the real fa cup

Sussudio

Chalfont St Peter 0-1 Lewes
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round 2013/14

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Recently, the dribble, the minutae, the waffle about this country’s football Premier League reached a new, frankly pathetic level of hyperbole and scrutiny. The worst of which has been the weekly change of editorial tack on the PL club currently in crisis. It started in week one: Arsenal! Crisis! Having lost one game to Aston Villa. Chelsea! Crisis! Mourinho, having ignored Juan Mata. Man Utd! Crisis! At various points in recent weeks David Moyes tenure has been described as Man Utd’s worst in 30 years and the best by a new Man Utd manager in decades. Confused? Yep. Us too.

One of the other minutae pored over has been the average footballers’ music taste. At face value, pointless? Yes. But, nonetheless, arguably more interesting than who is in crisis in mid September, given that even relatively young footballers seem to be stuck in the music tastes of their forefathers. So, we all had a chuckle at Frank Lampard’s love of Lionel Richie and Stevie G’s predeliction for a bit of Philip Collins esquire. The latter is a rather tenuous link to our latest trip.

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We went to Chalfont St Peter v Lewes in the bucolic countryside of Buckinghamshire, accessed via Gerrard’s Cross railway station. On the station platform at Gerrard Cross is a statue of the Unknown Navvy, a tribute to those who built the railway and the tunnel through which you/I arrive(d) from the sprawling metropolis. The statue was paid for by donors, including a certain Phil Collins.

Chalfont, in the last round, against all odds, vanquished the guardians of that sprawling metropolis, although the Met Police Football Club are no longer fuelled by the ranks of Sir Robert Peel’s boys in blue. Lewes, for their part, arrived here having only just avoided the banana-skin of a lower league club on a good run.

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Lewes fans arrived in numbers, urged into Chalfont’s White Hart by the discovery of some on-line ‘free beer’ tokens (they didn’t tell me), along with a number we’d met before on our travels, not least a Lewes Director (the author of the above-linked piece), Big Deaksy, Cynical Dave and Terry.

With the addition of Real FA Cup regular Matt Allard and with some enervation from Chalfont’s club bar, which doubles as some sort of creche, the game got underway and Lewes scored immediately. Long ball, nippy forward turns defender inside out, tidy finish, Dan Smith makes it 1-0. Then we may as well have gone to the pub. Nothing footbally happened again. Drink. Chat. Wasps. End … but, seriously, just take me home! Lewes through, another cup shock avoided.

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Which leaves us, where? The draw. Two ties on our list: The Cup’s lowest remaining team Atherston Town, drawn at home to Barrow; and Dulwich away at either Witham or Hemel. All new grounds for us.

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