2011/12 FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying

With the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup comes the introduction of the Blue Square Premier teams, and the winners can hope to face a club from League One or Two in the First Round proper.

The promise of a boost in attendance and a prize of £12,500 for the winning team is also a big deal for a lot of the teams. Redbridge coach Jody Brown commented on www.thefa.com that:

It can pay our expenses for a year, go towards the ground and budget for our facilities, like the Astroturf pitch we train on twice a week. It allows us to do things more professionally and means we bring in more revenue than we would usually which can help the club grow.

This shows that even the earlier rounds are often completely ignored by most of the media, even just one win in the cup can secure the long term future for some of the clubs further down the football pyramid.

The tie of the round saw Blue Square Premier leaders Wrexham face York City at the Racecourse Ground.  Wrexham took the lead early in the second half from a Nathaniel Knight – Percival header. Patrick McLaughlin responded with a fine free kick newly crowned player manager Andy Morrell scored a late winner with a deflected shot as it finished up 2-1.  Another all BSP tie ended in a stalemate as Mansfield Town drew 1-1with Fleetwood Town. The Stag’s Ross Dyer cancelled out Jamie Milligan’s first half free kick that put Fleetwood ahead. Luton Town faced an early shock before eventually running out comprehensive winners against Isthmian Premier League Hendon. Carl McCluskey put the visitors ahead before three quick goals from Aaron O Connor, James Dance and Tommy Wright put Luton in a comfortable position at half time. Another goal from O’ Connor and a fifth from Stuart Fleetwood secured a 5-1 win for the Hatters.

The round’s third all BSP tie saw a depleted Hayes & Yeading team comprehensively beaten 6-2 by Cambridge United. Ashley Crew proved to be the driving force behind the U’s, scoring twice adding to goals from Luke Berry, Harrison Dunk, Jordan Patrick and Ryan Charles after Ryan Crockford had given the hosts a shock lead. Louie Soares also scored a consolation late in the game. Southport beat a struggling Stockport County after a single goal from Andy Owens in the third minute was enough to see off the Hatters at Haig Avenue.

Newport earned a good 2-1 win at home to Braintree Town at the Newport Stadium. Kerry Morgan and Dave Gilroy put Newport two up at half time, before George Purcell gave the visitors a chance, but was alas not enough.  An entertaining first half at The Impact Arena saw four goals in the first 25 minutes as Lincoln began life without Steve Tilson in fine style. Two goals in three minutes from Sam Smith had the Imps in a strong position, before Paul Clayton threatened to bring Alfreton back into the game. A Gavin McCallum goal restored the two-goal lead and saw Lincoln into the first round.

Hebburn finally bowed out of the competition as the lowest ranked team left in the competition after Gateshead scored three second half goals through a Jon Shaw brace and Nathan Fisher to see off the Northern league Division Two side.  Barrow earned their place in the first round draw after suffering a setback at Wincham Park against northern Premier League team Witton Albion. Alex Titchiner gave the hosts a shock lead early in the second half before a four-goal haul from Barrow’s man of the moment Adam Boyes saw the Bluebirds through 4-1.  Both Kidderminster and Corby lived to fight another day as they fought out a 0-0 draw. Southern League Premier side Arlesey Town shocked BSP Forest green Rovers in a 2-1 win after going behind to a Jared Hodgkiss goal. Chris Dillon and Dave Deeney scored in the last five minutes to give the current Zamaretto Division One Central League champions secured a famous win.

Darlington and Hinckley will go to a replay after drawing 1-1 at the Northern Echo Arena. Ryan Bowman put Darlington ahead but Sam Belcher brought the Blue Square North team back into the game and will get a second chance to try and make the first round. Grimsby had no such troubles against lower league opposition, winning 5-0 at hoe to Ashington. Goals from Rob Duffy, Liam Hearn (2), Robert Eagle and Dayle Southwell ensured the Mariners safe progress. Kings Lynn fought bravely against Tamworth but lost 2-1 despite heavy pressure towards the end of the game. Jamie Thurlbourne put the United Counties Premier team ahead but goals from Kyle Patterson and Kieran St Amie were just enough to see the Lambs through. There was another shock at Oakside where Isthmian Division One side Redbridge beat their Ebbsfleet United 2-0 as Ryan Murray and Joe Gardener became local heroes with the goals to see Redbridge into the first round proper. A second half goal from Andy Gallinagh was just enough to see BSP basement club Bath City through after a tough away tie against Dover Athletic. Telford eased past Gainsborough in a 5-0 win at the New Bucks Head Stadium. Courtney Pitt and Chris Sharp both hit two and Shane Killock also got on the score sheet in the victory.  Southend Manor scared Kettering early on but couldn’t finish the job at Rockingham Road. Leon McKenzie put the Poppies ahead but Max Kent equalized for the Essex Senior League team. Kettering dominated the second half and ran out comfortable winners 3-1 in the end with a brace from substitute Jean-Paul Marna.

The draw for the First Round Proper was made on the Sunday and threw up a few interesting ties.

The tie of the round from a non-league perspective was FC Halifax Town entertaining League One leaders Charlton Athletic. Redbridge are now the lowest ranked team still in the cup and have a chance to progress with a good first round draw at home to Oxford City. Arlesey Town’s reward for their victory was an away tie at Blue Square South Salisbury City. Luton face Northampton Town and Barrow face Rotherham in ties that are winnable for the non-league hosts. There are eight all non-league ties, so whatever happens on the weekend of the 12th and 13th November, there will be a healthy collection of non-league survivors in the Second Round.

The Author

Stephen Fallows

Barrow AFC fan, long since joined the ranks of the disenchanted after becoming disillusioned with the Premier League juggernaut, although keeping a keen eye on all things football and like every football fan, has an opinion on whats going on.

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