GW 10 – Ones to Watch

Matt: It appears as though many of you had a much more successful than usual ‘International Week’, with 23 of you really taking advantage by dining out at Club 100 – a real bonus on these most unpredictable of rounds! And that unpredictability certainly cost me, as another harsh lesson was dealt out thanks to Curzon Ashton’s scoreless return. Note to self; you don’t have to select/tip these National North & South sides just because they’re available! At least Oxford City did the business in fine style. Now GW 10 offers up an outstanding opportunity for immediate redemption as not only do we have a full fixture list available across the vast majority of our chosen leagues, but also ALL of the FA Cup qualifiers taking place over the weekend. This could, and should, be a feast of tons! Here’s a couple of starters…..

  • Pontefract Collieries v Halifax Town. I normally avoid local derbies like the plague, but this tie looks just too tempting to turn down! Northern Premier League Division One East (that was a mouthful!) side Pontefract Collieries had a resounding 6-0 victory over Handsworth Parramore in the Third qualifying round a fortnight ago, but a repeat result of that against a well established National League outfit from down the road would have to go down as one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history! The Colls may have done well to reach this stage of the competition, but their overall form suggests that near neighbours Halifax could be in for a fun afternoon; they’ve already lost seven times (in ten) in the league, been knocked out of the FA Trophy qualifying at the first attempt and have won just once at Beechnut Lane all season. With 19 goals conceded in league matches alone, you have to believe visitors Halifax will have little trouble in finding the net on Saturday afternoon. The Shaymen are ticking along nicely in the National League, unbeaten in six and failing to score just twice all season. Their two most recent fixtures saw them dispose of Weymouth and Notts County, the latter an extraordinary 3-2 comeback after being reduced to 10 men – that performance and result alone is enough to suggest that they’ll have far too much for their part-time hosts in this fixture. All the signs here point towards a relatively straightforward win for Pete Wild’s men here.
  • Bromsgrove Sporting v Grimsby Town. Another FA Cup tie and another National League team on their travels! I recently tipped Grimsby in this section and they didn’t let me down, returning 6 goals against Dover Athletic. On the assumption that The Mariners don’t rest their entire first team to focus on their promotion bid, a similar outcome here cannot be ruled out. I don’t imagine manager Paul Hurst will entertain the idea of playing a second string team for one moment, not least because this fixture has been chosen for live coverage on BBC, so he will be extremely keen to avoid a huge upset in front of a national tv audience. Rather like Pontefract, Bromsgrove aren’t pulling up any trees in their league, the Southern League Premier Division Central, having suffered three defeats in their previous four games, including home reversals against Royston Town (2-1) and Banbury Utd (3-1). National League leaders Grimsby will arrive at the Victoria Ground in very confident mood following successive away wins at Woking and Altrincham, and they’ll be strong favourites to make it three on the bounce here. The Lincolnshire based club are the top scorers in their division, having already found the net on 25 occasions and it’s almost inconceivable to think there won’t be more goals for them in this match. One word of warning from me; with this being selected for live television coverage, the fixture has been moved forward to 12:30…….beware the (C)urse (O)f (T)he (E)arly (K)ick (O)ff!! It’s a regular happening in TUG and only last weekend we saw another example of the curse in full effect, as League Two pacesetters Forest Green slipped up at home to Swindon Town, causing plenty of misery in the process! Good luck to you all, avoid the inevitable cup shock(s) at all costs!!