FA Cup fever grips Southport FC

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Players and Officials Entrance at Southport’s Mersyerail Community Stadium. Pic © JMU Journalism

The romance and magic of the FA Cup is alive and well at non-league Southport FC as they are dreaming of glory after reaching the first round proper.

After knocking out Ashton United in the last qualifier on Saturday, Southport have been drawn against either Boreham Wood or Dagenham and Redbridge in the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The tie will take place at Haig Avenue on the weekend commencing November 10.

Boreham Wood thought they secured the clash against Southport, until the Daggers salvaged a fourth qualifying round replay, thanks to late goals from Tomi Adeloye and Luke Penell.

Fans watched the televised draw in anticipation at the 1881 lounge inside the Merseyrail Community Stadium on Monday night. Those in attendance experienced feelings of nerves as they awaited their name to be pulled out the hat.

Prior to the draw, which was broadcast live from Hitchin FC, the Sandgrounders were eyeing a home fixture or a trip to one of the first round big guns, with the likes of League One’s Sunderland in the running.

Upon finding out their potential opponents, the club’s Chief Executive, Natalie Atkinson, told JMU Journalism: “It’s great… another home tie for us, which is always good. It means we can galvanise the fans, the town again and, obviously, our community network to get as many people here as possible.”

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They avoided a mouth-watering clash with local rivals and League Two, side Tranmere Rovers, a team they haven’t faced since April 2017, when the Birkenhead-based side thrashed Southport 4-1.

Southport FC Media Officer, Michael Brown, admitted he was slightly let down by the draw, but he believes the draw will send positive waves around the club.

Mr Brown told JMU Journalism: “I’m a bit disappointed. We were looking for a Football League club, but it’s at home, it’s winnable they’re in the non-league system, so hopefully we’ve got a good chance of getting through and then after that you’re just 90 minutes away from the Third Round.

“It’s massive for two reasons: financially and confidence-wise. We’ve not had the best starts but it’s massive publicity-wise for the club, and for the players it an opportunity for them.”

Southport’s 2-1 win over Ashton United guaranteed Liam Watson’s side their place in the FA Cup proper for the first time since 2016, where they defiantly bowed out in a replay against Fleetwood Town.

The Yellows currently sit bottom of the National League North after 12 games, with just one win on the board this season and defeat in their last two outings.