Walthamstow look to reach the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the third time in four seasons this Saturday, as they host Great Wakering Rovers at Wadham Lodge.
Stow beat Sporting Bengal United 5-0 in the Extra Preliminary Round, while Wakering received a bye to the Preliminary Round.
While Stow have a decent record in the last few seasons’ FA Cup, Wakering have only progressed past their opening game once in five seasons – that came last year when they beat Leyton Athletic and then Wisbech Town.
Over the summer, Stow’s Player of the Year Reece Conway and captain Vinny Murphy departed for Wakering, but Murphy returned mid-way through pre-season. Conway is understood to be unavailable on Saturday due to a badly (or well, depending on how you look at it) timed honeymoon.
Both sides have 100% records at the start of their seasons, with Wakering beating Felixstowe & Walton United (who Stow beat at this stage of last season’s competition) 4-1 last Saturday, and Tilbury 2-0 on Tuesday evening. Top scorer Jack Stevenson will no doubt be Wakering’s major threat up front.
Wakering will be familiar opposition for Stow, having been in the Essex Senior League together two seasons ago, and spending many seasons playing each other at step 4.
We’ve met before
Saturday’s game will be the third time we have met Great Wakering in the FA Cup. The other two came in the 2009-10 season, at the same stage in the competition as today’s game.
A 0-0 draw by the seaside meant we would face off again in a replay at Cricklefields, where Sham Darr scored the only goal of the game.
Unfortunately for us, that was the last time we’ve beaten Wakering. Since then, we’ve lost five and drawn four games, though we did come close to derailing their title charge at the end of the 2017-18 season, when a goal from Tony Da Silva made things pretty nervy for the eventual champions.
Both sides found themselves in the Southern League for two seasons between 2005 and 2006, and that’s probably when we secured our last ‘big’ victory over Wakering; Gavin King playing an absolute blinder between the sticks in his last game for us, a 3-2 win.