FA TROPHY SECOND ROUND PROPER
Chorley VS FC United Of Manchester
Grimsby Town VS Gateshead
Stockport County VS Wrexham
FC Halifax Town VS Alfreton Town
North Ferriby United VS Hyde
AFC Fylde VS AFC Telford United
Kidderminster Harriers VS Altrincham
Wealdstone VS Bath City
Ebbsfleet United VS Forest Green Rovers
Havant & Waterlooville VS Dover Athletic
Maidenhead United VS Farnborough
Gosport Borough VS Braintree Town
Oxford City VS Woking
Hemel Hempstead Town VS Concord Rangers
Torquay United VS Bromley
Burgess Hill Town VS Dartford
The FA Trophy enters the nitty gritty stage as we head into the 2nd round and the last 32, and although not regionalised according to the FA, there does seem to be a North/South divide in the pairings for this weekends ties.
FC United of Manchester are the lowest ranked team left in the Northern section and they face a trip to rivals from last seasons EvoStik title race, Chorley FC. Many will remember the exciting race for promotion as Chorley edged out FC United, who then went on to miss out in the play-offs. The two league games between the sides last season provided the fans, well certainly the neutrals, with two of the most exciting games in the league. FC United kept their promotion hopes alive with a win at Victory Park in March thanks to a Tom Greaves goal in injury time. Then in April, the two teams shared the spoils in a thrilling 2-2 draw in front of the biggest NPL crowd of the season when 4152 packed into Gigg Lane to see FC United come from two goals down with late strikes from Charlie Raglan and again that man Tom Greaves.
Stockport County host Wrexham, and the Welsh side will be looking to put the disappointment of 3 late goals by Stoke City in the FA Cup last weekend, despite taking the lead with around 10 minutes to go, very much behind them. Stockport will be hoping that they can put on a similar performance like last time they faced Conference Premier opposition when they themselves went down 4-2 in the FA Cup against Chester a month or two ago. Fighting back from 2-0 down The Hatters pegged Chester level before succumbing to two late Chester goals when truth be told County tired and the fitness showed.
Conference North leaders AFC Fylde face last seasons Conference North champions AFC Telford at Kellemergh Park. Fylde have been in imperious form this season and lead the way by 5 points from Barrow with the luxury of having a game in hand too. Both Chorley and Fylde were promoted last season and are very much holding their own with Chorley too in play-off contention at the turn of the year. Telford have struggled following promotion this season and look set to plummet straight back down, currently sitting 11 points from safety.
Hyde FC travel to North Ferriby and 2 weeks ago it would have had routine home win written all over it. However The Tigers have had a change of manager recently and legendary manager Gary Lowe returns to Ewen Fields with the unenviable task of keeping them up. He got off to not a bad start last weekend as Hyde managed a point at home to high flying Barrow coming from 4-2 down to secure a 4-4 draw. We won’t mention the fact that Hyde actually took a 2-0 lead though. Ferriby have been a bit mix match this season and after reaching the play-offs last season you’d have expected better. However, they’re still handily placed in 9th position and only a few points of the play-offs themselves.
A couple of all Conference ties sees Grimsby host Gateshead who will most certainly be looking to avoid a cup defeat like last week where they went down 7-0 in the FA Cup to Premier League side West Brom. FC Halifax are set to host Alfreton Town and Altrincham travel to Kidderminster Harriers.
I’m not going to pretend to know much about the teams from the southern region but there’s a few crackers lined up. Ebbsfleet host Forest Green and last years runners up Gosport host Braintree Town. Although I will give a mention to Ryman League side Burgess Hill Town who are currently 24 games unbeaten and will fancy their chances of an upset as they host Dartford.