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FATROPHY Third Qualifying Round

02 December 2014
FATrophy Third Qualifying Round action between Gloucester City and Bath City. Photo by Peter Barnes.

Three of the ten drawn FA Trophy ties at the week end featured clubs from Step 4 as Bedford Town drew at home with Weston-super-Mare, AFC Sudbury achieved an excellent draw at St Neots Town and the thrilling 3-3 tie between Merthyr Town and Didcot Town meant another Step 4 club would also survive.

In the South, Wimborne Town (Southern League Division One South West) had beaten AFC Hornchurch (Isthmian Premier) and the unbeaten Burgess Hill Town (Isthmian Division One South) had beaten Leatherhead (Isthmian Premier) 3-2.

While up in the North East Spennymoor Town (Northern Premier League Division One North) had beaten Chasetown from NPL Division One South, so at least four clubs, who have all already won four FA Trophy ties this season, featured in the First Round draw with the Conference Premier clubs.

Before the replays the certain survival of clubs from Step 3, The Premier Divisions for the Northern Premier, Southern and Isthmian Leagues are:-

NPL Premier Division
FC United of Manchester
Halesowen Town
Ramsbottom United

Div1 North: Spennymoor Town

Southern Premier Division
Poole Town

Div 1 South West: Didcot Town & Wimborne

Isthmian Premier Division
Leiston (Received a bye as Salisbury City had withdrawn)

Div 1 North: AFC Sudbury
Div 1 South: Burgess Hill Town

The very strange situation so far sees more clubs from the respective Divisions One of the Southern and Isthmian leagues involved in the First Round Proper than their respective Premier Division colleagues.

A club in superb form is Worcester City, they are unbeaten in their last eleven matches, so perhaps the excellent 3-0 defeat of Barrow, their Conference North leaders, was no surprise. A club to have been given a boost of confidence thanks to the FA Trophy will be Hyde, with just seven points in the league, who won 4-3 at Tamworth. While North Ferriby United and Oxford City will have been boosted by scoring six goals in excellent Trophy victories.

Sadly, in some clubs the national knock out cup competitions do not appear to be taken as seriously as they used to be. This is really not very sensible as round by round prize money is good, the excitement of a national cup run lifts players and supporters alike, especially with cup ties against opposition not usually faced.  Then there is the chance of an exciting memorable day out at a Wembley Final - just look at Gosport Borough, who really seem to be have been lifted by the experience of last season!

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