Written by: Chris Brenta
Carshalton Athletics can start to dream of a trip to Wembley this Saturday as they take a break from league action to take on Merstham in the FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round.
The two teams met in this tournament last season going head to head in the first qualifying round with the Robins coming through 3-1 victors almost a year ago to the day. Goals from Pattisson, Haxhiu and Koroma were enough to overcome the Moatsiders.
Carshalton went on to make it as far as the first round proper but came unstuck against Avery. After going 3-0 down, the Robins fought back to tie the game. Two goals in the last nine minutes from Pattisson and Hamilton-Downes took the game to a replay which the Robins lost 2-0.
The Robins will be hoping to emulate their run from two seasons ago when they got all the way to the round of 16, again drawing 3-3 and forcing a replay, this time against Barnet who were victorious second time around.
Merstham are currently rock bottom of the Isthmian Prem having only picked up one win this season, a 3-0 win over Corinthian-Casuals at the end of last month. Their current league form has seen them only pick up one point this month, and in those five games they have only manged to score four times while conceding 15.
Frank Wilson’s men will take some comfort in the fact that Carshalton’s away form has been less than ideal. They have only picked up four points in their four away games this season and have lost every game in October when not playing at Colston Avenue.
The teams faced each other once in the league last year in a game that finished 1-1, Paris Hamilton-Downes managing to be the scorer of both goals on the day. Kleton Perntreou slipped at the most inopportune moment to allow the Robins captains pass to find its way to the back of his own net. He did make amends with a header at the other end a few minutes later.
There are 73 ties in total in this round of a competition which is only open to all non-Football League clubs registering professional players and is arguably the best chance any of these teams have to reach a final at the national stadium.
Current holders are Lancashire’s AFC Flyde who beat Leyton Orient back in 2019. Due to the season being cut short last year the tournament never reached its conclusion, Harrogate Town and Concord Rangers are still due to compete to decide last year’s winner.
The winner of Saturdays tie will head into the first round proper which takes place on 14th November. Dates for all the rounds are below:
First round proper Saturday 14 November 2020
Second round proper Saturday 5 December 2020
Third round proper Saturday 19 December 2020
Fourth round proper Saturday 16 January 2021
Fifth round proper Saturday 6 February 2021
Quarter-final Saturday 27 February 2021
Semi-final Saturday 27 March 2021
Final Saturday 8 May 2021
Kick off is at 15:00 and tickets are available on the gate for this one. Directions to the ground can be found here.
For anyone not able to make it be sure to check out all the highlights on Robins TV.