The Glassboys will be aiming for a sixth appearance in the First Round in nine seasons – an unprecedented, and ten years ago unthinkable, achievement if Gary Hackett’s men can pull it off.
It took 133 years for Stourbridge to make it beyond the Fourth Qualifying Round in 2009 when we played host to Walsall at the War Memorial Ground, but subsequent seasons have seen four trips to the Second Round, capped by last season’s Third Round tie at Wycombe Wanderers.
Standing in the Glassboys’ way this weekend will be the formidable obstacle of Vanarama National League side Macclesfield Town. Fourth at the time of the draw being made just over a week ago, their subsequent win at Guiseley (2-1) the following evening lifted the Silkmen to the top of the National League pile, and a 1-0 home win over Ebbsfleet United last Saturday kept them in top spot, meaning that Stour are arguably up against the toughest opposition they could have drawn at this stage of the competition.
Macc are not just an imposing presence in the League this season, however. Their FA Cup record over recent seasons is every bit as impressive as Stourbridge’s, even with due allowance being made for their much later entry into the competition.
Between the Second World War and joining the Football League in 1997, Macclesfield reached the Third Round just twice. They went down 2-4 at Fulham in 1968, and had to wait another 20 years for another shot at that stage of the competition in 1987/88, when home “giantkillings” over Carlisle United (4-2) and Rotherham United (4-0) set up a Third Round “derby” at Port Vale, which the Potteries side edged 1-0 with a late goal. (Incidentally, the writer was present at Moss Rose for those victories against Carlisle and Rotherham, and remembers them well, despite being nearly 30 years ago!)
Not surprisingly, their years in the League proved more fruitful as far as the Cup was concerned – with the benefit of exemption to the First Round – and they travelled as far as the Third Round, but no further, no fewer than seven times during those 15 seasons.
Ironically, their first season back in Non-League football in 2012/13 saw the Silkmen finally crack that elusive Third Round hoodoo when a 2-1 home win against Cardiff City of the Championship set up a Fourth Round visit from Premier League outfit Wigan Athletic. Despite pushing the Latics close, however, there was to be no appearance in the last 16 as their visitors won 1-0. Nevertheless, Macc could at least console themselves with the thought that they had been beaten by the eventual winners that year!
On the League front, since relegation from League Two at the end of the 2011/12 season, Macclesfield have held their own in Non-League’s top flight, without consistently threatening a return to the “92”. A sixth-placed finish in 2013/14 meant they missed out on the play-offs by one place and one point, but that apart their highest finish has been ninth last time around, whilst they also reached the FA Trophy Final where they were defeated 3-2 by York City, denying them a third win in the competition after victories in 1970 (as the very first winners of the FA Trophy) and 1996.
This season, however, they have been amongst the front-runners from the start in what is shaping up to be a very competitive race for the Football League. Nine wins and four defeats from 15 matches sees them lead by a point from Dover Athletic and Woking in second and third places respectively, whilst Sutton United lie a point further back in fourth.
A little oddly perhaps, Macc top the table despite a goal difference of just +2, having scored just 17 goals and conceded 15 thus far. They seem to have a knack of being able to force a result from tight matches, however, with seven of their nine wins being by a single goal margin.
There are no former Glassboys in the Silkmen squad, although they do have familiar names in Jared Hodgkiss and Keith Lowe who both played for our near neighbours Kidderminster Harriers.
On the other side of the fence, our own Josh Green was with Macclesfield as a youngster, captaining their Youth Team before moving on to Market Drayton Town.
As far as we can ascertain, the teams have met just once previously, when Macc visited us way back in the 1980/81 season for an FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie. Both teams were then at Step 2 of the Pyramid – Macc in what was then the Northern Premier League’s only Division (in the days long before the formation of the Conference North and South), whilst Stourbridge were members of the Southern League Midland Division (between 1979 and 1982 the Southern League operated without a Premier Division, with the Championship settled in a one-off game between the winners of the Midland and Southern Divisions). Stour ran out 6-2 winners that day, with striker Andy Deeley netting four of the goals. A repeat on Saturday would do nicely!
Saturday’s match kicks off at 3.00 pm. There will be no extra time in the event of a draw, with the tie instead going to a replay at Macclesfield Town FC on Tuesday 17th October (7.45 pm kick-off). The replay would be decided by extra time and penalties, if required.
The draw for the First Round will be televised live on BBC2 on Monday 16th October, with the programme starting at 7.00 pm. First Round ties are due to be played on the weekend of Saturday 4th November.
Supporters are reminded that Saturday’s match is “ALL PAY.” Season Tickets, flexi tickets and passes are NOT VALID.
