Preview by Andrew Warshaw
The anticipation and excitement is mounting. This Saturday Enfield Town attempt to make history by reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup, the world’s oldest and most prestigious domestic knockout competition.
For the first time since we were seconds away from beating National League Maidstone in the fourth qualifying round in 2017 before losing the replay at home, Town – who suffered the same fate at Chesham in 2015/16 — go to Cray Valley PM hoping to make it third time lucky.
Whilst this presents a glorious opportunity having avoided all the big boys and former league clubs in the draw, Step 4 Cray, who play in the Isthmian League south-east division, will be feeling the same as us and have been on terrific form.
On paper, it’s another of those ties that has banana skin written all over it. We seem to get drawn against unbeaten sides and Eltham-based Cray Valley PM are another of them, having scored a staggering number of goals this season and knocked out Carshalton – who we know all about – in the previous round after a replay, proving how dangerous they can be.
In the league, because of several cup replays, Cray lie in eighth place but have only played four games, roughly half that of their rivals, and have bags of experience within their ranks.
Plus they have already achieved something we haven’t – tasting the euphoria of the FA Cup first round proper three years ago when they narrowly lost at Havant and Waterlooville having fought back from two goals to win at National League Maidenhead in the fourth qualifying round.
After narrowly missing out on a play-off spot at the back end of last season, a new era has started with a complete managerial change following the appointment of Steve McKimm.
Gavin Macpherson says there is no way our players will be complacent, especially following the heartbreaking Trophy defeat at Chesham last Saturday, and is hoping for a repeat of our fantastic victory at high-flying Halesowen in the previous round.
“To get through this would be a game-changer for us,” said Gavin. “I’ve been a great lover of the competition since I was a child. At our level, it’s like making the final to get to the first round.”
“Make no mistake, Cray Valley PM are an extremely difficult side, pacey and combative, plus we are away. They may be a Step 4 team but they are Step 3 in respect of their players. I want our supporters to have the experience of the first round and for the club to enjoy generating National media interest, not least because of our fan-owned ethos.”
VENUE:- THE ARTIC STADIUM, BADGERS SPORTS, MIDDLE PARK AVENUE, ELTHAM, LONDON, SE9 5HP
Please be aware the ground is situated within the new ULEZ zone so certain vehicles could be subject to charge.
Nearest train station: Eltham approx 20 minutes walk to the ground.
ADMISSION PRICES : – PAY BY CASH OR CARD AT THE TURNSTILE
ADULTS – £10, CONCESSIONS (+65 & Students, with ID) – £6, CHILDREN 11-17 £2. CHILDREN U11 Free
If the scores are level after normal time there will be a replay on Tuesday 17th October