"AFC Telford take on Ravens in First Round Qualifying clash"
Match Date : September 2nd, 2023 3:00 pm
Competition : FA Cup
Ground : New Bucks Head
Kick Off : 15:00
Kevin Wilkin’s men are in FA Cup action this Saturday, when Coalville Town will visit the New Bucks Head for a First Round Qualifying clash.
The Ravens came within a whisker of winning the Southern League Premier Central last season, losing out to champions Tamworth on goal difference alone. Coalville and Tamworth had identical records at the end of the campaign, but the Ravens’ goal difference of 50 was three less than that of the Lambs. And after that incredibly near miss, Town subsequently lost on penalties in the playoff semi final to eventual winners Rushall.
Coalville have consistently featured towards the top of the table since the creation of the Southern League Premier Central’s creation for the 2018/19 season, and the Leicestershire club have placed 3rd and 2nd in the last two campaigns.
Manager Adam Stevens returned to the Owen Street Sports Ground in May 2018 after a three-and-half-year spell at Grantham Town. Stevens had previously managed the Ravens for seven seasons between 2007 and 2014. And Stevens has kept the vast majority of the squad that went so close last season. Strikers Tim Berridge and Ashley Chambers and midfielder Tom McGlinchey bagged a combined 49 league goals last term and all return this campaign. Meanwhile, arrivals include winger Wes York (Brackley) and centre half Ash Carter, who turned down a move to the Bucks in November 2021 to stay at his club at the time, Alvechurch.
With a largely settled squad, it’s something of a surprise that the Ravens have been very up and down this season. Coalville have soundly beat Leamington, Bromsgrove and Barwell, but have fallen to defeat against Stourbridge, Needham Market and Royston. And that means that Town have both the division’s second-best attack and its second-worst defence so far.
It’s also worth noting that Coalville had the division’s best away record last season, winning 14, drawing three and losing four of their 21 games on the road. What’s more, the Ravens made it to the FA Cup First Round last season, knocking out Notts County in the process. Town won 3-2 at Meadow Lane in their Fourth Round Qualifying clash, and they were well in the game at Charlton Athletic before two late goals saw the Addicks run out 4-1 winners. Coalville also won 3-1 at Chesterfield in the FA Trophy.
The Bucks have been knocked out of the Cup by lower league opposition in each of the last six campaigns and have won just two FA Cup games in the last five years. Kevin Wilkin will be hoping to improve that record as he takes charge of his first FA cup game as AFC Telford manager.