Whilst this historic season shows no signs of slowing down, one of our rivals have chosen to try and take advantage of our future fixture chaos in the FA Trophy.
Nantwich, Gateshead and Welling all agreed to play to a conclusion in the earlier rounds, negating the requirement for a time consuming replay. All three operate on small squads and at various times in the season I imagine it suited them and us to have a winner on the day.
However, Boreham Wood have not agreed to play to a conclusion, meaning a potentially damaging replay in the event of a draw. The fixtures are piling up around us like leaves falling from a tree in autumn, and I suspect they realise that if it is a draw maybe our reserves will even begin to tire. Usually Lincoln City play around 48 games a season, but with our two cup runs we’re going to probably exceed 60.
I can’t criticise Boreham Wood too much. Their season is more or less over, they’re stranded in mid-table 13 points from the play-offs but 10 points clear of the last relegation spot. It would take a monumental collapse from the to get dragged into a battle at the bottom, and similarly electric form for them to get anywhere near a sniff of a Wembley place. They only truly have one competition to play for, the FA Trophy.
If we were to draw with Boreham Wood we would lose York on February 28th, with that possibly slotting in on Tuesday April 11th, just three days before the Good Friday clash with Torquay United. It has also been pointed out to me that a York draw with Brackley would cause us to lose the fixture as well!
The real issue is if we win through against Boreham Wood, because then we have two fixtures to squeeze in. With us visiting Arsenal on March 11th, the first leg of the semi-finals would probably be played on March 14th, That would be followed by a second leg on March 18th, meaning our game against Maidstone would be lost. So (if you’re following) we would then have to squeeze Maidstone in on Tuesday 11th April. If that was the case we’d welcome Dagenham on Tuesday 4th, travel to Eastleigh on the 8th and Maidstone on the 11th.
The major headache comes about if we draw with Boreham Wood, and then beat them in the replay, losing Maidstone as well as York. In that instance we could find ourselves going into the final week of the season one game behind everyone else, with Tuesday 25th April the only other free date. Oddly enough in our original GMVC season we rescheduled the Maidstone clash at Sincil Bank to 27th April 1988, after initially losing it to the weather. Is that an omen?
All of this doesn’t take into account the possibility of beating Arsenal and losing the penultimate league game of the season on April 22nd as we’d be in the FA Cup semi-finals. It might sound far fetched, but in this crazy season I’m beginning to think anything is possible.
Whatever happens it would just be nice if Boreham Wood had let us play to a conclusion on Saturday, at least then we’d know we could book our train tickets to Braintree a week on Tuesday! At this rate our reserves will be suffering from burnout as well!