The draw of the FA Trophy was made this morning, and despite not getting the draw I personally wanted, we have been handed a good opportunity to progress to the quarter final stage for the first time since 1987/88.
The statistic might sound bad, but it isn’t as if we’ve been playing in the competition every season since then! Aside from our brief foray into the GMVC we’ve only played five further times, although our record isn’t great. In fact if we beat Welling we will have won as many games in the FA Trophy this season as we have in the previous five seasons.
Welling currently sit 17th in the National League South, but progressed to the third round of the trophy by virtue of a superb 2-1 win away at National League Bromley. In the first round they secured an even more impressive 8-1 win over Hythe Town, and they started the cup campaign away at Danny’s old side Concord Rangers, winning 1-0.
Welling fans were delighted with the draw, a poster on the Welling United Active Board said:
“We should be relishing this, we get a decent gate, play a side we do well against, we are at home and they might rest a few. We have won 8 of our last 9 matches recently and have a free shot at a decent team in a good day for our club. If our players get stuck in as they did on Saturday, Hatton, Waldren, Francis and Hayles flying in and winning tackles and being committed to every ball etc then Lincoln will have a hard game on their hands that they may not see as a big priority.”
The notion that any match isn’t a priority for Danny in Nicky is absurd, and I would imagine given their sentiment towards Concord Rangers they would like a little bit of revenge for their old side. Imps fans would like a bit of respite from our Welling hoodoo as well, we failed to beat them in six attempts, losing five. We did register a 2-1 home win back in he 1987/88 season, and our only win at their place, 4-1. They are our recent bogey side without a shadow of a doubt, but in those previous meetings we haven’t been playing with the confidence, panache and style that we have brought to almost every game this season.
We have had one further recent meeting, a 1999 FA Cup tie which was settled by a 30th minute Paul Smith goal. However, success at Park View Road has not come easily to us, and although there will be little chance of the tie being taken lightly, it will still be a stern test for the FA Trophy XI. Doubtless given the fixture pile up the likes of Elliott Whitehouse and Callum Howe will get a game, and perhaps Taylor Miles might finally put in an appearance in a Lincoln shirt as well. Whatever run Welling are on, however much emphasis they think we’ll put on the game, they will have a massive job on their hands stopping Lincoln rolling into the quarter finals, where hopefully Dulwich Hamlet await!