Hello, my name is Ian and after doing my (preview/review) blogs on this site covering all the games of Euro 2016. I decided to start a new project. To try to attend as many rounds of the FA Cup 2016/2017 season starting from the very beginning. I’ve gone well so far as well, having been to the Extra Preliminary Round, the Preliminary Round, the First Round Qualifying and then a few weeks back the Second Round Qualifying. This round then was the Third Round Qualifying and once again I decided to keep it local and go to a game in the Manchester/Greater Manchester area.
I again had a few options of local teams still in the competition to go and watch but the priority was a different team and a different ground. Below were my options:
Curzon Ashton FC vs Bedworth United FC
Stockport County FC vs Salford City FC
FC United of Manchester vs Harrogate Town FC
Altrincham FC vs Morpeth Town FC
Having already been to Alty for the last round and with both Curzon Ashton and FC United’s grounds on the other side of Manchester, although not that difficult to get to. I opted for the local derby of Stockport County vs Salford City. Stockport have gradually being going down the league over the past twenty years whilst Salford have been rising through the divisions the last few years. In that time Stockport were beating the likes of Manchester City in the old league two and Salford were playing in front of thirty odd people. How times have changed for all three of those local clubs.
Stockport isn’t the easiest place for me to get to from where I am, more so as there is no direct route. You either have to go into Altrincham or Manchester city centre and then make your way to Stockport that way. I’ve been to Stockport’s ground many times but surprisingly never for a football match. I’d been plenty of time ten years ago to watch Sale Sharks rugby club play there before they moved to a new stadium. I’ve also been to the beer festival at the ground quite a few times and trust me that is always a great occasion.
Anyway, my wife dropped me off five minutes from the ground and I head straight there with no time to meet my couple of mates who were already in a pub in Edgeley. I hadn’t thought you’d have to purchase a ticket for this game but there seemed to be many people in a queue at the ticket office on arrival. I had a scan around before asking a steward if there was any turnstile where you could pay cash, there was, turnstile 13 just around the corner was the answer. I wondered around and joined a queue of about five people, jobs a good un. £10 in, £4 cheaper than the last round at Altrincham and headed into The Cheadle End where I planned to sit anyway.
I headed to the top of the stand where I met my friends ten minutes before kick off, I have no affiliation with either team so there was an option to go in the away end. However, as I’ve always been in the home end for all the previous rounds I decided to follow suit. Stockport didn’t need the continued luck of me supporting the home team in these games, they weren’t outstanding but were easily the better team on the day in front of around 3000 home fans and 500 away fans. Stockport came out as 2-0 winners with goals from Danny Lloyd (Pen, 22nd min) and Michael Clarke (57th min) to send them through to the fourth and final qualifying round.
Where to next I hear you say, well I have a couple of options but potentially it’s going to have to be Altrincham again after FC United got knocked out. Either that or a trek down to Nantwich Town. I’ll decide next week. Thank you.