Up Next: FA Trophy v FC United of Manchester

You can have too much of a good thing…  pleasing to see FC United being so well supported the other Saturday.  They were the most fanzine friendly visitors this term to their credit yet I didn’t want to see the Mancs back at Edgar Street again quite so soon in the Trophy Third Qualifying Round. 

Playing Cup games against a club in your own Division is always a bit of a downer.  I would have preferred opposition we could beat. Admittedly, that’s a bit of a challenge right now.  But could be worse I suppose – FCUM have far more reason to curse with the same 4-hour coach journey. And Bradford – they’ve already lost to Altrincham in the League and the FA Cup this season, now they have them in the Trophy as well.

The winners of our Cup game will play the Next Round on Dec 15 and the losers will have a day off. If ourselves or York get through two rounds, then our League game in York in January will be postponed. That’s a near 400 mile round trip midweek – not a happy prospect.

Our return visitors haven’t won a Trophy game since 2015. In season 2014-15, they got through six rounds before losing 1-0 to Torquay in the Quarter-Final. Since then they’ve gone out first time every time.  That may say something about the clubs’ priorities. They went out to Marine FC last season.

As usual, we don’t want a replay.  Not that what we say will make any difference. No-one wanted a replay against Truro and we got one.  Those who did go were rewarded with an astonishing match. Probably the only contender for Game of the Season so far.  Has anyone spotted since that replay, the White Tigers have improved dramatically. They are out of the bottom three and above Gloucester now.  But anyway, we don’t want a replay in Manchester.  Its near enough a 300-mile round trip from the Shire.  Admittedly, easier from the Black Country and yes. I would go if pushed but I’d rather not.

The Trophy is Non-Leagues answer to the Johnstone Paints trophy or whatever its called this year. A trophy which only comes alive in the later stages. In the early rounds, a lot of clubs get out as early as possible. They simply have other priorities and having a blank Saturday close to Christmas is ideal for club festivities. But for us, we need to win a game, any game, and the £5,000 prize money will be needed to help plug holes in our budget.

Looking back at the FC League game … I know defeats tend to blur into each other but do try to recall that fixture.  That was the 3 goals in 4 minutes defeat.  A couple of the visiting players caught my eye that afternoon so I thought I’d look them up.

The overlapping full back, their number 2, Joel Senior was the FC Players Player of the season last term. Joel has about 60 FC appearances which makes him their third most senior player. A Senior Senior if you like.  Joel’s a City fan. Surprised that’s allowed. Just 19 and home grown.

Eliot Simoes is their speedy number 7 or to give him his full title Elliot Jorge Simoes Inacio He is also a homegrown player or as homegrown as a Portuguese national can be. He broke into the first team at the end of last season.  Has two goals to his name this term and one sending off at Witton in the FA Cup. Took a bit of doing, he was booked in the 90th minute for dissent with the game already lost and then was booked again two minutes later for kicking the ball away.  That’s pretty stupid but in his defence, Eliot is only 18.   He was Man of the Match in their home League defeat by Telford at the weekend – seems the two goalkeepers were competing as to whom could make the worst mistake.  Losing to Telford was their first defeat in 6.

FC understandably are rather pleased with their new manager Neil Reynolds. The club won more away games in his first month than in the whole of last season.  The FC board waited what seemed like a dangerously long time to approach their man. Refused to take No for an answer and were willing to pay compensation. Perhaps a lesson there in how things are done in our Division.  With a new manager bounce and homegrown players looking the part, not a bad time to support FC. Even though they haven’t won a home game all season, they had an attendance of 2200 v Telford in their last match, 400 above average.

Great to see us score two goals from open play against Darlington last Saturday, and we welcome new signing James Wesolowski into the fold. So, come on you Bulls…it’s about time we won!

Simon Wright

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