Saturday sees The 2nd Round Proper of The FA Trophy, non-league’s premier cup competition, with places in the last 16 available alongside £7,000 in prize money…
Ebbsfleet Utd vs Warrington Town @15:00
Ebbsfleet got back on the National League winning trail on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory at Maidstone, their first in four. This sees The Fleet in 10th, with Stonebridge Road witnessing seven wins, five draws and three losses in the division. The hosts beat fellow National League side Eastleigh to get here. Visitors Warrington arrive 3rd in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier having only lost three away League games, with six wins and three draws. They have had to come through four rounds to get this far including a victory over National League North Tamworth.
Kidderminster Harriers vs Stockport County @15:00
An all National League North battle here as 6th placed Harriers take on 9th placed Stockport. Kidderminster knocked holders York City out in the last round as well as beating Chester in the FA Cup, so will arrive full of confidence, especially as they won 2-1 away at the visitors earlier in the season. The hosts are unbeaten in 14 League games and have only one home League loss, with seven wins and four draws. The Hatters also have an enviable record, losing just once in their last 11 matches, but only have three away League wins. Watch out for the visitor’s Jason Oswell in this one, he is the joint top scorer in the division with 19.
East Thurrock Utd vs Chester @15:00
East Thurrock are mid-table in National League South in their second season at that level. The Rocks have an indifferent home League record with four wins, three draws and five losses, but are the second highest scorers in the division with 45 in 24 games. However, they are also a little porous at the other end of the pitch, conceding 46, making them the fourth highest conceders. They did, however, keep out Aldershot in the last round, winning 4-0, but suffered the same fate away at Braintree Town on Saturday. Sam Higgins will be the man to watch for the hosts with 17 in the National League South this season, the division’s top scorer. Chester sit 21st in the National League, but are undefeated in three in the division including creditable results against Ebbsfleet and Fylde (the side they beat in the last round on penalties). Only bottom of the table Torquay have scored fewer League goals than their 25 in 28.
Bognor Regis Town vs Leyton Orient @15:00
One of two matches guaranteed to be settled on the day, Bognor host Orient while sitting 21st in National League South, with only two home League wins all season. The Rocks have conceded 44 in 25 League matches, scoring 29, and are seven without a League win. This all comes in a season that started so well, with a five game undefeated streak. Orient arrive 19th in the National League, three without a League win, a hiccup for a side revitalised under Justin Edinburgh. It is also three without a goal, but only two conceded in the last six in the League for a previously porous defence. The O’s have picked up only three away League wins, but have won one, drawn one and lost one away in the cups. They also have a raft of new signings, a couple of which may play at Nyewood Lane.
Brackley Town vs Barrow @15:00
Flying high in National League North, Brackley are 3rd, undefeated at home with eight wins and four draws. They have also conceded a division low 22 in 25 matches and are nine without loss in all competitions. They have also gone well in The Trophy, beating fellow high flyers Braintree and Salford City. They also beat Braintree in the FA Cup, but were humbled by Isthmian Premier Billericay. Barrow arrive 20th in the National League, and are four without a win in the division. They have, however, had more away League wins than at Holker Street (4 vs 3) and have had impressive draws with Tranmere and Wrexham recently. They have also experienced cup humiliation, losing to Shaw Lane away in the FA Cup.
Weston-Super-Mare vs Workington AFC @15:00
Weston are 9th in the National League South with six home League wins, one draw and four losses. They are on a four game winning streak in all competitions, but what cost will there be of losing influential winger Dayle Grubb to Forest Green? Workington are 4th in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier, and arrive in this round after beating Hartlepool. They have gone through four rounds to get this far, and were on a nine game unbeaten League run until defeat to Whitby last time out. However, Workington have only won three away League games all season.
Billericay Town vs Stourbridge @15:00
Two teams with great cup pedigree this season face off at the AGP Arena. Glenn Tamplin’s ‘Ricay are 2nd in the Isthmian Premier, five off table toppers Dulwich Hamlet with five games in hand. They have conceded only 17 in their 22 League fixtures, scoring a massive 57. They have also beaten Havant & Waterlooville and Hungerford of the National League South to get this far and made it to the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup, again beating Hungerford as well as high flying Brackley Town. Watch out for Jake Robinson who has scored 19 League goals in a prolific season in which Billericay have scored in 40 consecutive matches in all competitions. Stourbridge are 10th in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier, with seven away League wins and five losses. They have conceded 27 in 25 League games and have beaten National League North Leamington and Bradford PA in this competition as well as conquering Alfreton in the FA Cup before exiting to Macclesfield.
FC Halifax vs Maidenhead Utd @15:00
Halifax only made it through to this stage on Tuesday with victory over Macclesfield Town in their delayed first round clash. The Shaymen are four without a League win and sit 16th in the National League, only scoring two in their last four in the division, including a 0-0 draw with their opponents Maidenhead at York Road last time out. The same fixture in the League saw the hosts win 3-2 back in September, so Maidenhead will want to put that right, but arrive off the back of three without a League win, including a damaging 3-1 loss away to Solihull on New Year’s Day.
