Heybridge Swifts all set for their big FA Cup day
Heybridge Swifts have a golden opportunity to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup, for the fourth time in their history, when they travel to north London to take on hosts Haringey Borough in a fourth qualifying round tie at Coles Park this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).
The Swifts have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season, both in the league and the cup, and they will fancy their chances against a team from the same league as them, the Bostik North (fourth tier of non-league).
However, Haringey have also been in cracking form during the first couple of the months of the campaign, and are unbeaten in the league (seven wins from eight).
“It’s not the draw we would have wanted, against a team from the same division, because they often tend to be cagey affairs,” admitted Swifts boss Jody Brown.
“But we’ve had a fantastic start to the season, and that’s been down to good preparations in pre-season following our final day escape from relegation last season. The fact that we were 2-0 down (to Phoenix Sports) at half-time in that game and came back to win was a euphoric moment for the club. It gave everyone a massive lift, and gave a new injection of life into the club.
“Everybody worked hard last summer, and I don’t just mean the players – I mean the chairman, groundsman, kit-man, bar staff and everybody else – which has made my job easier, to focus on the playing side. Everyone is talking about this Cup draw, and the prize that could await the winners, with a potential big draw and perhaps even TV rights.
“We are taking two coach-loads of supporters down with us, which is a big deal for a club like ourselves,” added Brown.
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After overcoming Haverhill Rovers in a preliminary round replay, the Swifts have beaten Arlesey Town, Met Police and Frome Town to reach this stage of the competition.
Haringey, meanwhile, have seen off Bowers & Pitsea, Hitchin (after a replay), Welling United and Bideford.
The Swifts first reached the first round of the FA Cup in 1994-95, when they lost 1-0 at ‘home’ to Gillingham, although that match was played at Colchester United’s Layer Road. In 1997-98, they lost 3-0 at Bournemouth in the first round, and they also reached the first round in 2002-03, when they lost 7-0 at Bristol City.