FA Cup 2nd Round Preview

fa cup

FA Cup – www.football-marketing.com

Here are The Football Lab’s predictions for each of the weekend’s FA Cup 2nd Round ties. Eighth tier Northwich Victoria are the lowest ranked team left in the FA Cup and face a trip to League Two promotion-chasers Northampton, as Walsall, the highest ranked team, travel to fellow Midlanders Chesterfield. Seventh tier Chesham United caused the shock result of the previous round at Bristol Rovers and are rewarded with a trip to 25k capacity Valley Parade, the home of League One Bradford City.

Salford City v Hartlepool

Salford City put in a strong performance against Notts County in the 1st Round, they were very disciplined and worked hard throughout. The Manchester outfit also showed some quality too, substitute Richie Allen showed some superb individual skills before finishing the settling goal. And yet, there is now a greater sense of expectation on Salford to perform, as they face a Hartlepool side that have won just three league games since mid-August. That sense of expectation could be Salford’s undoing.

Barnet v Newport

Barnet and Newport have had deeply contrasting Novembers. While the Bees have picked up just one point from a possible 12, the Welsh visitors extended their unbeaten run to nine games and beat Luton Town 3-0 last week. Exiles forward Oliver McBurnie is currently averaging a goal every eleven minutes, the Swansea loanee coming on for his debut with 32 minutes to play last week before netting a hat-trick. Barnet have a terrible recent track record in the early rounds of the FA Cup and that will not change here.

Chesterfield v Walsall

A clash of two clubs who have just parted company with manager Dean, for rather different reasons. Chesterfield sacked Saunders after four straight league defeats while Walsall’s Smith has been poached by Championship club Brentford. The change of boss is more likely to have a positive effect on the Spireites rather than the Saddlers and momentum could be with the Derbyshire hosts.

Leyton Orient v Scunthorpe

Scunthorpe’s squad is looking stretched at the moment. The Iron progressed in the First Round against Southend, but lost three of the following four matches and were fortunate to win at Bury recently. Leyton Orient are not in such good form, either. The O’s have won just four games since August, two of which came by a one goal margin, the other against non-league Staines Town. Neither side are to be fancied here and a draw seems most likely.

Millwall v Wycombe

Millwall played Wycombe in the First Round of the League Cup last season. That match saw the Lions win 1-0 and Fred Onyedinma soon went on loan to Adams Park and flourished, before returning to become a first teamer at the Den. Onyedinma and co. now face a Chairboys side that rolled over against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday. Under Gareth Ainsworth, the team have won just two of the eight league matches that followed a defeat in the past 12 months, which suggests they are not the best bounce-backers.

Northampton v Northwich Victoria

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Stuart Cook – m.northwichguardian.co.uk

Northampton Town have been handed a major boost this week with the winding up petition having been withdrawn and new owner Kelvin Thomas paying the necessary tax. Morale will be high at Sixfield and one would have to fancy the Cobblers against Northwich Victoria, who ply their trade in England’s eighth tier. The Cheshire outfit have failed to win just once in the league this season and boast a gifted midfield goalscorer in Stuart Cook. However, the gap of four divisions between these teams may prove too wide.

Portsmouth v Accrington

Accrington thrashed York City 5-1 last time out and their FA Cup 1st Round victory came against the same opponents. Matt Crooks and Josh Windass were among the star performers as Stanley beat the Minstermen 3-2 to set up a December date with Portsmouth. The hosts have managed just two home wins since the opening day, one of them coming in the 1st Round against Conference side Macclesfield. Cup progress is low on Paul Cook’s agenda, meaning Stanley are the team to back here.

Sheff Utd v Oldham

Sheffield United have been cup specialists in recent years. Given that a run of no league wins in six has seen the Blades fall to 12th in the table, the club needs another cup run and Nigel Adkins will take any win he can get to build confidence. There is a crisis at Oldham with players not having been paid the week prior to Saturday’s loss at Crewe, so this is an opportunity for Sheffield United to get that winning feeling back.

Stourbridge v Eastleigh

Eastleigh sent out a statement of intent by knocking out League One Crewe Alexandra in the First Round. The Spitfires search for a seventh win in eight when they travel to the West Midlands to play Gary Hackett’s Stourbridge. The seventh tier hosts have already beaten 5th tier opposition in Dover and have a sprinkling of Football League experience in their ranks – former Cheltenham goalscorer Justin Richards having found form since joining. However, Eastleigh are a team to be taken seriously in the early rounds of this competition and they are the team to back.

