This weekend sees the Quarter Finals stage of the GFA Senior Amateur (North) Cup take place, with four very closely matched ties taking place, ahead of which Ryan casts his eye on the prospective action.
Longlevens Reserves vs Viney St Swithins
Both sides go into this one with similar records in the league, but Levens Reserves find themselves 3rd in Division One and yet Viney are only 7th in Division Two. Can you read more into that? I’m not too sure, whilst you could say Division One had the better opposition, Viney were only promoted into the GNSL this season.
Ahead of the game Longlevens Reserves manager Dale Rawlins has spoken to Severn Sport about Saturday’s game and the County Cup run altogether.
“The cup run has been fantastic as the whole season has for the Reserves,” said Rawlins. “It’s been a bit of a mix and match team wise so far, but that’s life as a Reserve side.
The cup is a chance for the lads to really compete for some silverware in the season and a competition this group are buzzing to be this far in. The two previous ties have been very convincing and you certainly see that competitive edge come out of some of the young talent.
In Saturday’s game I’m expecting the same as most sides in the Northern Senior League, a strong, physical, yet good footballing battle where in these conditions the pitch will be a leveller.
We have to be better than we were on Saturday [in defeat at Brockworth] and we have to be clever and make the most of our chances and the times we get the ball into the final third.
We know what we are good at and we have some talented players, but we have to get those bits around that correct to really make sure we give ourselves the best possible chance of progressing on Saturday,” Rawlins added.
Slimbridge Reserves vs Kings Stanley
Slimbridge Reserves are one of the better Reserve sides in the Hellenic League Division Two West and whilst they have a whole host of exciting young players, they go up against a Kings Stanley side who have won 10 out of 11 games in the league this season.
After the promotion of Adam Coyle to the Slimbridge First Team Management group, Michael Mayes is to take over at Slimbridge Reserves and he faces a tough first game this weekend. Kings Stanley will have experience on their side, however the youngsters at Slimbridge will play without fear.
Fairford Town Reserves vs Whitecroft
The second of the two ties which sees a Reserves side against a GNSL side, but compared to Slimbridge, Fairford Town Reserves have more experience within their ranks and will fancy their chances this weekend.
Whitecroft have saved their best performances for the County Cup so far, including a hard fought 1-0 win over Charlton Rovers in the First Round. They will go into the game believing they can get a result at Cinder Lane and if they play to their potential will match their hosts.
Both sides have a great chance of getting through to the Semi Finals here and is one of the closest games to call this weekend.
Dursley Town vs Brockworth Albion
This game has the potential to be tie of the round as Brockworth look to make it a hattrick of wins following their 6-1 drubbing at Cheltenham Civil Service back in the middle of December, whilst Dursley have only lost once in their last 8 games.
The two sides met earlier this season at the same stage of the Reg Davis Cup, with Brockworth running out winners on penalties following a 1-1 draw. It is likely to be another tie with both sides matching each other, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it went all the way again.
Brockworth are the holders of the GFA Senior Amateur (North) Cup and know that a win sees them with a great chance to retain their title. Ahead of Saturday’s game Manager Mark Mulraney gave us his thoughts about the cup run and Saturday’s tie.
“It’s been a bit of a strange cup run for us this season as we’ve had a bye in the first two rounds then a home walkover. The whole season has been stop/start so to get a result in the last round against a good Berkeley side was fantastic. It was the first time all season we were able to field our strongest side!
If we had the same players as we had last season then there would be a bit of pressure on us to retain the cup, but as we’ve spoken about on Severn Sport this term, we’ve struggled to field a competitive side for a number of games – but as it stands there is no pressure at all. It is actually quite nice to go into a game as underdogs.
Dursley have been a bit hit and miss like us so I am not really sure what to expect. All I can go from is when we met them earlier in the season and it was a cracking end-to-end game. I think both teams will go all out to win the tie as it looks like it is the only silverware available for both of us – so it makes for an exciting game!” Mulraney said.
All four ties take place on Saturday 15 January, kick offs 14:00.