the real fa cup

The Season So Far – Part 2

This catch up is for teams we watched in the Preliminary Round.  Chertsey, the Met Police, Sevenoaks and our local boys Dulwich Hamlet. Hamlet and the Fuzz were victorious in these games but neither went much further, both losing narrowly away to meagre opposition and neither getting far in the FA Trophy. Chertsey, on the other hand are in with a very good chance of getting a long way in the FA Vase.

Despite Chertsey’s good run and the fact we’re feeling dead Christmassy now, part two of our half term report continues with shuddering recollections of the stultifying tedium of the first ever Friday night game at Alwyns Lane. Sampled by just one regular realfacupster, Chertsey .v. The Rozzers of the Met bore all the hallmarks of classic lower league fayre. The game time changed, not on police advice but with police acceptance.  You couldn’t go much further up the pyramid and still find a game moved because one of the players was getting married on the Saturday, that stuff waits until the end of the season.  The game was, however, dire.

Chertsey though are full of Christmas cheer too now. Into the 4th round of the FA Vase, 3rd in the Combined Counties Premier League where the Curfews have lost just once at home and are on a run of 8 wins in 11. The Met, meanwhile, find themselves a bit more cheerless. They usually find themselves at the higher end of mid table in Ryman 1 South but this season they find themselves in the lower half having won just 2 of their last 10 games. One of their main problems of late has been scoring.  The talismanic Frankie Sawyer is still top scorer having rattled in 5 league goals from just 7 starts and 3 late surges from the bench during the early season.  However, Frankie left the club some months ago and they’ve struggled to score since.

The Met’s loss has been Dulwich Hamlet’s gain, although in terms of goals only very recently.  Sawyer left the Met to head up Champion Hill, where he has taken time to settle but has now got his first goals. Like the fuzz, Hamlet have a tendency to be at the business end of Ryman 1 South’s mid-table-ness but find themselves a little off the pace after an up and down first half to the season.

A few points above the Met, Gavin Rose’s new young team had a run of five successive draws in October that showed they were becoming difficult to beat but their 3 wins and 3 defeats since then suggest they haven’t quite got the hang of both preventing goals and scoring themselves in the same game. However, the high point so far is that two of those three wins have been in the last two weeks and Sawyer has started scoring.

The low point came in early November in the London Senior Cup when, at home to South Kilburn of the Hellenic League some 4 levels lower down the pyramid, Hamlet contrived to lose 2-1 in a game some at the club were calling their worst result ever.   Since though they have now finally won at home, which they hadn’t yet done this season and Rose is now talking of a promotion push. It’s a long shot because they are probably going to have to win 18 of their remaining 22 games to stand a chance.

Finally, we visited Sevenoaks’ quirky ground on the first chilly night of the year. We say chilly but the kind of chilly that requires a hoody, not the kind of chilly that currently grips the nation in it’s icy fist.  Sevenoaks lie 3rd in the Bulmers Cider Kent League Premier Division but way off runaway leaders Faversham.  With the league position and Billy Shinners rattling in the goals at a heavy rate, it’s surprising that a town the size of Sevenoaks is attracting an average of just 64 paying fans per league game. That’s probably about a third of Hamlet’s who have far more competition for fans’ hard earned.

If you’re a fan of any of these teams and we’ve missed some notable yarns from the seasons, stick them in the commenst below or mail us. Next time, the first qualifying round.

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