Hereford take on Redbridge at Edgar Street in the second round of the FA Trophy tomorrow. The discounted admittance prices on offer surely make this tie one not to miss. Especially as England face Malta tonight and there are no Premier League or Championship matches taking place either!
Sometimes statistics can be misleading. At face value, a manager who enjoys the support of an assistant and seven coaches would seemingly be at a significant club. Similarly, an outfit which could boast a 45% increase in attendances are obviously going places? Well, they literally are, with a Trophy date 182 miles from their Essex home, but in practical terms when your average attendances are increasing from a mere 48 to 70, local rivals need not quake in their boots.
Redbridge used to be known as Ford United, a club founded by a merger between two others, one of which was the Ford factory works team. They are based in Barkingside, whatever one of those may be. They have briefly been a National League South outfit, but far more often play in Step 4, a status they regained this summer after 7 years ratting around the Step 5 Essex Senior League. A single play-off game got them over the line.
Ominously they share a League table with Heybridge Swifts, who of course ran all over our makeshift team in the FA Trophy last season. But Swifts are a far bigger club, thanks to their cocktail bar. Our Trophy visitors have the smallest attendances in the Division although hold a credible mid-table position. Their boardroom is as skinny as their turnstiles clicks with electrical contractor Alfie Dady being both the owner and sole director since April this year. That should save on the hospitality in our boardroom.
Like Curzon, there is every chance the Motormen will bring more players than fans to the Street. They have a 28-man squad and no doubt all their injuries will clear up before the big game. This is only the second time Redbridge FC have ever reached the Trophy Second Round Proper, but we must note they’ve battled through four rounds to earn this tie. They rode their luck a little along the way, needing penalties to overcome the appropriately-named Badshot Lea. On the road, it’s worth noting they have yet to win a League game away, although have drawn a few times. You can fairly assume the players are not paid so some may not fancy their more long-distance treks or would rather work an extra work shift to help pay a mortgage.
Oh dear. Their squad is packed with hard to pronounce names. Matt Healey may need a night in to get his tongue around them all. As an example, the current joint top scorer (with James Barlow) is Solomon Ogunwomoju with 5 goals. Let’s hope that Oscar Shelvey-Negus is at least on the bench so that everyone can admire his spectacular hair. Further information on the players is very limited as you might expect in Step 4.
If you genuinely wanted to handpick the lowest rank opponents for the Round, you’d be hard pressed to look beyond Redbridge FC. No doubt our Gaffer will treat them with respect but at the same time, you wonder whether in a month loaded with games, whether one or two of our battle-hardened-with-local-step-5-clubs U18’s might feature.
No replays in the Trophy so a penalty shootout will settle a drawn match.
Make sure you are at the Street for this one. Redbridge FA Trophy (ticketco.events)