FFT.com blogger Neil Redpath's bid to watch a game in every single FA Cup round reaches the Preliminary stage... and some family ties
With some interesting results last weekend, Faversham will think themselves more than lucky to get a bye to the Preliminary Round.
That's due to the misfortunes of Slade Green, whose financial situation has forced them to pull out of the FA Cup Ã¢ÂÂ and their league place in the Kent League.
For those of you taking notes, Wembley FC Ã¢ÂÂ who were mentioned in my first blog Ã¢ÂÂ will have to wait till next year for a chance to play across the road, as they lost 3-2 to Basildon United.
The 203 teams progressing to the Preliminary Round have now been joined by 131 teams from Level 8 of the football pyramid Ã¢ÂÂ the one at which the 14 sub-regional leagues coalesce into three regional organisations.
(A quick reminder about the pyramid. The Premier League is Level 1, Championship is Level 2 and so on. The Conference North and Conference South are Level 6; Level 7 consists of the premier divisions of the three regional leagues Ã¢ÂÂ Isthmian (sponsored by Ryman's), Northern (Unibond) and Southern (Zamaretto); and each of these leagues has two localised 'first divisions', which comprise Level 8.)
"Excuse me, folks... which way's Wembley?"
This is where some would say the FA Cup finally gets underway, as this is where the giant-killing begins.
With the prize money doubled to ÃÂ£1,500 for each successful team, thereÃ¢ÂÂs more than just winning on the minds of the chairmen.
But thereÃ¢ÂÂs a dilemma for your blogger. What do you do when you've booked a relaxing family holiday in the south-east of England and then realised it's FA Cup weekend?
Answer: you take them with you.
A glance at the fixtures shows that Ashford Town and Folkestone Invicta both have home games. Choices, choices...
Well, not really, as Ashford are only 30 miles from our campsite, and having a very impatient 11-month-old daughter tends to focus the mind on the least stressful solutions.
Ashford Town, established in 1930, have had some good runs in the cup Ã¢ÂÂ most noticeably progressing to the First Round Proper against Fulham in 1994.
After a 2-2 draw in front of a record-breaking attendance of 3,363 at Homelands (named after the farm the stadium was built on), they eventually succumbed 5-3 at Craven Cottage.
Ashford are a Level 8 team, but only just Ã¢ÂÂ they're currently rock-bottom of the RymanÃ¢ÂÂs Isthmian League Division 1 South.
As such, for the first and only time this season, they wonÃ¢ÂÂt be underdogs this Sunday, as they face Level 9 outfit Mile Oak.
Based just west of Hove, near Brighton, Mile Oak play their football in the Sussex County Football League Division 1.
They reached the preliminary rounds with a 3-1 win at divisional rivals Peacehaven & Telscombe FC, who were promoted last season as champions of the Sussex County League Division Two.
Sadly for Mile Oak, that cup win has been their only success this season: they've lost all four league games, leaking nine goals in the process.
Two teams on poor runs of form in the league, desperate for a fillip to kick-start their season. You couldn't ask for a better cup tie.
Let's just hope my daughter understands...
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