It’s for moments like tomorrow’s FA Cup first qualifying round clash against high-flying Grays Athletic that I first became involved in grassroots football.
High flying Grays play two divisions above us and currently sit top of the Ryman Isthmian Premier League unbeaten in eight games, with six wins and two draws so far this season.
They come into the match following an impressive 1-2 away league win against title rivals Leiston United having inflicted the only defeat of the season so far on their Suffolk rivals.
On paper, the form book would suggest they should have little trouble in brushing us aside and negotiating their way into the next round
We, however, would respectfully beg to differ. This, as we all know, is the wonderful ‘lottery’ that is the FA Cup; a one-off, stand alone game, and football constantly reminds us that it is played on grass, not on paper.
So far this season the better the opposition we face, the better we seem to play. As Cristian Colás our coach mentioned, if Grays are indeed a better side than us, then they are going to have to prove it tomorrow, because we will not be going there just to make up the numbers.
This is the joint furthest the club has ever been in the FA Cup and for our big day we will be travelling to the match in a players and supporters coach. It would be wonderful, not least from a financial point of view, to pull off a major surprise against our more illustrious rivals.
In the league, the quality of our football is drawing admiring comments from every club we face but we are struggling to turn superiority on the pitch into points and are giving away silly goals. That coupled with a reluctance to put away more of the numerous opportunities we are creating is the worst possible combination and we need, above all, to be strong in both boxes.
I have seen nothing to make me doubt that we will turn things around, but the cup is a welcome diversion from league pressures.
We are still looking for under 16 players to help strengthen out young side – contact Fran, our academy chief on firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly if you are former experienced goalkeeper that would like to try his hand at coaching we would be delighted to hear from you.