X-Roads looking to avoid FA Cup upset
Almost a year to the day that they inflicted an FA Cup first-round upset on Devonshire Colts, X-Roads find themselves facing a similar threat from First Division opponents on Sunday.
X-Roads, now a Premier Division side, are at home to Paget Lions, the First Division leaders, at Garrison Field in another first-round match that has upset possibilities.
A year ago, X-Roads and St George’s Colts defeated Premier Division sides with 4-2 and 6-2 wins against Colts and Boulevard, respectively.
“We have to be careful how we treat our match on Sunday,” Farid El Karfa, the X-Roads coach, said.
“Based on our experience from last season when we were a First Division side and upset a Premier Division team, we will learn from the experience.
“You can’t take anybody for granted, Paget are doing well and are a decent team, so we won’t be taking them lightly.”
This time the top three teams in the First Division are aiming for upsets against sides in the bottom half of the top flight, with BAA travelling to St David’s to meet Boulevard and Southampton Rangers playing Devonshire Cougars at Devonshire Recreation Club.
X-Roads have eight points from ten league matches in their first season in the top flight and are eighth in the table.
“I’m positive about the team’s last performances, confidence is good and we’re definitely looking to achieve something in the FA Cup,” El Karfa said.
“I’m quite satisfied with how the team is progressing, we have picked up momentum. We will give Paget the respect they deserve and play hard.”
The two teams in the relegation zone are hoping good FA Cup results can provide boosts after some disappointing results in the league, where Social Club are still without a win and Onions have gone three months since their only victory, a 4-1 result against Social Club in October. Onions, who lost 6-0 to PHC Zebras last weekend, have the worst defensive record in the Premier Division, conceding 38 goals, ten more than Social Club, who face the might of PHC at Police Field in one of only two all-Premier Division matches.
PHC, who clinched their third trophy of the season on New Year’s Day when they beat North Village 2-0 in the Friendship Trophy final, are also the holders of the FA Cup after beating Village in last year’s final. It was their eleventh triumph, the most in the competition.
Robin Hood will welcome back suspended pair Antwan Russell and Jaylon Bather for their match on Saturday against Onions at Goose Gosling Field at 9pm.
The pair missed the 3-1 defeat away to Dandy Town in the league when Hood’s ranks were depleted by suspensions, injuries and unavailability.
Somerset Trojans host St George’s on Saturday night, kick-off at 8pm, with St George’s one of the few established clubs in the league never to have reached an FA Cup final. Somerset, on the other hand, have nine FA Cup titles, although it has been almost 30 years since their last triumph in 1990.
St George’s have been hot and cold this season, losing 2-1 to Wolves in the Shield Trophy on December 17 before thrashing the same opponents 8-1 last weekend in the league.
Their 6-2 win over Boulevard was the upset of the first round last year and certainly they have the ability to cause an upset. Striker Donovan Thompson is fresh off a hat-trick against Wolves.
Wolves will be trying to be competitive against Town in the first match at Devonshire Recreation Club, while the second match should be closer between Cougars and Rangers, a side pushing for promotion.
Their 10-0 loss to BAA last season in the cup raised some eyebrows, but under new coach Jomar Wilkinson things are looking up for Rangers.
Boulevard, who conceded ten goals themselves against Hood on December 10, have been sliding down the table, although their 1-1 draw against Village suggests they still have something to offer this season. BAA should provide a good test for them at St David’s.
The draw for the quarter-finals will be made on Tuesday at the BFA office, with the matches taking place on the weekend of February 17 and 18.
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Ernest Tucker (1932-2019)
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