Local football sides learn fate as clubs dream of FA Cup run

FA Cup
FA Cup

Less than two months after Leicester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley to lift the FA Cup, the road to glory for 729 teams begin again, with local sides entering the competition in the extra preliminary round.

While the league competitions remain the main focus for most sides, the promise of much-needed prize money, prestige and the dream of reaching the main draw always has a unique appeal.

Bedford Town were the lucky beneficiaries of a bye through the extra preliminary round, and have been drawn to face St Neots Town in the preliminary round this season, taking place on 21st August.

However, other local sides have an extra hurdle to jump, with fellow Southern League Central side Kempston Rovers drawn at home to Whitton United, who play in the Eastern Counties League.

Biggleswade United are at home to Saffron Walden Town of the Essex Senior Football League, while Potton United face Eynesbury Rovers, with that round being played on Saturday 7th August.

Biggleswade United will face Edgware Town or Hadley on 21st August if they beat their Essex opponents, with Kempston Rovers face a potential trip to Wisbech should they beat Whitton.

Potton United face a home tie against either Swaffham Town or Walsham Le Willows should they beat Eynesbury Rovers.

While the ties at this stage may not be glamorous, cup runs haven’t been a complete mystery, at least to Bedford Town who have high-flying memories to look back on.

The Eagles will at least look to better last year’s showing, where they were dumped out by Daventry Town in the preliminary round, albeit controversially.

While a repeat of the 1956 FA Cup tie with Arsenal may be a long shot, Gary Setchell’s side at The Eyrie may well come up against National League sides should their cup run gather momentum.

And with a promising squad looking for nothing less than promotion this season, those potential ties could be a litmus test for a team who harbour ambitions way higher than the Southern League Central Division One.

The FA Trophy first qualifying round draw has also been made, with Bedford Town once again being drawn against St Neots Town, while Kempston Rovers welcome Newcastle Town to Hillgrounds.