Maidstone Utd vs Heybridge Swifts @15:00
Maidstone are in terrible form. Their loss to Ebbsfleet on Tuesday extended their run without a League win to 10, with only six points taken. They have also only won three times at The Gallagher Stadium in the League, but can be positive for beating Torquay 4-0 in the last round during this torrid run, as well as overcoming Cheltenham in the FA Cup. Visitors Heybridge are the lowest ranked side still in the competition and have been on fire in the cups, beating Hampton & Richmond Borough (4th in National League South) in the last round of the Trophy to make it through five rounds of the competition so far, the same amount of rounds as in the FA Cup where they eventually lost out the Exeter City in the 1st Round Proper. Swifts haven’t done too bad in the Isthmian North either – despite being 15th they have played significantly fewer than the rest in the division and have scored 42 in 17.
Dover Athletic vs Marine @15:00
Dover are 6th in the National League, but are five without a League win, which has seen them fall from their previous lofty heights. They are tight at the back, only conceding 23 in 29 League matches, only one side has done better in the division. It is some task then for Evo-Stik Northern Premier Marine who are 21st in the division. They have conceded a sizeable 47 in 27 League games, but have found solace in the Trophy, where they have beaten National League North Chorley and FC United.
Gateshead vs Boreham Wood @15:00
Gateshead have struggled of late and are down in 18th in the National League, six without a win. They face a challenging task in 5th placed Wood, who are four undefeated in the League, with one loss in 17 in the division. However, The Heed can look to a 1-1 draw here in the League in September and a good FA Cup run which saw them reach the 2nd Round. Boreham Wood also reached that stage before similarly being knocked out by Football League opposition and picked up a shock against Blackpool in the First Round.
Wealdstone vs Hereford @15:00
Wealdstone will certainly have no excuse for not being well rested, having not been in action since New Year’s Day, but it is four without a League win for the side 13th in National League South. The Stones have won seven, drawn one and lost four at home in the League and have had contrasting fortunes in the two cups, beating 6th placed National League South side Chelmsford City in this competition, but losing to Isthmian Premier Burgess Hill in the FA Cup. Hereford are one of the headline makers in the cup competitions this season, having already seen off Dagenham and Redbridge and Oxford City in this competition, as well as Eastleigh and Telford as they reached the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Cup. The Bulls are 3rd in the Southern Premier, two points off top with three games in hand, unbeaten away from home in the League with eight wins and four draws, and have scored a division high 62 in 24 matches, conceding a League low 21.
Sutton Utd vs Hendon @15:00
The hosts are 3rd in the National League, but have been inconsistent of late. They have won six, drawn four and lost four at Gander Green Lane in the League and are due a cup run, after losing out to Cambridge Utd in the FA Cup 1st Round. Visitors Hendon are 5th in the Isthmian Premier, with six wins and six losses in their 12 away League games. They have scored a massive 57 in 25 League matches, conceding only 29 and beat National League South Bath City, plus three others, to get this far.
Blyth Spartans vs Bromley @15:00
Blyth are 5th in National League North, and have amazingly not had a single draw in their League campaign, winning seven and losing five at home. Their last 12 National League North matches are split down the middle with six wins and six losses, and expect to see a lot of action at both ends with 56 League goals scored in 24, conceding 42. Bromley are 9th in the National League after a run of two wins, two draws and two losses. They have scored a League high 46 in 29 matches and have won six, drawn four and lost four away in the division.
Spennymoor Town vs Solihull Moors @15:00
The second of the two games guaranteed to be settled on the day sees in form Spennymoor host Solihull. The hosts only made it through to this stage on Tuesday, finally getting their first round fixture with Gainsborough played, winning on penalties after the match ended 4-4 after extra time. They are 4th in National League North, winning three on the bounce and scoring 49 in 24 League matches, conceding a sizeable 38. Visitors Solihull have picked up of late and are now three undefeated in the National League, including a shock 0-0 draw with Macclesfield last time out. They also beat Tranmere in the last round, albeit in controversial circumstances, but will be concerned with only picking up three away League wins, taking 11 points of a possible 45. Moors have also only scored 26 in 29 League games, conceding 45 – only one side has conceded more.
St Albans City vs Harrogate Town @15:00
Hosts St Albans have won, drawn and lost in the last three in National League South, but that record looks better when you consider it has come against the sides ranked 6th and 7th. They are 8th in the division and have won six times at home in the League, drawing four and losing three. Visitors Harrogate are 2nd in National League North, and are the division’s top scorers with 59 in 25. They have eight away League wins from 13 and will be confident about going through to the last 16 after defeating Wrexham away in the last round.