This weekend sees a number of our NWCFL Clubs in action in the Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round with a total off fifteen clubs involved across thirteen games. There is a already one of our sides through to the next round as Litherland REMYCA have progressed, this is due to the sad circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of Droylesden from this seasons competition.
There are a number of mouth-watering ties to look at but we will start with TV stars Squires Gate, who face a fascinating trip to Michael Clegg's Ashton United side. Squires Gate have looked impressive in pre-season and demolished Maine Road in the Extra Preliminary Round.
In an all-Premier Division tie, Congleton host Skelmersdale United in a first FA Cup meeting between these two sides in forty Years. These Two were in the Cheshire League and Lancashire Combination the last time they faced up to each other for the cup. Skem beat Penistone Church by the odd goal in five in the last round to reach this stage whilst Congleton needed penalties to see off Burscough to progress.
Another side who needed penalties to reach this stage were Wythenshawe Amateurs who face a first-ever meeting with Trafford FC. The Ammies from Division One South fought out a close tie with their Division One North Counterparts, Shelley to progress. On the subject of first-ever meetings, Longridge Town's reward for seeing off Winsford United 2-1 in the Extra Preliminary Round is a trip to former NWCFL side Widnes who have gone from strength to strength since being promoted to the Northern Premier League in 2017-18.
Whitchurch Alport travel to Hellenic League Premier Division side, Westfield, having seen off Haughmond in the last round. Goals from Alex Hughes, Dylan Bath and Lewis Jarman saw The Watchmakers through in this, their fourth appearance in the FA Cup.
Hanley Town welcome Midland League Premier Division side Gresley Rovers to Potteries Park in the clubs sixth appearance in the competition whilst Barnoldswick Town have the pleasure of travelling to Marine. Barlick have only been past this round once in their last ten appearances in this competition whilst their opposition havent been knocked out before the First Qualifying Round since 1959/60!
Another great looking tie is Northwich Victoria, who have a good heritage in the FA Cup who host Charnock Richard, the latter looking to go go further than their first Qualifying Round progression last season which has been their best FA Cup run to date in their three campaigns. People with BT Sport may well recall seeing their early progress documented as part of the BT Sport FA Cup Round Up Documentary that was screened in mid-August.
Warrington Rylands have big plans for this season and made a massive statement in comprehensively beating last seasons Premier Division form side 1874 Northwich 1-6 away, helped by a hat-trick from Ste Milne and brace from Andy Scarisbrick. Their reward for that eye-catching win was a home tie against Northern Premier League D1 West side, Clitheroe. It's friends re-united at the Cobbydale Construction Stadium when Bootle travel to face a rather familiar name in Silsden. The Cobbydalers are no strangers to the NWCFL of course and these sides will likely still be familiar with each other. Bootle made their way past a tricky looking tie at Avro, winning that 2-1 to put them through to this stage.
Runcorn Town host Northern Premier League Division One West side Brighouse Town looking to match the result these sids had nine years ago when these two clubs met at the same stage. The Weston side dominating procedings in a 4-1 home win that day, with James McShane scoring twice and Scott Burton and Emini Adegbenro grabbing one each. Looking ahead to the tie, Runcorn Town Manager Paul McManus spoke with us about the game. "We played Radcliffe last season and played exceptionally well to progress after a replay, and am looking for the same result which is progression. This season its finished on the day and as I’ve said to our boys, when we are on top of our game I expect us to give anybody a game and that’s in our league and the league above too as that’s where we are aiming towards.
St Helens Town are a different prospect this season with key additions on and off the park. Their reward for a feisty 5-4 home win on penalties over Cammell Laird 1907 was an away trip to NPL D1 side Mossley. Speaking about what has been a busy time at the club, Manager, Dave Platt spoke with us this week and stated "With the league season getting near we’re really happy with how the squad is coming together, its a great group of lads, very welcoming to the new faces and all wanting to work hard to push us on. We’ve worked on improving on improving our ball retention and composure and the type of player we’ve added to the squad helps with that massively."
"It all came together well for the FA Cup game against Cammell Lairds and watching the video back the amount of possession we enjoyed and chances we created was pleasing to see. We obviously need to go that next step and convert more of those chances but its early days yet and we’ll keep working on that. The sense of occasion around a game like that was an amazing thing to be involved in, with the press attention, a sell out crowd and a couple of hundred watching on the live stream. I even had a friend in Australia watching so we’ve gone international!"
"Mossley are up next and we watched them in the week and can see they are a good side who work hard on the press and move the ball quickly, but these are the types of challenges to relish not shy away from."
Ramsbottom is the destination for Premier Division side, Irlam whom have progressed past this stage of the competition in the last two consecutive campaigns. They reached this round courtesy of an impressive 2-1 home win over NCEL side Liversedge, Connor Martin and Oscar Campbell the goalscorers that day.
So there you have it, all ties previewed and may we take this opportunity to wish all of our clubs the best of luck as they continue their FA Cup Journey. If you are travelling to a game this weekend, please ensure that you follow clubs advice regarding social distancing and stay safe.