Mouth of the Tyne: St Albans City don't do lower league opposition but keep bringing them on
- Credit: JIM STANDEN
When it comes to unwanted records then St Albans City against lower league opposition is pretty high in the rankings.
The last three FA Cup campaigns for the Saints have all been ended at the hands of so-called minnows.
Joe had better luck versus a volcano.
As if proof were needed, Corinthian Casuals came within 17 seconds of adding their name to the list that currently includes Taunton, Weymouth and Bishop’s Stortford.
They should have done too. Make no bones about, Saints were rotten at King George’s Field and should have been dumped out like yesterday’s rubbish.
But yet here we are, just hours from the draw for the FA Cup first round draw and the name of St Albans City will be in the famous velvet bag, briefly anyway before their ball is hurled into the big plastic goblet.
And when you add Michael Johnson’s penalty save at Concord to Dave Diedhiou’s last-gasp equaliser, there is more than enough scope to believe this year could be truly special.
Of course they still have to beat the south Londoners in Tuesday’s replay but you would like to think they have had their wake-up call for this round.
But if they do win, should this be the limit of their ambitions?
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Marine proved last year that dreams can come true. Saints aren't going to win the thing, he said stating the obvious, but the third round is but two wins away and they are more than capable of matching that and the dream of a colossal tie.
But to do so will also need a bit of a helping hand which is where that big goblet comes into sharp relief.
A good draw is vital, and by good that means much-more winnable and by much-more winnable that generally means lower-league oppos.
Everyone wants Sunderland. They are the big name who will guarantee filling out your ground and then some, with TV cameras in hot pursuit.
Get them at the Stadium of Light and even with a reduced Wearside crowd, there should be still a 20,000-plus attendance at the very least.
And yes, of course I’d be delighted with that on a personal level but if Saints are to truly progress then I’d prefer the winner of the Marske United v Gateshead replay to be honest.
And there is plenty of choice closer to Hertfordshire as there have been plenty of shocks in qualifying, Bowers & Pitsea and AFC Sudbury to name just a couple.
Corinthian still stand in the way of course but there is more than enough incentive ahead of Ian Allinson’s men even prior to whatever ball is scooped out for them.
And if that means another lower-league opponent, then sign me up.