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It’s (a) Non League Day!

By Ian Townsend

We've FA Cup action tomorrow and Sunday- and no Premier League gives you the chance to educate a top-flight following friend. Here’s what we’ve got to offer.

It’s a Non League Day! No, not THE Non League Day, that comes later, but a day nonetheless when the Premier League and the Championship are having time off. So grab those friends who normally spend hundreds of pounds following a professional side, and show them that they can have far more fun and spend far less by visiting their local BetVictor Isthmian League club. And there may never be a better time to do it, as the FA Cup is in town and we have a selection of mouth-watering fixtures available. Here’s our preview.

We’re going to start at Ashford United. The Nuts and Bolts have had a fine start to the season, winning each of their matches in the league, whilst Farnborough sit in mid table in Southern Premier South, having lost their last two matches by two goals to nil- against Truro City and Hayes & Yeading United.

Romford have won only one match so far, in the FA Cup against Harwich and Parkeston, and they will look to do the same again as they travel to Barton Rovers. Rovers sit in eighth place in the Southern Central Division, and defeated Cambridge City in the last round. They’re in good form, too, walloping Kempston Rovers 4-1 in midweek.

We have an all North Division clash as Basildon United take on Coggeshall Town. United thumped Framlington Town 7-1 in the last round, but have lost their last two home games, whilst Town are unbeaten in the league- although lost heavily in the Velocity Trophy in midweek.

Tilbury travel to Biggleswade, the Southern Central side having saved their best form for the FA Cup so far with 4-1 and 4-0 wins over Mildenhall Town and Yaxley, but Tilbury will have no fear after winning their last four matches. On the Sussex coast we have a Premier v South East Division clash between Bognor Regis Town and Sittingbourne. The Brickies head to the Rocks after two two-all draws, but are unbeaten in four, whilst the Rocks have lost their last two and don’t yet have a home win this season, so will be desperate to put that right.

Premier Division Bowers & Pitsea will be looking to get back to winning ways against old foes Brentwood Town. Town were one of the few sides to defeat our North Division Champions last season, although they crashed six-nil in the return match so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into that! The Len Salmon crowd haven’t seen a home victory yet, so will be looking to their side to put that right.

There is a clash of the Robins at Larges Lane, as Bracknell Town host Carshalton Athletic, both sides in very good form, whilst South Central new boys Chertsey Town will welcome Sheppey United, who sit in thirteenth place in the SCEFL Premier Division. We’ve an all-Premier Division tie between Cheshunt and Brightlingsea Regent, whilst another side new to our league, Chichester City, will host Chalfont St Peter. City have lost only one match in the League and defeated Bridon Ropes 7-2 in the last round of the FA Cup, whilst the Saints are unbeaten and won a marathon penalty shootout against Hanwell Town in midweek, 17-16.

Corinthian-Casuals haven’t yet managed to win a match this season, and visitors Sevenoaks Town will prove a stern test having lost only one match and having defeated Burgess Hill Town in Sussex in the last round. AFC Sudbury are off to Deeping Rangers in Lincolnshire, who play in the Eastern Counties Premier Division, whilst Dereham Town will look to do a bit of giant killing as they welcome Needham Market, who these days ply their trade in the Southern Premier Central, where they sit in eleventh place.

Bishop’s Stortford travel to Dunstable Town of the Spartans South Midlands Football League Premier Division, their hosts heading into this match having been knocked out of the FA Vase last weekend, whilst East Thurrock United entertain Peterborough Sports of the Southern Premier Central. Sports sit in seventeenth place, and lost three-one at home to Banbury United on Tuesday evening.

Our featured match will be between Enfield Town, in fifth place in the BetVictor Isthmian Premier Division, and AFC Rushden and Diamonds, in fourth place in the Southern Premier Central. Read all about this match by heading back here at half past five tomorrow!

Grays Athletic, who demolished Heybridge Swifts 5-2 in the last round, have another home tie- and will hope for a similar result against Step six side March Town United, whilst we’ve an all- South Central tie as Hanwell Town host Staines Town.

Last season’s FA Cup success story, Haringey Borough, will hope to start a new run to the First Round Proper or beyond, with Herne Bay travelling up from the Kent coast to stop them after winning their replay at AFC Croydon Athletic in midweek, whilst we’ve a Sussex coast derby at Pilot Field, as Hastings United entertain Worthing. Hastings are yet to concede a goal in the League- although they conceded one in the cup in defeating Broadbridge Heath in the last round- whilst Worthing seem to have rediscovered their mojo, defeating Bognor Regis Town and Margate in their last two matches.

