By John Mead

Mention Wood and the F.A. Challenge Cup and you need to go back a full nine years to have something to cheer about.    Back then we plied our trade in the Ryman Football League Division One North, the same level at which this Saturday’s opponents Northwood, currently find themselves, albeit in the Southern Football League equivalent.

It did not stop us helping ourselves to a slice of the dream however, when we made it up to Bloomfield Road to meet Blackpool in the First Round Proper.    The day out resulted in a 4 – 0 defeat but we did not disgrace ourselves.    Both sides have done quite well for themselves since!

That Cup run, like Northwood’s this Season, started in the Preliminary Round.    We overcame Desborough Town, Maldon Town and Burgess Hill Town before scalping Hayes and Kettering Town.    I say scalping as both of those sides were … in The Conference South at the time.    Let us hope that history does not repeat itself this year!

The Woods, not to be mistaken for The Wood, fans please be careful what you shout… have so far beaten Aylesbury United and Chesham United, which must count as a mini-scalping, before overcoming AFC Dunstable 0 – 3 in a Replay to reach the Third Qualifying Round.

Looking back over our previous performances in this Round, we have only progressed further once in the last eight Seasons prior to the Blackpool run.    That was in 2010/11 when we overcame Enfield Town 3 – 1 at home, before a disasterous trip to Ebbsfleet United, where we played out sixty-five minutes with ten men losing 3 – 0.

This Season ten men did a whole lot better in the previous round beating St. Neots Town up in Huntingdonshire, which brings us back to Chestnut Avenue to face Northwood for the first time since September 2007, when we ran out 1 – 0 winners in an F.A. Challenge Cup First Qualifying Round tie, a game incidentally, which Greg Morgan played in.

The Woods have had a mixed Season to date, winning two and losing four in the League and crashing out of the F.A. Umbro Trophy 0 – 4 to Leatherhead.

F.A. Challenge Cup Third Qualifying Round – Saturday 6th October 2012 – Away to Northwood, Kick off: 3.00pm, Northwood Park, Chestnut Avenue, Northwood. HA6 1HR.

Come on the Wood!

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