Admission prices will be as follows:
Adults - £15
Concessions (65 and over) - £10
13 to 18 yrs old - £10
Under 13s - £5
NB. Admission for Macclesfield Town supporters will be by TICKET ONLY. There will be no cash turnstile for visiting supporters on the day of the match.
Segregation will be in place for the match, with Stourbridge supporters entering the Ground via the Church End turnstiles (bottom driveway), opposite the Church on High Street, Amblecote. Visiting supporters will enter via the Main Archway Entrance.
Turnstiles will open at 1.30 pm.
The Glassboys Bar will be open to home supporters only. In accordance with rules for all FA competitions, alcohol will not be permitted outside the Bar.
Additional catering and toilet facilities will be provided.
PARKING: There is only limited parking available inside the Archway entrance at the ground and this is reserved for officials, players and staff. A limited number of spaces are available for disabled supporters, who should contact Club Secretary Clive Eades (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible.
On-street parking is available on Mill Race Lane and Old Wharf Road, between the War Memorial Ground and the Ring Road, whilst the nearest “pay-and-display” car park is on Birmingham Street, approximately ten minutes’ walk away. However, please note that this car park closes at 5.00 pm.
We request that supporters DO NOT park in The Holloway, Westland Gardens and Stamford St, to avoid inconveniencing our neighbours. Please park considerately on other streets around the Ground.
We would advise supporters to use public transport if at all possible. Regular buses from Stourbridge Bus Station (adjacent to Stourbridge Town Railway Station) to both Dudley and Wolverhampton stop directly outside the Church End turnstiles.
CLUB STATEMENT – SPECTATOR BEHAVIOUR
Following this week’s Club Statement we would once again remind all supporters that flares and pyrotechnic devices are banned from the Ground. Any spectator found to be in possession of such items will be refused entry and will be banned from future matches.
Additional searches will be carried out at the turnstiles.
Should no replay be required next week, we will be at home to ALVECHURCH on Monday 16th October in the First Round of the Integro League Cup (7.45 pm kick-off).
Admission prices for this match will be as follows: adults £6, senior citizens and juniors (aged 13-18 years of age) £4 and children aged 12 and under £2. Children aged 12 and under must be accompanied by a person of adult age.
We are then at home again on Saturday 21st October, when our visitors will be GRANTHAM TOWN for an Evo-Stik Premier fixture (3.00 pm kick-off).
YOUTH TEAM & ACADEMY
The Youth Team are due to back in FA Cup action of their own next week when they travel to Sutton Coldfield Town in the FA Youth Cup Third Qualifying Round on Thursday 19th October. Kick-off is At 7.45 pm.
Our Academy team are at home to Chasetown next Wednesday, 18th October in the National League Under 19 Alliance League Cup. This will be played at the War Memorial Athletic Ground with a 2 pm kick-off and admission to this game is FREE!
The Glassgirls take a break from League action on Sunday when they welcome Sandwell Ladies to Greenfields in the Birmingham County Women’s Cup First Round. Kick-off is at 2.00 pm and admission, as always, is FREE!
FA CUP FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND
(Saturday 14th October, 3.00 pm kick-off - unless stated)
FC Halifax Town v Tranmere Rovers
Solihull Moors v Ossett Town
South Shields v Hartlepool United
Shaw Lane v Barrow (Sunday 15th October, 3.00 pm)
Chorley v Boston United
AFC Telford United v FC United of Manchester
Harrogate Town v Gainsborough Trinity
Nantwich Town v Kettering Town
Buxton v Gateshead
Guiseley v Shildon
AFC Fylde v Wrexham
Kidderminster Harriers v Chester
Scarborough Athletic v Hyde United
STOURBRIDGE v Macclesfield Town
Brackley Town v Billericay Town
Dagenham & Redbridge v Leyton Orient
Eastleigh v Hereford
Aldershot Town v Torquay United
Bath City v Chelmsford City
Oxford City v Bognor Regis Town
Maidenhead United v Havant & Waterlooville
Haringey Borough v Heybridge Swifts
Woking v Concord Rangers
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Truro City
Dover Athletic v Bromley
Slough Town v Folkestone Invicta
Burgess Hill Town v Dartford
St. Albans City v Boreham Wood (12.30 pm)
Maidstone United v Enfield Town
Margate v Leatherhead
Paulton Rovers v Sutton United
East Thurrock United v Ebbsfleet United
Altrincham v Halesowen Town
Barwell v Warrington Town
Grantham Town v Stalybridge Celtic
Hednesford Town v Workington
Lancaster City v Farsley Celtic
Marine v Matlock Town
Mickleover Sports v Rushall Olympic
Stafford Rangers v Ashton United
Sutton Coldfield Town v Whitby Town
Witton Albion v Coalville Town
Updated 18:07 - 14 Oct 2017 by Nigel Gregg