Norfolk Ryman League trio seek safe route over their first FA Cup hurdle of the season
- Credit: Wroxham FC
Wroxham, Dereham Town and Norwich United will be aiming to ensure Norfolk enjoys a far happier FA Cup return this afternoon.
The Ryman League Division One North trio enter the illustrious competition at today's second stage, the preliminary round, but will be flying the county's flag by themselves after a host of clubs fell at the first hurdle. Fakenham Town, Thetford Town, Swaffham Town, Gorleston and Great Yarmouth Town all failed to progress from the extra preliminary round leaving just the aforementioned trio, first qualifying round arrivals King's Lynn Town and Norwich City to carry hopes of a fairytale run becoming a reality.
With just a week, and two games, of the Ryman League season gone, Wroxham head to United Counties League (UCL) Premier Division Deeping Rangers in search of their first victory of the term.
The match gives manager Damian Hilton the opportunity to include a few fringe players in his matchday squad against a team that ply their trade one level below them. Deeping pocketed £1,500 prize money by winning 4-1 at Ely City to set up Wroxham's trip to a club whose player/assistant manager is a well known face – former Gorleston ace Jack Marsden.
Wroxham goalkeeper Elliot Pride said: 'Jack was a great player and an even better person. We were a close group and Jack was a big part of that. You could tell even then he would end up going into management as he had a great understanding of the game. I wish him great success in the future, just not this weekend.'
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The winner of the clash – which will go to a replay if the two sides cannot be separated after 90 mintues – will land £1,925 prize money and host either Loughborough University or Gresley in the first qualifying round on September 3.
United, who have enjoyed a flying start to life at their highest-ever level, will be looking to put Histon to the sword. A home victory at Plantation Park will clinch Norwich an intriguing trip across the border to take on Ryman League Premier Division Lowestoft Town.
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The third of the area's hopefuls to begin their adventure today, Dereham Town, face a tricky trip to Yaxley. Although their hosts play one level below the Magpies – who beat Wroxham 2-1 in league combat on Tuesday – they recorded a club-record 12-0 victory in the last round to set up the fixture.
Suffolk club Kirkley & Pakefield and Cambridgeshire's Wisbech Town will also be in action as they look to record a second win of 2016 in the prestigious knockout event. Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division Kirkley needed a replay to see off Walsham-le-Willows and will no doubt find the going tough again when they welcome UCL Premier Holbeach United – who thumped Swaffham Town 4-1 earlier this month. The reward for winning the tie will be an away clash at either Yaxley or Dereham.
Wisbech have a daunting test against a team they've lost to once already this season – and who destroyed Gorleston 8-0 to reach this round. The Fenmen do at least have home advantage when they lock horns with highly-rated UCL top-flight newcomers Peterborough Sports.
The winner of the fixture will host Stourbridge.