FA Cup 1st Round Ties to Watch Out For This Weekend

November 8, 2013 in FA and Carling Cup, League 1, Non-League by Louis Baxter

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Small Fish v Big Fish

Shortwood United v Port Vale, Monday 7:45 PM

Shortwood are the lowest ranking club in the 1st round of the oldest of the old competitions; the Gloucestershire club are currently residing in the seventh tier of English football and in the biggest fixture of their existence they’ll be hosting Port Vale, currently mid-table in League One. With promotions between them it’s unlikely to be much of a contest, but these kind of ties are what the 1st round of the FA Cup are about. In a way this home tie against Port Vale is Shortwood’s FA Cup final, and playing the fixture at home will give them more of a chance of keeping it holy.

Prediction: Shortwood United 0-4 Port Vale

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Boreham Wood vs Carlisle, Saturday 3 PM

Boreham Wood, 19th in the Conference South, have a tasty home draw against Carlisle, who like Port Vale are hovering somewhere in the mid-table of league one. Boreham Wood’s league form is nothing to write home about, and based on their start will most likely have a relegation battle on their hands this season, so in a way a relatively high profile cup tie might be exactly what they need to get their season started. Carlisle aren’t the most fearsome of League One teams and like Shortwood, they’ve got the home advantage. Maybe? Nah, Boreham are happy to even be here.

Prediction: Boreham Wood 1-3 Carlisle

Brentford Vs Staines Town, Saturday 3PM

Managed by former Wimbledon legend Dwight Gayle, even the most doe-eyed optimist couldn’t be that hopeful for Staines Town here. They face Brentford away, and Uwe Rosler’s team can rightly call themselves one of the best in this draw and without home advantage to temper Brentford’s football, this could get pretty brutal. Still, it’ll be a great day out for the fans of Staines, and a chance to take on a quality side. Best of luck I guess.

Prediction: Brentford 6-0 Staines Town

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St Albans City vs Mansfield, Saturday 3 PM

The southern League Premier division dwelling St Albans City are currently 11 games unbeaten. Do they have a chance against League Two side Mansfield, newly promoted and dwelling themselves in mid-table? Probably not, but for St Albans, there’s probably no better time to play this fixture than now and with home advantage on their side, who knows? Wouldn’t bet on it though.

Prediction: St Albans City 1-4 Mansfield

Bishop’s Stortford vs Northampton, Sunday 2 PM

Of the 5th tier and lower teams still breathing in the FA Cup draw facing league opposition, Bishop’s Stortford must feel they’ve got the best shot. A high flying 3rd in the conference south, they’ll play club in crisis Northampton Town,  bottom of League Two after a dreadful start and without a win in five games. There’s only 26 league places between these clubs as it stands, so that would be the equivalent of Arsenal facing, I don’t know, Blackburn, from the Championship. How did that game go last year? I forget.

Prediction: Bishop’s Stortford 1-0 Northampton (you heard me)

Possible Upsets

Stevenage v Portsmouth

It is the world we live in where technically Portsmouth are the underdogs here, against relatively ensconced in League One Stevenage. The club maimed by Harry Redknapp began the season favourites to win League Two, a prediction born out by overly romantic pundits and David Conn enthusiasts rather than common sense perhaps, as they sit 16th. But Pompey have the biggest fanbase in the FA Cup 1st round, and despite being away, could well provide the impetus for them to go on something resembling a cup run. Stevenage aren’t stellar opposition, poor early season indicating a relegation battle could be on the cards, so Portsmouth can fancy their chances.

Prediction: Stevenage 2-2 Portsmouth

Braintree vs Newport County, Saturday 3 PM

Braintree, AKA the best named club in English football, are having a great season in the Conference. On the fringes of the play-offs and with only 1 defeat in their last nine games, they can feel sufficiently psyched that they can pull off the old Conference beats League Two upset. Their opponents are Newport County, newly promoted after a 20 plus year exodus in non-league football after going bust in the late 80′s, who themselves are having a great start to League Two, already racking up 23 points and play-off contention looking more likely than relegation, could nonetheless find themselves coming unstuck in this game. Fresh off a 4-1 pounding by league leaders Fleetwood, they could be vulnerable, and Braintree’s home advantage could come into play.

Prediction: Braintree 2-1 Newport

Wimbledon vs Coventry, Tonight 7:45 PM

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Wimbledon’s dramatic last minute survival at the end of last year’s League Two season spurred them on to start this season with great confidence, that saw them mixing it with those at the top of the league for a brief moment. Their form has dipped dramatically in recent weeks however, with only 1 win in their last 7 games. Coventry meanwhile, in my opinion deserve all the praise in the world for keeping on the pitch form excellent these last couple of seasons, as off the field crisis threatened to consume them. They come into this game with 5 wins out of 6 and in flying form, but something tells me this could be the game where logic is thrown out the window and the underdogs win just because they do. There’s always one of those games, and the Friday night for TV kick off suggests I’m not the only one to hold that opinion.

Prediction: Wimbledon 2-0 Coventry

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