It was the turn of the Emirates FA Cup to take centre stage at the weekend. The World’s oldest Cup Competition and for the likes of the 23 SSML teams, Arlesey Town, Stotfold, Harefield United, Newport Pagnell Town and Winslow United amongst them, the dreams of stepping out at Wembley in May (Cue Eurythmics song ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’ –

23 of 24 of the SSML teams in the Emirates FA Cup were in action over the weekend (Tring Athletic enter on Tuesday night). Dunstable Town scored the fastest goal of the weekend, netting after just 14 seconds. For Winslow United the wait continues for a first FA Cup win (can they make it third time lucky next year). In the League new-boys St Panteleimon and Shefford Town & Campton continue to impress while Tring Corinthians AFC marked their return with a 3-1 win over MK Gallacticos. The weekend action brought about 121 goals with Leon Lobjoit (Newport Pagnell Town) and Noyan Tajbakhsh (St Panteleimon) claiming hat-tricks.

Weekend Stats: 33 games played of which 14 were home wins, 10 away wins and 9 draws.

Highest Attendances: 278 Winslow United v Roman Glass St George, 232 Saffron Walden Town v Baldock Town and 167 Leighton Town v Thornbury Town.



THE EMIRATES FA CUP Extra Preliminary Round
As usual there was plenty of drama to be found in the weekend’s Emirates FA Cup fixtures with goals in abundance, red cards and fight backs as the 23 competing SSML sides looked to bank £2,250 with a win while those departing the competition it was £750. Leading the way on the goals front were Newport Pagnell Town and Colney Heath, both of whom netted six in their advance to the next round. For Newport Pagnell Town their haul all came in the first half at home against Cheltenham Saracens, such was the ease of their passage they replaced the much travelled Leon Lobjoit during the break, Leon having scored his second successive hat-trick of the campaign. The second period proved to be a damp squib with no further additions to the 6-2 interval score. Colney Heath travelled to Haverhill Rovers and enjoyed a very sweet homeward journey having won 6-1. The weekend’s only all SSML affair saw Stotfold (now Division One following relegation) welcome Harpenden Town (Premier Division), the ‘underdogs’ winning 3-1. Biggleswade United advanced to the next round for the first time in three years, a solitary goal was enough to defeat Swaffham Town at Second Meadow. For six of the SSML clubs the hope of advancement is on hold pending replays on Tuesday evening. Sadly for Broadfields United, Crawley Green, London Tigers, Oxhey Jets, Potton United, Baldock Town, Edgware Town and the fore-mentioned Harpenden Town it is a case of returning those ‘Wembley suits’ back to the Tailors this week. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

1-1 AFC Hayes v Wembley (Edmunds) / (Eboinne) Attendance: 62
1-0 Biggleswade United v Swaffham Town (Smith) Attendance: 82
3-1 Bridon Ropes v Broadfields United (Unknown) / (Goode-Keeley) Attendance: 68
2-5 Crawley Green v Takeley (Bunker [2] [1 pen]) / (Das [2], Thorpe [2], Castle) Attendance: 37
3-2 Dunstable Town v Chipping Sodbury Town (Stapleton, Patru, Little) / (Makepeace [2]) Attendance: 112
3-3 Eynesbury Rovers v Wellingborough Town (Stronge, Brown, Diejomaoh) / (Buckby, Lowery, Williams) Attendance: 137
3-0 Harefield United v Lydney Town (McCorkell, Pacquette, Jordan) Attendance: 93
1-6 Haverhill Rovers v Colney Heath (Michaels) / (Woods [2], Doolan, Fitzgerald, Clements, Blunden [pen]) Attendance: 134
4-1 Leighton Town v Thornbury Town (Bryant, Campbell, Frederick, Webb) / (Lancastle [pen]) Attendance: 167
1-1 Leverstock Green v Ardley United (Smith) / (Joyce) Attendance: 95
2-0 London Colney v Hadleigh United (Brinkman, Maxwell) Attendance: 76
0-2 London Tigers v Thame Rangers (Buston, Hatton) Attendance: Unknown
2-2 Newmarket Town v Arlesey Town (Watson [pen], J Robinson) / (Black, Hatch) Attendance: 132
6-2 Newport Pagnell Town v Cheltenham Saracens (Lobjoit [3], Macrae, Parrish, Watkinson) / (Unknown) Attendance: 130
0-4 Oxhey Jets v Flackwell Heath (Edwards, Howell, Ceesay, Sinclair) Attendance: 96
1-2 Potton United v Ely City (Chapman) / (Holder [2] [1 pen]) Attendance: 82
1-1 Royal Wotton Bassett Town v Aylesbury Vale Dynamos (Jackson) / (Mupfuruniwa) Attendance: 79
1-0 Saffron Walden Town v Baldock Town (Isherwood) Attendance: 232
1-0 Slimbridge v Edgware Town (Ford) Attendance: 77
3-1 Stotfold v Harpenden Town (Buchanan [2], Ngwala) / (Standen [pen]) Attendance: 92
1-1 Tuffley Rovers v North Greenford United (Rhodes) / (Olanipekun) Attendance: 86

