Three Berkshire clubs will be looking to progress in the Isuzu FA Trophy when they play third-round ties this Saturday – but all face tough away trips.
Slough Town travel to Bromley, Maidenhead United visit Dorking Wanderers, and Hungerford Town head to Aveley.
On paper, Slough arguably have the hardest task. Scott Davies’ men sit 19th in Vanarama National League South, while 2022 Trophy winners Bromley are second in the National League.
With their league fixture at Taunton last Tuesday called off due to a waterlogged pitch, the Rebels hastily arranged a friendly with Thatcham at Arbour Park, losing it 2-1.
From playing the Kingfishers, Slough now take on the Ravens at their Hayes Lane ground, where a large crowd is expected.
More than 2,500 saw the Kent club beat Rochdale 1-0 last Saturday, thanks to a late goal from substitute Olufela Olomola.
Their top scorer is 32-year-old Michael Cheek with 10 goals, and it was he who netted Bromley’s winner when they beat Wrexham 1-0 in the 2021-22 FA Trophy final at Wembley.
“It is a competition we would like to win again,” said Bromley manager Andy Woodman, who was left “devastated” when they lost at Bath in the third round last season.
“I am really looking forward to it (Saturday’s tie). I’ll be taking it really seriously.”
Slough also made their exit at the third round stage 12 months ago, losing 1-0 to Taunton at Arbour Park.
Aveley vs Hungerford Town
However, Hungerford and Maidenhead both made progress, with the Crusaders beating Heybridge Swifts on penalties after a 1-1 draw, while the Magpies triumphed 3-2 at Hemel Hempstead. Both went on to
reach the last 16 before making their departures from the competition.
Like Slough, Hungerford will also go into their tie as the underdogs with the Southern League Premier South Division outfit taking on an Aveley side who fourth in National League South.
But Danny Robinson’s men are on a tremendous run of 11 unbeaten games and will be riding high on confidence as they head around the M25.
They won 1-0 at Tiverton last Saturday and then drew 2-2 at Basingstoke on Tuesday, with Sam De St Zroix netting in both games, giving him three goals in as many matches.
The Essex side have had a little wobble in the past week, losing 4-3 at home to Farnborough last Saturday after conceding three goals in the final 15 minutes and then being held to a 2-2 draw by 10-man Welling on Tuesday, with United having their keeper Reice Charles-Cook sent off five minutes before half-time.
Dorking Wanderers vs Maidenhead United
Maidenhead will be up against National League rivals Dorking at Meadowbank Stadium, the sides sitting 13th and 17th respectively in the table.
Alan Devonshire’s men are on a good run of form, with four wins and two draws in their last six games, the only unbeaten team in their league over this period.
Last Saturday, they hammered Oxford City 4-1 at the RAW Charging Stadium with wide player Sam Barratt bagging two of the goals. The Reading-born former Bracknell Town player, who is on loan from Barnet, was rewarded with a place in the National League’s team of the week.
The Magpies won 2-0 at Dorking in the league game at the start of the season.
All winning teams in the third round will earn £4,500 from the FA Prize Fund, with the losers collecting £1,250. The fourth round will be held on January 13th.