Now with only a potential 180 minutes away from an historic first round appearance the Third Round Qualifying will no doubt produce shocks a plenty.
Clubs from step 6 have all been eliminated by this point with the remaining two: Bodmin Town and Hook Norton falling to Step 2 sides Bath City and Weston Super Mare 2-1 respectively in the previous round.
As the competition move on its strange how we perceive sides in a different manner now than to what we did in the earlier rounds…sides which we spoke about strong favourites from step 5 and 4 in previous rounds are now eclipsed in the shadows of step 2 sides.
The prize pot takes on another few thousand in this round as well with a tasty £7500 awaiting the winners of their tie alongside the progress into the next round.
Im going to start my preview with sides i have mentioned in the previous rounds. Both at Step five of the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Both Blackfield and Langley and Hartley Wintney will be in dreamland reaching this stage of the competition and following suit of the two underdogs from the previous rounds both have been drawn against step 2 National League South teams.
Blackfield and Langley host playoff contenders Maidenhead United and Hartley Wintney travel to Eastbourne Borough. Its fair of me to say at this stage of the competition that both sides will be up against it against strong step 2 opposition but in the same breath no doubt both will be confident of pulling of a shock after away scalps in the previous round. Blackfield Hammered Step 4 Wimborne Town 6-1 and Hartley Toppled Southern Premier League side 1-0.
North Leigh have been mentioned before in a previous blog and bid to reach the furthest stage of the competition in their clubs history… They travel to meet Chesham United who are mid table in the Southern Premier League. North Leigh have set a strong pace in the South West Division and only loosing once in their opening 9 games so will see this as a good chance to reach the First round qualifying.
I will be keeping my eye on this one for a potential shock..
Other sides who have cropped up that remain are:
Didcot Town face lowly Eastbourne Town of the Sussex County League, Gloucester City travel to Ryman League side Leiston, Tim Harris’ side will be keen avoid being on the end of another lower league scalp however in recent years have reached the first round proper in both of the last two seasons.
As always i usually predict a cheeky double/treble at this stage…so here goes..
Didcot/North Leigh and Gloucester for me today!
Good luck to all teams. As ever if you want to see some of your sides info covered in this blog then tweet me @Kav_glos.