Saturday, September 30, 2023

Football: Cup challenges for Thurrock sides

EAST Thurrock United and Tilbury will be in from the start of this season’s FA Cup, both playing in the extra preliminary round on Saturday, 5 August.

Isthmian North East Thurrock United have the benefit of a home draw against Essex Senior League Frenford, winners of last season’s Thurlow Nunn South division.

It will be the first time the Ilford-based visitors, who were formed in 1942, have played in the FA Cup. 

The winners will be at home to Maccabi London Lions of the Spartan South Midlands League or Barton Rovers of the Southern League Central Division One in the preliminary round on Saturday, 19 August.  

Tilbury will have to make a trip to play FC Romania who had a brief stay at Step Four in the Isthmian League but were switched to the Division One Central of the Southern League where they finished bottom last season and were relegated to the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League.

They play at Cheshunt’s Theobalds Lane.

Whoever wins will travel to Colney Heath of the Spartan South Midlands Premier of Essex Senior league Ilford.

Grays Athletic enter the competition in the preliminary round and will be at home on Saturday, 19 August to the winners of the extra preliminary round clash between Redbridge and New Salamis, both fellow members of the Isthmian North.

FA Cup extra preliminary round winners will receive £1,125 and the losers £375. Winners and losers in the preliminary round get £1,444 and £481 respectively.

The FA Trophy gets underway for Grays Athletic and East Thurrock United on Saturday, 9 September with the first qualifying round – worth £1,500 to the winner and £400 to the loser.

Both meet opposition from the Southern League Division One Central division. Grays will travel to Hertford Town and the Rocks also take to the road, where they will face AFC Dunstable.

Should Grays win they face the possibility of an away derby against fellow Isthmian North Brentwood Town or a trip to another Isthmian north side, Felixstowe and Walton United.

East Thurrock’s reward for a win would be a home tie against either fellow Isthmian North Wroxham or Brightlingsea Regent, who also play in the division having been relegated from the Isthmian Premier last season.

Second round qualifying matches are scheduled for Saturday, 23 September and are worth £2,250 to the winners and £575 to the losers.

Following last season’s relegation to the Essex Senior League Tilbury get to play in the FA Vase for the first time since 2005 when they beat Burnham Ramblers 2-1 in the first round, but lost by the same score at Newmarket in the next.

This time around they go to the Austin Arena, home of fellow Essex Senior League side FC Clacton in the first qualifying round on Saturday, 26 August.

The winners (as well as pocketing £550) will host Baldock Town, of the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division, on Saturday, 23 September.

Losing money in the first qualifying is £160 and prizemoney in the second is £725, with the beaten side getting £225.

Following their elevation to the National league South, Aveley will join the FA Cup in the second round qualifying on Saturday, 16 September and the FA Trophy second round proper on Saturday, 18 November.

Aveley and Grays also have sides entered in the coming season’s FA Youth Cup.

Grays will be at home to in the week beginning Monday, 14 August in the extra preliminary round and in the following round the winners will travel to Hullbridge Sports in the week beginning Monday, 4 September. 

Avelely are exempt until the first round qualifying which will be in the week commending Monday, 18 September.


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