It was my mate in the pub that asked the simple question, as
I tried to explain that Shoreham’s second FA Cup victory this season meant they
were now in the first Qualifying round. Confusing? ‘What’s with all these
qualifying rounds, why not round one, two, three’ he sensibly quipped?
Which is just the point Damon Threadgold from the fabulous realfacup
made in his article
on how to improve the competition. "Change the names of the rounds to be more inclusive. The current 1st round is actually the 7th round of the competition, let's not pretend it isn't. This separatism suggests non league sides don't count and are playing in a different competition just to get into the real competition, a feeling exemplified by the exclusionist colloquialism for the 1st Round onwards, the 'propers'."
So onto round two of the FA Cup and it’s a welcome return to
Middle Road, after the Musselmen of Shoreham beat Dorking 4-1 away in the extra
preliminary round (see, it’s confusing). Today’s opponents were Walton Casuals
who aren’t a punk band from the seventies managed by Jimmy Pursey
or an English
Defence League splinter group but a team from Surrey
playing in the Ryman League Division One South.
The match had been in doubt as Shoreham had to cancel two
home games over the Bank Holiday. Not due to the weather but because of 50 caravans
encircling their ground!
The travellers were gone, replaced with war planes as
Shoreham air-port with its Grade II art deco building hosted its annual weekend
This is where I could get all clever with war-planes and
puns on Hurricane and Spitfires but well, I’m not clever enough for that.
Neither was one of Walton Casuals players whose orange clad team-mates were
dazzling Shoreham with their football and had taken a 1-0 lead after just 10
minutes. It looked like it could be a landslide. One of them shouted
to another ‘calm down, we are 1-0 up’ but I reckon when you are in a such a commanding
position you should go for the jugular.
I’ve been to Walton and Hersham many times before. They were
the team who scored a last minute goal at Wembley to beat Slough
in the FA Amateur cup final in 1973 in front of 41,000. Which is a few more
than the 63 in attendance today.
So Casuals are they young Walton upstarts formed by soldiers
just after the war who only became a senior football team 18 years ago and been
in the Ryman league just seven. Last weekend they turned over their neighbours.
Shoreham compete a level below in the Sussex County League
Division One and a new broom has arrived at Middle Road after many a season of
flirting with relegation. New chairman, new manager, new players, new bulbs on
the floodlights. The place is all spick and span and still does tea in a mug.
What’s not to like?
The Casuals goal-fest didn’t come and somewhat surprisingly
Shoreham equalized in the 38 minute. In the second half Shoreham looked so much
more assured and went in front. The last 10 minutes Casuals rained balls at
their goal but to not effect and it finished 2-1 to Shoreham and a trip in the next round to everyone’s
favourite pink and navy club Dulwich Hamlet.
Financially Shoreham pocket £
for this round making it nearly three and a half grand so far. Which is not to
be sniffed. But do the winners of the FA Cup playing in round fifteen (and with
all due respect to Shoreham, I suspect it won’t be them lifting the cup) really
1.8 million quid?
Thanks to Shoreham's official photography Mike Dinsdale
for letting me use his photos. More action shots here
Andy the photographer
was also there Saturday. You can view his photos here