for Trafford in their Integro Cup win on Tuesday night.
Callum Harris and Ross Woodcock also played in that game under dual-registration. I am looking to get them both some more game time through loan deals, although Ross has fractured his eye socket, which will delay that happening in his case.
Our goal for today’s game is simple: get through to the next round. I believe we’re fully prepared to achieve that this afternoon.
Photo credit: Jonathan Moore