Southend United v Chertsey Town…
Pitching in Isthmian League South Central outfit Chertsey Town head to Roots Hall on Saturday to face Southend United in what will be both side’s first ever involvements in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round.
Last weekend’s 4-0 defeat against Chesterfield extended a torrid run of form which has seen the Blues pick up just one win in their last nine outings, ultimately costing Phil Brown and Craig Fagan their jobs as manager and assistant manager respectively.
And with right-back Jason Demetriou temporarily in charge, Southend must now do battle with the Curfews, who have gathered good momentum having seen off three other non-league sides to reach this stage of the competition.
Whilst Kevin Maclaren’s Chertsey will be fighting tooth and nail for a spot in the First Round Proper, they will have to deal with the quality of a side three divisions above themselves, setting the fixture up to be a fascinating encounter in both sides’ first-ever meeting.
The Curfews currently ply their trade in one of several eighth tiers of English football.
Founded in 1890, they have a rich history in the lower reaches of the non-league scene and in recent times, have had some great success too.
The 2018/19 campaign was an exceptional one for the Surrey based side, as they cruised to promotion from the Combined Counties League Premier Division, winning the league with six games to spare.
On top of their status as champions, The Curfews also won the FA Vase at Wembley Stadium, beating Cray Valley Paper Mills 3-1 after extra time.
Overseeing such success and still in charge is player-manager Maclaren, the 32-year-old has featured twice for his side in midfield so far this season.
Year after year, the FA Cup proves that league form is meaningless.
However, The Blues will be keen to arrest their poor run which has seen them pick up just three points from their last possible 18 in the National League.
Their victory over Eastleigh on Tuesday, October 5th was their first since the opening day and it will be weighing on the Shrimpers’ minds that a win is much needed.
Southend’s opposition have enjoyed a great start to the 21/22 campaign, they haven’t lost a match so far this season.
Maclaren’s side have won all their last three matches in all competitions, sitting seventh in the league standings whilst also making it through to the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy last weekend via a 2-1 victory over VCD Athletic.
From Interim Head Coach, Jason Demetriou:
"There has to be a cutting edge, but it’s only for a week.
"The boys have reacted well and we’re really looking forward to Saturday now.
"There are smiles back on the faces and we want a win.
"I’ve stayed in the changing room with the boys and it will be a hard decision to pick the team.
"I’m mates with them and we all get on really well.
"I knew this was the job and it was going to be the difficult thing but it’s something I want to go to in the future so it’s nice to have a little taste.
"We need a good positive performance with smiles back on people’s faces."
From The Opposition – Chertsey Town Chairman Mark Turner:
"It (the cup run) has been brilliant, we’ve had a difficult tie every single round," said Turner
"I’m really proud of the lads, especially when you consider how many months we had off during lockdown then you come back with this run of games, it’s been testing for the lads.
"It’d be massive, more so for our secretary Chris Gay, he’s approaching 50 years at the club and one of his goals was to play at Wembley, the other was to reach the First Round Proper and his Dad comes from Southend, so there are a few omens, I’m hoping the stars align for us.
"I think it would be our biggest achievement, my biggest achievement, the club’s biggest achievement and all the players’ biggest achievements, and that’s the magnitude of it.
"We’re a million miles away from Southend as a football club and an entity, so even to be on the same stage as them, it’s just great to go up against a full-time set-up.
"We’re going there with a positive attitude, and we’ll see where it takes us.
"England struggled to beat San Marino a couple of years ago, and you’re thinking you couldn’t get more worlds apart, strange things happen in football all the time, that’s why we all love it and it gives everyone a chance.
"It’s the biggest task we’ve ever faced."
Blues’ Team News:
Abu Ogogo’s foot injury is not as bad as first feared, but he will remain out for the Chertsey clash.
Josh Coulson remains out long-term with the ankle injury he suffered at Solihull Moors.
Tom Clifford is also a long-term absentee.
Callum Walchester will take charge of proceedings when Chertsey come to town on Saturday.
Usually refereeing in the National League South, Walchester heads to Roots Hall on Saturday for the first time since his appearance as fourth official when The Blues hosted Tranmere Rovers in January 2020.
The referee’s last match came when Concord Rangers lost 3-0 to Chippenham Town.
Walchester will be assisted by Stephen Parkinson and Thomas Kelly, with Jack Bloxham as fourth official.
Key fixtures elsewhere in the FA Cup:
Bromsgrove Sporting v Grimsby Town
Bowers and Pitsea v Aldershot Town
Curzon Ashton v Chesterfield
Dover Athletic v Yate Town
Eastleigh v Folkestone
Hereford v Solihull Moors
Horsham v Woking
Hungerford v Bromley
King’s Lynn Town v Peterborough Sports
Maidenhead United v Hastings
Marine v Wrexham
Pontefract Collieries v FC Halifax
Stockport County v Stamford
Tamworth v Notts County
Torquay v Havant and Waterlooville
Yeovil Town v Weymouth
How to Follow:
Tickets are on sale for the game from the Blues Box Office online, on the phone (0344 477 0077) or in person. Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for concessions - there is no price increase on the day.
Blues fans unable to attend Roots Hall will still be able to follow all the live action by subscribing to Blues TV where you’ll get live match commentary from the BBC Essex team from all first-team matches this season.
Blues TV costs £4.49 per month or a one-off cost of £45 for the season, with your subscription not only giving you match commentary, but also exclusive access to extended match highlights, full pre-match press conferences, interviews, features and more.
You can also follow live minute-by-minute updates on social media via the Club’s official Twitter account by following @SUFCRootsHall on Twitter, which will ensure you get all the latest news and more throughout the 2021/22 season.
The matchday programme ‘Roots Review’ will be available to buy outside the stadium from the programme hut on Saturday. Included in the programme is an interview with Will Atkinson, an in-depth preview of our opposition, a Blues FA Cup fact-file, a brilliant feature on Eddie Firmani and loads more besides.
The programme hut is based at the bottom of the main car park off Victoria Avenue.
Reduced quantities will be available from some bars and kiosks also.
A digital matchday programme can be bought via MatchDay Digital.