New boys St Panteleimon continued their fine start by recording their third win to top the table, this time seeing off visiting Bedford 4-2. Ampthill Town are second despite being held 2-2 at home by FC Broxbourne Borough. Hot on their heels are Shefford Town & Campton, the new boys made it two wins out of two when coming from behind to defeat visiting Wodson Park by the odd goal in three. There were plenty of goals to be witnessed at Enfield Borough as the hosts defeating Buckingham Athletic 5-3, a shame only 21 were there to see it. Langford were also amongst the goals, returning home with a 4-0 win from the long trip to Park View. Milton Keynes Robins bounced back from their heavy midweek defeat to record a 2-1 win at New Salamis while a solitary goal was enough for visiting Rayners Lane to secure the points at Brimsdown. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

2-2 Ampthill Town v FC Broxbourne Borough (Butler, Carney [pen]) / (Mercer, Vanezis) Attendance: 87
0-1 Brimsdown v Rayners Lane (Wilson) Attendance: 31
5-3 Enfield Borough v Buckingham Athletic (Bangura [2], Ennin [2], Delgandio) / (Carter, A King, Staley) Attendance: 21
1-2 New Salamis v Milton Keynes Robins FC (Unknown [pen]) / (Filip, G Shrieves) Attendance: 38
0-4 Park View v Langford (Auburn, Bond, Ellingham, Rome) Attendance: 20
2-1 Shefford Town & Campton v Wodson Park (Snee, Young) / (Regan) Attendance: 63
4-2 St Panteleimon v Bedford (Tajbakhsh [3], Mohammadi) / (Drummond, Opponent Own Goal) Attendance: 47

Last season’s champions, Bovingdon, opened their campaign with a home defeat at the hands of last season’s runners-up, Old Bradwell United, with the hosts undergoing many close season changes among which was the departure of the manager and several players. Tring Corinthians AFC, who have returned following their resignation during the last campaign, opened up with a 3-1 win over MK Gallacticos. Both the other Division Two games finished level, Sarratt being held at home by New Bradwell St Peter FC and Totternhoe drawing 1-1 with relegated Codicote. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

1-3 Bovingdon v Old Bradwell United (Unknown [pen]) / (Butler [2], Cribbs) Attendance: 30
1-1 Sarratt v New Bradwell St Peter FC (Wyatt) / (Davey [pen]) Attendance: 25
1-1 Totternhoe v Codicote (Mongey) / (Todd) Attendance: 68
3-1 Tring Corinthians AFC v MK Gallacticos (Lando [pen], Lincoln, Smith) / (J Smith) Attendance: 30


THE EMIRATES FA CUP Extra Preliminary Round
Sunday’s only tie to feature the SSML saw late goal drama, firstly hosts Winslow United, trailing 1-2, levelled the tie after 82 minutes only for visitors Roman Glass St George to score the winner in the third minute of stoppage time. Full result and goalscorers listed below.

2-3 Winslow United v Roman Glass St George (Freshwater [pen], Collins) / (Unknown, Unknown [pen], Unknown) Attendance: 278

RAF 1 Army 0
Royal Air Force personnel will be allowed to grow beards under new rules aiming to promote inclusivity. There are no plans to revise the rules for facial hair in the Army, where only moustaches are allowed.


Sweet Smell Of Success.
A mention was made in the Kirkley & Pakefield programme about the refurbished toilets and these were akin to which are normally seen in a mid-price hotel. As one groundhopper put it “Almost certainly the first time that I have used Cucumber and Mint handwash at any ground”.
Come on SSML clubs surely we can do better!