Southbound in the FA Cup

Simon Wright shares all the essential information about our FA Cup hosts Lymington Town.

It’s a new ground for most fans, it’s the FA Cup, anyone can attend, and it’s potentially winnable. All the more reason to be positive about our Second Qualifying Round draw. Dare I add that Hereford FC are unbeaten in away cup ties this year. (Wembley is obviously neutral).

For Lymington, its nose bleed time. After well over a century of existence, the Linnets were promoted on points per game into Step 4. A big step forward after a very long stretch in the Step 5 Wessex League. The Linnets are part of the Southern Football League Division One South, an unfamiliar title for a league with familiar clubs like Evesham, Slimbridge, the Mangos and Barnstaple.

The newbies got off to an OK start with 4 points from 4 games.Their only League win was at Barnstaple. That victory was repeated in the FA Cup on Saturday which led to the departure of the home club manager. This may be misleading because Barnstaple are having another bleak season. Only COVID kept them in Step 4.

There are two familiar names in the Linnets ranks. Remember Craig Stanley? He lives and works in Southampton so was an obvious move for him. But Craig is now 38 and as Rob Purdie will testify, playing at that age is hard. Also look out for Craig McAllister.  He’s had 20 clubs and was with Gosport when we played them in Step 3. Even back then, he was a veteran striker. The six-foot forward is now a startling 41.  Both Craigs have already scored for Lymington this season.

Lymington have lost all their home games. Admittedly, they’ve only played one to date, a local derby v AFC Totton. Their first ever Southern League game attracted 231 spectators, barely a 10th of the ground capacity so admission will not be a problem. Standard pricing is cheap at £9 for adults, £5 for concessions.

If you’re not familiar with the town, it’s in the New Forest midway between Southampton and Bournemouth. Lymington is a Georgian town with 15,000 inhabitants and boasts two beaches. In theory, an overnight stay would be rewarding if there are any rooms left. A quick check on bookings.com suggested otherwise. From Hereford its 134 miles, so a mid-range away trip. Add on another 40 miles for the Black Country Bulls who aren’t used to extra miles these days. Or going Southbound. I expect to see every Hampshire-based bull present and correct without any excuses. Your club needs you.Not impossible for London Bulls either?

For our squad, who are mainly based in Birmingham or the Black Country, South Hampshire is a lot of travelling. Lymington will be Hampshire’s answer to Blyth. Not ideal, an overnighter would be better. Both finances and room availability in staycation Britain will probably force travel on the day.

See you there?

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