the real fa cup

North South Divide


Tomorrow night we’re heading to Griffin Park to, rather childishly, do the four corners pub run and, more seriously, go to a game to see if Gateshead can pull off an unlikely cupset.

After strolling to the League 2 title last year, Brentford could arguably have been expecting a bit more from the season so far. However, last year’s fellow promotees, Wycombe, find themselves ten points worse off and a manager down already. The other two, Gillingham and Exeter, have exactly the same points as the Bees. League 2’s tag as a tricky one this year would seem to have some basis in truth.

Gateshead find themselves in an almost identical position having also been promoted last season and currently lurking dangerously near the relegation places. The three points and two places above the drop zone they find themselves in the Blue Square Premier could be worse but for Chester’s disaster of a season. But, there are glimmers of hope for this former league side. They have a wealthy benefactor, plans for a new stadium and a well-thought-of manager and early season jitters are settling with performances improving.

We won’t pretend to know more than reports and blogs tell us about the Gateshead players but we gather that Andrew Haworth, on loan from Blackburn, showed some promise on debut. They’ve also scored 5 goals in their last 2 games, albeit with 7 going the other way, and performances are on the up. They have a few players with league experience, not least former Newcastle nearly man Martin Brittain (currently injured), former Ipswich defender Chris Swailes and prolific on-loan Mansfield striker Darryl Clare. Clare netted twice at the weekend as Gateshead put up a spirited display against 2nd place Stevenage in the league.

Brentford have on loan Derby keeper Lewis Price in goal, experience in Carl Cort and, possibly, the ludicrous firepower of onloan Spurs starlet John Bostock. We don’t know if he can play tonight or not, the Bees website seems to suggest he’s in the England u19 squad to play Turkey on Tuesday. The Tynesiders should probably hope he is unavailable, he netted two on his debut against Millwall on Saturday.

We’re hoping for more quality from this game than Northern based FA Cup fan Paul Kirkwood got on Saturday, link to his report and blog below. Heeds or Bees, Heeds or Bees, Heeds or Bees. North or south. It’s a long way home.

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