When the draw is made for cup competitions, as supporters, we are looking for a trip out to an exotic venue firstly and fore mostly. No offence to Runcorn Linnets and Kidsgrove Athletic who we have faced in the FA Trophy and FA Cup respectively but home ties against teams from our own division don't really fit that bill.
However we went into that Linnets tie with the draw for the next round already made, reigning Northern League champions Marske United away certainly ticks all the boxes. For me, a trip to the North-East evokes some epic Colls memories. A common theme running through the games was the fantastic hospitality shown in the region, we look forward to sampling more of that at the weekend.
Firstly the FA Vase tie against Newton Aycliffe. For Aycliffe, this was their big game, promotion from the Northern League not in the offing. The game was finally played at the sixth attempt, playing havoc with our fixture list, after eventually being moved to Durham FC. The game, which we lost 1-0, was memorable for the scenes following Alex Kitchen's red card for kicking Brad Cooke in the head. Manager Micheal Clegg captured on camera enquiring if the Aycliffe bench had ever played the game and offering to tear them apart. The A1 was a bleak road following the defeat for the 16 fans on the coach and the floatilla of independent travellers. Moving on...
Happier memories prevail of our trip to Shildon the following year. The then reigning Northern League champions, having refused promotion (?!?), came into the game as heavy favourites. Like many teams from the area, containing players with experience of a much higher level, the Northern League being perceived as the strongest Step 6 division. Despite conceding first, the men in green responded with four goals to send the travelling masses into raptures. One of our most memorable games and the kind of spirit that will be needed against Marske.
Last season's trip to South Shields again showed the strength of the clubs coming out of the Northern League, a league club in all but position. Last season saw Morpeth Town and our hosts advance into the Evo-Stik, and it is no surprise to see them sat 1st and 2nd in the Evo-Stik East, with Morpeth having already edged Marske out of the FA Cup this season.
And there we have it, 2nd in the East Division meets 2nd in the West Division. Marske unbeaten at home, in their first ever FA Trophy game, Colls unbeaten away. An epic East meets West clash on the scale of Rocky IV. With Colls wearing their traditional black and white, a combination possibly not too popular in the Redcar area, the scene is set.
Manager Carl Jarrett will be looking for a response from The Seasiders following two away draws at Belper Town and Ponte Colls and having conceded first in their last five games. The later being a particularly tricky venue, in all respects. Danger men for Marske are top scorer Jamie Owens and fellow striker, former Darlington and Spennymoor Town man, Craig Gott.
For the Colls, two home games in three days meant utilising the full squad, will returning manager Micheal Clegg stick with Monday's winning team? Will two goal man Luke Giverin force himself into the starting eleven and with the Marske manager bemoaning their defending from set-pieces, will we see a combination of Adam Farrell and Tom Bentham? Let us know your thoughts.
Date: Saturday 13th October 2018
Marske United FC
Mount Pleasant Avenue
Concessions: £4 (Over 65, 16-18 student)