Northern Counties East Football: Sheffield team Hallam begin their journey to Wembley on Sunday
It’s the start of the long road to Wembley this weekend with Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
While there professional counterparts have dreams of reaching the north London venue, for the non-league teams its all about trying to boost the financial coffers with a good run in the world’s most famous cup competition.
Even in the EP Round there is £2,250 up for grabs for the winners rising to £2,890 for the Preliminary round then £6,000 and £9,000 for the subsequent following two rounds, makes a decent run in the competition very rewarded indeed
Hallam don’t play until Sunday afternoon when they host NCEL Premier Division side and close neighbours Staveley MW (3pm).
Hallam warmed up for their tie with a friendly against a strong Sheffield United side at a packed Sandygate Road where the Blades ran out 3-0 winners watched by a crowd of 1,024.
United went close on several occasions in the first half but were kept out by some smart goalkeeping from James Leverton.
United finally made the breakthrough just before half time through Mark Duffy’s shot from distance that just went over the line after bouncing off the crossbar
Hallam manager Steve Whitehead made plenty of changes at half-time giving everyone a run out.
United double the lead on 53 minutes through a Leon Clarke header past young keeper Oliver Barnes with Clarke scoring his second and the Blades third with around 15 minutes remaining. “What a brilliant evening for the club,” commented Chairman Steve Basford. “Thank you to Sheffield United for bringing such a strong side, everyone who turned up on the night and made it a such a great atmosphere, all our sponsors and our army of volunteers, especially Jane and the bar staff and Ann in the tea Cabin.”
Penistone Church get things underway this evening when they travel to take on relegated Skelmersdale United (7.45) of the NWCL Premier Division. Church will be hoping to bounce back from the opening day 2-1 defeat against Silsden, but it looks a tough test against a side that last season were in the Northern Premier League West
“Its a long difficult trip on a Friday night and we know we must certainly be better than we were against Silsden,” said Penistone boss Ian Richards.
Handsworth are also on the road as they make the trip to face NCEL Premier Division rivals Thackley.
Russ Eagle’s new look side will be hoping to get there season up and running following the opening day 3-0 reversal at Garforth Town and will be aiming for a repeat of the 3-0 victory at the Dennyfield on their previous visit in the league in last December.
Meanwhile, in what must be one of the shortest managerial reigns, Premier Division Athersley have parted company with manger Graham Nicholas following the opening day 6-0 thrashing at Goole AFC.
It was Nicholas first competitive game in charge having only being named as Luke Potter’s successor in May having previously managed Parkgate, Garforth Town and Nostell MW.
Athersley released a statement in which it said: “The club have made the decision to relieve our manager Graham Nicholas from his position as manger. “The Board felt they had to make the decision now even though he had not been in the job long.
Club Secretary/ General manager Peter Goodlad will take charge of of Saturday’s home FA Cup tie against NWC Premier Division side Padiham
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round: Skelmersdale Utd v Penistone Church (7.45)
Saturday: (3pm unless stated)
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round: Athersley Rec v Padiham, Shepshed Dynamo v Maltby Main, Thackley v Handsworth,.
Division One: Ollerton Town v Worsbrough BA, Parkgate v Glasshoughton Wel, Retford FC v Brigg Town, Selby Town v Dronfield Town, Skegness Town v Rossington Main, Swallownest v Armthorpe Wel.
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round: Hallam v Staveley MW.