At this stage of the tournament there are just two games separating any of the 80 teams involved from a tie against a football league club, a big payday and the chance of a famous giantkilling for some of the smaller clubs still involved.
In the Road To Wembley game Tadcaster Albion fell to a 2-0 defeat against Boston United thanks to second half goals from Mark Jones and Sean Newsham after a hard fought game that saw the Northern Counties East League team bow out and Boston take their place on the as the team to follow in this years cup.
The battle between the two phoenix clubs of FC Chester and FC Halifax, both formed when the original clubs went out of business, drew the biggest crowd of the round with some 2613 people to see the first game finish 1-1. Halifax won the replay 3-1 thanks to some controversial decisions going against Chester. There was a red card, a disallowed goal and the Shaymen’s third goal being allowed to stand after what Chester boss Neil Young said was a foul in the build up to the goal.
In the other games that I was following, Bradford Park Avenue saw off Carlton Town 3-1, in front of just 151 people, the smallest crowd of the round. Harrogate Town beat Frickley Athletic 3-2, while Cambridge City saw off Billeracy 4-2 in a replay after the first game ended 1-1. Blackfield & Langley emerged victorious after a 3-1 win away at Sholing, and former giantikillers AFC Totton saw themselves safely through after beating Merthyr Town 3-2.
The draw for the Fourth Qualifying Round was made and saw the introduction of the Blue Square Bet Premier clubs, and with eight all BSBP ties, there are sure to be a lot of clubs from lower down the pyramid getting an opportunity for that big First Round tie. Here are the pick of ties for me:
Boston United vs Altrincham
Lincoln City vs FC Halifax
FC United of Manchester vs Hereford United
Bradford Park Avenue vs Osset Albion
Hyde United vs Harrogate Town
Hastings United vs Blackfield & Langley
AFC Totton vs Cambridge City
Yate Town vs Newport County
Wrexham vs Southport
Luton Town vs Cambridge United
Grimsby Town vs Kidderminster Harriers
Forest Green Rovers vs Dartford
Barrow AFC vs Tamworth
AFC Telford vs Nuneaton Town
Macclesfield Town vs Marine
Workington AFC vs Mansfield Town
Stockport County vs Stalybridge Celtic
Woking vs Ebbsfleet United
Braintree vs Lowestoft Town
Alfreton Town vs Gateshead