Yeovil v Stevenage

Yeovil have parted company with manager Paul Sturrock this week and Darren Way takes temporary charge, stating his intentions to get the job full-time. Despite the club’s plight, the Glovers have had a couple of recent cup memories beating Leyton Orient 4-0 one year and hosting Manchester United last term. Teddy Sheringham won the FA Cup with United in his playing career and Stevenage’s 3-0 win over Gillingham in the 1st Round indicates he is intent on making progress here.

Rochdale v Bury

hill and flitcroft

Hill and Flitcroft – barnsleynewsandsport.com

Keith Hill and David Flitcroft have remained good friends since their Barnsley parting, even though the respective clubs they now manage do not share the amity. Rochdale have picked the right time to play their Manchester rivals, having won two out of their last three with Ian Henderson looking to be back to his best. The Shakers have lost five of their last seven league games and now have a worse defensive record than three of the bottom seven in League One. Hill may be the manager more keen on a sporting post-match dinner come five o’clock.

Bradford v Chesham United

Bradford have caused a few cup shocks in recent years but now their task is to avoid one, as they host seventh tier Chesham. The visitors caused arguably the biggest upset of the First Round when they won away to Bristol Rovers, the former club of player-coach Barry Hayles. The veteran striker has proved a handful since moving into non-league football, helping Truro City to two promotions, but he and Andy Leese’s part-timers will struggle against an athletic Bantams side.

Cambridge v Doncaster

New Cambridge manager Shaun Derry has just seen his side win back-to-back games. Derry’s egalitarian philosophy has re-vitalized the U’s squad and a home tie with League One Doncaster provides an intriguing early test. The South Yorkshire visitors have lost just one of their last six matches as key striker Nathan Tyson enjoys a resurgence in form. Rovers boss Darren Ferguson has started with two up front in recent games while U’s have looked to attack under their new boss too – expect an open affair.

Colchester v Altrincham

Just as Colchester have just parted company with manager Tony Humes, the club have announced that Lionel Richie will be performing live at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. It probably isn’t Richie they are looking for – they will want someone with some coaching experience – Wayne Brown looks likely to get the job. Altrincham managed the 17th FA Cup scalp in their history with a 1-0 First Round win over Barnsley. That clean sheet was just their fourth this season, while Colchester have let in 49 goals in 20 league games. Surely we can expect goals all night long?

Dag & Red v Whitehawk

Dagenham & Redbridge lost 1-0 at Morecambe on Tuesday night. Wayne Burnett’s controversial decision to drop Jodi Jones went unrewarded as the Daggers managed just 1 shot on target – a stoppage time overhead kick from Jamie Cureton. The East Londoners would be unwise to disrespect Conference South side Whitehawk, who put five goals past Conference promotion challengers Lincoln in the 1st Round. Sam Deering played a key role in that victory and he alongside other experienced Football League campaigners could cause problems for Dagenham.

Exeter v Port Vale

So far this season, Exeter City have ended Leyton Orient’s 100% winning record, been the first team to beat Portsmouth and won at rivals Plymouth. Paul Tisdale’s side tend to favour games against the better teams, so a cup tie against League One Port Vale might suit them. The visiting Valiants only played six of their eleven most regular starters against MK Dons in the First Round last season and approached this year’s tie with Maidenhead with an overly relaxed attitude. There is high potential for an upset here.

Oxford v Forest Green

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Elliott Frear

Forest Green are currently in debt, so manager Adrian Pennock will be desperate for a money-spinning third round tie to quash their financial woes. The South West outfit have a strong squad for Conference level and boast an impressive winger in Elliott Frear. Oxford made five changes for their First Round tie despite facing reasonable Conference opposition in Braintree, which suggests promotion is the priority for the U’s.

Peterborough v Luton

The mood in the Peterborough and Luton camps could not be more different. A run of eight league wins from 12 has seen Posh climb from 18th when Graham Westley first took over to just inside the play-off place. On the other hand, Luton are in the bottom half despite high pre-season expectations and pressure is mounting on manager John Still after a 3-0 loss at Newport. Home win.

Welling v Carlisle

Carlisle did well in League Cup this season with a victory at QPR and a penalty shootout defeat at Liverpool. The Cumbrians have won four of their last six games, including another impressive cup result, a First Round victory at 2nd place Plymouth. Welling won 2-0 at Barwell in the previous round but have not won since then and are averaging less than a goal per game in the Conference.

Grimsby v Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury Town’s attacking players may be boosted by recent results against Sheffield United and Gillingham, with a once goal-shy team managing six in two games. However, it would be wrong for the Shropshire side to underestimate Grimsby due to their non-league status. The Mariners, once again a part of the National League promotion race, have won their last five games in all competitions and have scored three or more goals on 10 occasions this term.