Cool cash up for grabs as Gloucestershire clubs are braced for more FA Cup combat
A WHOLE host of Gloucestershire clubs are on the starting blocks bidding to book a place in the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup, writes Simon Parkinson.
And there is some tidy treasure up for grabs too from this year’s prize pot, with the winners of the Saturday, August 24 preliminary round ties set to trouser £2,890, and that’s on top of those who scooped £2,250 in safely negotiating the previous extra preliminary hurdle.
Whilst for some the first round proper dream is a daunting five wins away and distant dream, others know they DO have the capability to claim a place in the prestigious hat with the pros come November-time.
Not least Bitton and Mangotsfield United, who lock horns at Bath Road for a tasty local derby date involving Dan Langdon’s ambitious current Toolstation Premier Division pacesetters and Ollie Price’s long-established Southern League One South side.
Bitton boss Langdon stressed: “It’s a huge game for us; Mangotsfield play at a level we aspire to be at and they have beaten us twice in the two FA Cup games with them in the past, so fingers crossed it will be third time lucky for our club.”
Field supremo Price, whose team currently top their table courtesy of a 3-2 midweek win at Willand Rovers, stressed: “Bitton is a Southern League team in all but name when you look at the experience, power and ability of their players but we are really looking forward to it.”
Unbeaten so far from two opening fixtures, Lee Lashenko’s Bristol Manor Farm, also of the Southern League’s second tier and eager to push on again following a largely frustrating last campaign, hit the road for a tough test against a young and aspiring Clevedon Town team, although they will do so without suspended central midfielder Jack Durrant.
Toolstation Prem outfit Clevedon, in better heart after beating Odd Down 3-1 on Wednesday night for their first league win, are also looking to make strides towards regaining a place at non-League step 4 level under former Bristol City defender Micky Bell’s stewardship after hitting on hard times in 2015 and resigning from the Southern League as a consequence.
Cribbs and Roman Glass St George, two more Western League top-flight competitors, enter the FA Cup arena once more this weekend.
Both confront Southern League sides too as Cribbs, who came through the previous stage courtesy of a 5-1 replay win over league rivals Wellington, host Bideford, whilst Saints, who have agonisingly lost all three of their opening league fixtures by 2-1 scorelines, travel to Oxfordshire to confront Didcot Town following an exciting 3-2 win over Bucks hosts Winslow United in the last round.
Cribbs come into their tie smarting from their 6-0 midweek home drubbing by Bitton, prompting assistant manager Jim Williams to maintain: “We need an appropriate response to that although Bitton were just too strong and clinical.”
His opposite number at Roman Glass, Liam Greening, said of his team’s preliminary round mission: “We enjoyed a great 3-2 win at Winslow in the last round and it would be lovely for the club to get past Didcot as they play a league above us.”