FA Cup weekend is upon us again. Forty teams from Step 2 and below will join 24 National League sides in the final qualifying round draw on Monday.
Victory for Berkshire sides representing the towns of Bracknell Town and Hungerford Town will see them a mere ninety minutes from a potential FA Cup First Round Proper tie against the likes of former winners Portsmouth, Bolton Wanderers and Derby County – three clubs who could perhaps justifiably claim to be ‘bigger’ clubs than some who currently ply their trade in the Premier League.
Hungerford have – on paper at least – the harder task. They make the trip west to Torquay United to face the Vanarama National League South promotion chasers, with happy memories at least of their visit to Plainmoor in 2019 when they spoiled the Gulls promotion party.
Danny Robinson’s side have been infuriatingly consistent since they dropped into the Southern Premier League, but their 4-1 thrashing of Step 2 side Chippenham Town on their own patch shows that they can step it up when the mood takes them.
The recent mood seems to be somewhat less convivial at Bottom Meadow, as Bracknell Town are having – by their recent standards – a mediocre-looking start. Discontent following a home defeat by Beaconsfield Town in midweek seems to be rumbling amongst a fanbase which has dined out on recent success after a long spell languishing at Step 5 and Step 6. Even usually phlegmatic chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse admitted to an outburst of frustration after that defeat.
Sometimes perspective should be shone upon a situation. That home defeat was their first of the season at Sandhurst. And just under a fortnight ago the Robins beat a big-budget National League South side – Havant & Waterlooville – at the Meadow. A home match with Poole Town looks very winnable and assuming your correspondent’s confidence is justified then Robins fans might soon be dreaming of another plum tie, like they had last season when Ipswich Town visited East Berkshire.
What a boost a brace of cup wins would be for Berkshire football this weekend. Dare to dream!
This article was originally shared as part of Football in Berkshire’s mailing list which you can subscribe to below.