DAVENTRY TOWN: Foster says Town won’t waste chance to enter FA Cup draw with the big boys

The FA Cup
The FA Cup

Only a team from an affluent Hampshire village roughly the same size as Long Buckby stands between Daventry Town and a place alongside the 48 Football League clubs in the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup.

Neither Hartley Wintney (founded in 1897) nor Daventry (1886) have previously gone into the hat together with Wembley winners such as Coventry City, Portsmouth, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Preston North End and Sheffield United.

Town’s comprehensive 4-0 defeat of 10-man Grays Athletic sent shock waves around non-League football scene last week, ahead of Saturday’s 2-1 FA Trophy victory over another step three team in Corby Town.

Meanwhile Hartley Wintney also came from behind to beat Petersfield 4-2 in the FA Vase.

No doubt Grays underestimated their Daventry opponents after sending scouts to watch the 3-1 Southern League defeat at Dunstable, Town’s only reversal in their first 15 league and major cup ties this season.

Now the boot is on the other foot as step five Combined Counties League outfit HW must not be taken for granted.

League champions a couple of seasons ago, their biggest cup triumph came in the unheralded Aldershot Senior Cup competition 22 years ago.

Daventry manager Darran Foster is promising his players will leave nothing to chance, despite being paired with the lowest-ranked team still in the competition.

“The stakes are too high for that to happen with so many big clubs entering the FA Cup at the next stage,” said the Town boss.

Currently in the top half of the CCL table with games in hand, HW possess one of the youngest player-managers in the country in 25-year-old Ben Dillon. He has transformed the side since the previous incumbent and many of his players upped sticks to nearby Thatcham last year.

Facilities at the Memorial Playing Field in Green Lane close to the busy A.30 road have been updated recently with state-of-the-art £40,000 floodlights and new changing rooms costing in excess of £100,000.

To reach the final qualifying stage of the FA Cup the villagers have played seven times already including three replays.

Against Kidlington the scores were 1-1 and 5-2, Badshot Lea went down 3-2 and the Camberley Town clashes ended in 0-0 and 2-0 scorelines.

More eye-catching was the sequel to the 1-1 home draw with Southern League strugglers Clevedon Town.

The Somerset coastal outfit led 2-0 and 3-1 before succumbing 4-3 in injury time following two second half penalties.

Daventry’s own progress has been more sedate.

An unconvincing 1-0 win over Hillingdon Borough was followed by a 6-1 hammering of Berkhamsted, an excellent 3-1 win at Belper in Derbyshire and the fun and games at Aveley eight days ago.

Last weekend Town came from behind through goals from Ashley Robinson and substitute Tom Lorraine to beat Corby and earn a Trophy second qualifying round tie at Wingate and Finchley on November 2.

On Monday night a makeshift side lost 5-0 to Kettering Town at Latimer Park in the Red Insure Cup.