Haywards Heath Town host a side we know a great deal about, last season’s runaway South Central champions Hayes & Yeading United, whilst we have another all-North Division clash as Histon host Maldon & Tiptree with both sides in good form.

Hornchurch were awarded our Performance of the Month Award yesterday for their 6-0 win at Worthing, and tomorrow will look to continue their very successful start to the season as they host Kempston Rovers of the Southern League Central Division One. Rovers, as mentioned earlier, were walloped four-one by Barton Rovers in midweek.

Margate take a trip to Sussex to face Horsham YMCA. Their hosts haven’t had the best start to their SCFL season, currently sitting in seventeenth, but they will remember knocking another Isthmian Premier Division side, Burgess Hill Town, out of the same competition a few years ago, and Margate will not want to underestimate them.

Barking travel to Kings Langley, mid table in Southern Premier Central, but will take heart from the fact that their hosts lost for the first time this season last weekend at Barwell. Barking have saved their best form for cup competitions this season, defeating Aveley in the last round of the cup and Grays Athletic in the Velocity Trophy.

Lewes picked up their first win of the season at Leatherhead last weekend, but the Tanners haven’t had to wait long for their chance of revenge as the Rooks are back at Fetcham Grove tomorrow, whilst another Sussex side, Horsham, head to Metropolitan Police, who haven’t started this season’s Southern Premier South campaign as well as they ended the last one, and currently sit in fifteenth place.

Ramsgate host a Step Six side, Arundel of the SCFL Division One. The Rams are yet to pick up their first League victory, and their visitors have a one hundred per cent record, so it might turn out to be quite tight!

Soham Town Rangers host Whitton United, who are mid table in the Eastern Counties Premier Division, whilst South Park host another step five side, Badshot Lea of the Combined Counties Premier Division. The visitors are in good form, having lost only one of their four league matches, winning the other three.

Witham Town travel to historic Stamford, and will hope not to form part of that history as the Northern Premier Division One side are in very good form indeed, winning five of their six matches so far this season. They defeated Wroxham in the last round.

Potters Bar Town head to Takeley, leaders of the Essex Senior League, who have lost only once this season; whilst our South central one hundred per centers Tooting & Mitcham United host Step Six AFC Varndeanians, who will be travelling up from Brighton. They normally play in the Withdean Athletics Stadium, former home of Brighton & Hove Albion, and a top tip for Terrors fans if a replay is required- take an umbrella!

VCD Athletic will face the challenge of Moneyfields, a Portsmouth club who sit in thirteenth place in the Southern South Division and defeated Reading City in the last round, whilst Waltham Abbey and Canvey Island renew acquaintance at Capershotts. The Gulls won both of their matches in the North Division the last time they were together, in 2017-18.

Ware host one of their old friends, Leiston, who aren’t having the best of seasons in the Southern Premier Central, having picked up just one point so far which has left them holding up the rest. Another two South Central clubs play each other, as Westfield host Chipstead. The two met two weeks ago, Westfield winning two-nil, so the travelling Chips- who defeated Hassocks in midweek to set up this tie- will be out for revenge.

Whitehawk take on Abbey Rangers, the visitors- from the Combined Counties Premier- currently unbeaten in all competitions having knocked East Grinstead Town out in Sussex in the last round; whilst we then have two derbies- a Kent derby between Whitstable Town and our Premier Division leaders Folkestone Invicta, and a Surrey derby between Whyteleafe and Merstham. Whitstable have been very good at home so Invicta might not have it all their own way, whilst Leafe are also unbeaten at home, and won their last home match 4-1, so Merstham may face a still challenge.

Finally for Saturday, Wingate & Finchley host London Colney of the Spartan South Midlands Premier. This will be the visitors third FA Cup match this season, and they currently have an aggregate score of seven-nil from the previous two so should not be taken lightly. They are unbeaten in five matches, winning four.

Moving to Sunday, we have a Premier v South Central clash as Cray Wanderers entertain Bedfont Sports, whilst over at King George's Field Walton Casuals return to the site of their promotion, as they face Kingstonian. Casuals haven't picked up a single point so far this season, so the K's should go into this match with confidence.

We also have three matches in the Velocity Trophy. Hertford Town host Cambridge City, Heybridge Swifts and Bury Town also meet, whilst Ashford Town entertain Northwood.

Where next?

Brickies take a Pont Sittingbourne borrow Margate man
VCD sign a Ram Monger moves to Oakwood

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