Alongside 367 other sides across the country, AFC Uckfield Town join the FA Cup at its first stage, the Extra Preliminary Round, this weekend as they travel to take on tournament debutants Welling Town, and will aim to emulate some of 2018-19’s achievements in the competition.
The Uckers had never won a match in the competition before their home tie against Glebe in the same round last season, but after a 1-0 victory on that occasion did not look back, winning three games in all before succumbing to National League South side Dartford in a match that typified the drama of the FA Cup.
While Anthony Storey’s side may have found some advantage from playing all four of their fixtures in the competition at The Oaks last season, his squad should have no fear of their ability on the road given achievements elsewhere in 2018-19.
In the FA Vase, Storey’s squad were the first from Uckfield to win an away match in a FA competition – beating both Tunbridge Wells and AFC Croydon Athletic – after neither the current club nor its predecessors had managed such a feat in 15 attempts.
Including their meetings with Glebe and Tunbridge Wells, and a 5-0 pre-season win against Crowborough Athletic, the Uckers have also won their last four matches against SCEFL Premier Division sides without conceding – a trend they must at least be hoping continues this weekend.
Opposition Lowdown – Welling Town FC
Another side formed in 2014, Welling Town stand in the Uckers’ way this Saturday, and after forging an incredibly impressive trajectory themselves in recent seasons will not be in awe of their introduction to FA Cup football.
Originally formed as a Sunday League club, the Boots were promoted in their first season in the London and Kent Suburban League, and after taking a place in the Kent County League at the end of 2015-16, again won consecutive promotions.
On the basis of such form, their application to skip a division and join the Southern Counties East Football League was accepted for 2018-19, and as another title followed, they now find themselves in the SCEFL Premier Division for the 2019-20 season.
The side have made a modest start to life in their new division, with a 0-0 draw against Canterbury City followed by a 3-1 defeat to Fisher, but will undoubtedly look to their FA Cup involvement to also announce themselves in South East football.
Only appointed last month following the sacking of title-winning predecessor Louis Dean, manager Danny Wakeling has big boots to follow at the club, not only in the form of Dean, but Richard Dimmock, a multiple trophy winner before his own sacking in November 2018.
With the backing of an ambitious board however, Wakeling will have his own designs on a landmark cup tie to cement his place in Boots history.
Welling Town FC vs AFC Uckfield Town will be played at Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, SE28 8NL, kicking off at 3PM. Further information on the match and this season’s competition is available on https://wellingtown.co.uk and http://www.thefa.com/competitions/thefacup.
Your support for the Uckers will be hugely appreciated for a massive cup tie for the club. Updates will be available on the club’s Twitter page, @AfcUckfieldTown, and a report from the match will follow on Saturday evening, available here on the Uckfield FM website.