Ipswich Wanderers go in search of an FA Cup upset against Canvey Island
- Credit: Ashley Pickering/Anglia Picture
You have just got to love the FA Cup.
And the beautiful competition does not just start in January, you know!
Tomorrow afternoon sees the first round of qualifying, where an abundance of non-league teams start, and continue, their quest for success.
For many, the journey had already started before this weekend.
Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Ipswich Wanderers have played two preliminary round games prior to tomorrow’s home tie against Ryman Premier Division outfit Canvey Island (kick-off 3pm), a team who ply their trade two Steps above the Suffolk side.
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Victorious over Debenham LC (1-0) and Barkingside (2-1) in the previous rounds, boss Glenn Read cannot wait for his side to pit their wits against higher-league opposition.
“I’m really looking forward to the game,” he said.
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“It’ll be a tough one, but I think the longer we hold on, the more we’ll frustrate them.
“We did that against Wingate & Finchley, who are in the same league as Canvey, last season (a thrilling game which saw Wanderers lose 4-3).
“We drew with them away and then played them at our place, where we pushed them all the way.
“It’s always nice to have runs in the Cup, and to play against better and higher-level teams. It tests us as much as it does them.”
Wanderers are on a similar path to last season, which was their first back in the Thurlow Premier.
They have had a solid start to the League season as their seven-point haul, out of a possible 12, suggests, and have advanced in both the FA Cup and the FA Vase – two competitions they excelled in last campaign.
Reason to be happy then, for Read.
“We’ve had a similar start to last year,” he continued.
“I’d like to be a bit higher in the league (Wanderers sit in 12th position before this weekend), but we haven’t had many games (four).
“I want to do better in the Premier Cup this season. We pushed Lowestoft (of the National League North) to extra-time (a 2-1 defeat) last season, but we’d like a run similar to Whitton (the eventual 2015 runners-up).
“Our focus is to remain in the league, but we want to finish higher this time around (the Suffolk side finished last season in ninth).
“We’ve got a bigger and better squad than last year, we’ve brought extra strikers in to give us more competition, and I’ll certainly be having a few headaches in the weeks to come.”
Two of Read’s striking additions in Tom Bradlaugh and Ben Deacon both got themselves on the scoresheet in last weekend’s thumping 7-0 victory over London Bari in the FA Vase.
But Read is under no illusion that his forwards will get the same amount of chances this weekend, with his centre-half pairing of Mark Goldfinch and David Head likely to be two of the busiest players on the pitch.
“Heady and Goldy’s experience is massive for us,” said Read, who went to watch Canvey’s recent 3-0 defeat to league-leaders Grays Athletic.
“Alongside Shane Wardley, they are our most experienced players and that really helps us because most of the other lads are in their early 20’s.
“They (Goldfinch and Head) have been playing really well together. Goldy didn’t have the best of pre-seasons fitness-wise, but is now getting back to playing week-in week-out, while Seyithan Duzfun and Dan Hitching have also been superb.”
Should Wanderers spring an upset tomorrow, they will pocket £3,000 prize money.