the real fa cup

The Season So Far – Part 3

While my better half contemplates the purchase of a Daimler, A DAIMLER FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!, or perhaps a convertible from the newly dead Saab Group, I have been pondering what glamour the season has held for fans of the teams we saw in the 1st Qualifying Round.  I went to quite glamorous Farnborough, a cracking game, while globetrotting (I’m not bitter) Simon went to Horsham, which was not so hot, apparently. I would post links to the match reports but they seem to have disappeared and the technical part of this outfit is AWOL. Google ‘therealfacup’ and ‘[insert team name here]’.

Of the three Ryman 1 South sides we’ve come across so far, Horsham YMCA are, unfortunately for them, doing the worst. But only just. They sit just below the Met Police, who we saw in the previous round, and just above the drop zone. I think it’s kindest to say that it has been an unremarkable season for YM so far. Towards the end of November they picked up four points that took them clear of the drop zone and this was largely down to new signing former Italian international Tony Di Bernardo saving three penalties in two games. Before you go searching, the bit about being an international is not true.

East Grinstead were vanquished by YM in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, perhaps not unsurprisingly given their presence down the pyramid in Sussex League Division 1. And, like YM, they are just four points above the relegation zone. Symmetry. But it’s been a bizarre season to say the least. Despite having won but five league games, the Wasps have pestered their opponents goal on at least four goals in every single one of those wins! They have also twice racked up a five fer and twice netted a half dozen in winning games. It’s not as if they don’t know where the onion sack is.

Both of the six goal hauls were in the Sussex Senior Cup, including one quite remarkable game at home to Chichester City. Having lost 7-1 at Chichester on the opening day of the season, revenge was in the air. I couldn’t do the game justice so check out the review on the Wasps website, link on links page. The Wasps went behind early, then turned it round to lead 2-1. Chichester then equalised before the Wasps went 3-2 and 4-2 up before being pegged back to 4-3 by half time. In the second half East Grinstead went 5-3 up before Chichester were reduced to ten men and then somehow pulled it back to 5-5. EGT scored the game’s eleventh goal with 15 minutes still to go, the only surprise was that there were no more goals! 6-5 final score!

Another team with little trouble scoring this season are Farnborough, although they also have  considerably fewer problems  winning them than Grinstead. Farnborough top of the Zamaretto Premier with a GD of +26 and 3 games in hand over 2nd place Brackley, of whom they are already five points clear. Four of their forwards are in double figures for the season and they have even managed to rack up a 7 in one game. They haven’t scored as heavily as the Wasps but they have racked up an impressive number of goals in total and have gone about their business of winning games with about a 90% success rate thus far.

Farnborough have been miserly with defeats, they’ve lost just three times this season but twice to teams above them in the pyramid. Salisbury beat them in the FA Cup and Newport in the FA Trophy. However, home defeat to Nuneaton just a couple of weeks ago might have put some cats among a few pigeons. Although 8 points behind, Nuneaton lie 4th and have games in hand on the two teams between them and the leaders. So, they are ‘Boro’s most likely challengers for top spot. Farnborough are, however, a team who want to go places. A big new stand nearly finished, goal celebration music, an electronic scoreboard and a very much bigger time attitude. I think they might appreciate the Daimler.

Hastings gave Farnborough a very real run for their money. This shouldn’t be such a surprise because, although they had started the season indifferently they had won four on the spin before the tie. They are currently 2nd in the Ryman Premier League but they have played more gamed than those below them. In fact if the five teams below them win their many games in hand, the Arrows would slip to 7th. Unlikely though that is they are all miles behind Dartford who have won 14 of 17 games, losing just once.

Right, I’m off to stop someone doing something they’ll regret and then blame me for at a later date.

Next time … Wingate & Finchley, Aylesbury FC, Hampton & Richmond Borough and Braintree.

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