Preview by Andrew Warshaw
It’s back to FA Cup action tomorrow, Saturday, as we visit fellow Step 3 opponents Halesowen for the toughest of all challenges, on paper at least, in the third qualifying round.
The draw could hardly have been less kind with the Yeltz, promoted at the end of last season, unbeaten at home and flying high in the Southern League Premier Division Central.
Amid jubilant scenes, Halesowen gained promotion in a nail-biting playoff last spring when they beat Spalding United with a last-gasp stoppage time equaliser and then an extra time winner.
They have carried that form into this season despite losing their unbeaten away record last time out when they went down 3-1 at Bromsgrove Sporting in midweek.
Nevertheless their home record is formidable and they sit firmly in third with 19 points from their opening 10 games having scored 18 league goals and conceded nine.
In the FA Cup so far, they trounced Step 5 Rugby Borough 7-0, followed by a 5-2 win over fellow Southern League Premier Division Central side Alvechurch.
Town boss Gavin Macpherson has put the players through their paces ahead of what promises to be a exciting afternoon and is fully aware of the danger Halesowen pose.
Indeed ,with Chesham United away the following Saturday in the FA Trophy — a repeat of last season’s fixture when we were well beaten — we will need to be seriously on our game to advance in both or either competition.
There is, of course, the small matter of healthy prize at stake tomorrow plus a share of the takings on the day with a four-figure crowd anticipated.
“It’s a massively difficult game,” Gavin conceded. “They like to move you around and create overloads. Their front three are dangerous and they have two quick wingers but we’ve been working on how to counter them.”
“All over the pitch they’re a good side. We’ll treat it as a one-off shootout and try and win the game but if we end up getting them back to our place in a replay, it won’t be a bad day at the office. The fact is we are underdogs.”
“The draws haven’t been exactly kind and this Saturday and next we are having to play two of the most in-form teams near the top of their respective leagues. But we don’t fear anybody and will relish both tasks. If we give it our best and are not good enough, so be it.”