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It’s Basingstoke

Ah, the FA Cup. The glamour, the romance, the cliches. The only time when the local butcher, baker and kebab shop owner get to play highly paid professionals on a metaphoric level playing field, if not always a literal one.

And so it comes to pass that we’re at Basingstoke Town. For those of you who remember, we played them when we passed through the BSS for the season. From memory, the first half of our game at their place was some of the most cutting-edge football I can remember a Wimbledon team ever playing. The fact it only ended 1-0 may make me sound like a Wrexham fan, but another performance like that will do us well.

Of course, the return leg at KM was one of the most nerve-wracking games of a trouser parping run-in too. Personally, I like cup ties at teams from different divisions, because it shows not only where we could be (ie L2) but also where we were just a mere two years ago. It seems like ages now, but it’s impossible to remember how recently such games were.

We have progressed so quickly that three mere seasons ago, we were praying to be contesting games at Basingstoke. Do that, and we had “made it” into the Blue Square South. In October 2010, going to Mansfield and Wrexham doesn’t feel the big deal it once was, so you can imagine how we feel about a trip down the M3.

The trouble is of course that it’s the FA Cup. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we could get turfed out of it down at the Camrose. It’s one of those ties where if we prepare properly we should win, but it can also go very wrong too.

What odds on a replay? It’s the sort of thing that can happen, certainly as much as a 4-0 thumping and the rest of the weekend cockstroking over possibly playing Franchise. Perhaps more than some of the high profile games we’ve had thus far, we will need an exceptional amount of concentration, patience and above all else a need to stop doing our usual Good Game Bad Game routine.

Makes you wonder what sort of team we’ll put out, too. The FAC is important to us, dare I say vital? As much as I’d like us to give the likes of Rhys Reece Jones and Jon Main much needed run-outs, this game is too important for us to throw away easily. It’s not the London or Slurrey Senior Cups (which ironically we take much more seriously these days), nor the FA Trophy which deep down we are starting to find a hinderance. Like a typical “big” Conference side does…

It could have been a better draw, but it could have been worse, too. Thankfully we avoided somebody in our division, as the FAC should really be about revisiting old haunts or Debenham-esque new experiences. But deep down I think we would have preferred Ks or Carshalton or even Wealdstone or Met Police. Even with a lesser squad we should win those sort of ties.

As it stands, we’re playing a side who at time of typing are 15th in the BSS and have only won twice at home. I will be happy at 4.50pm on the 23rd to come away with a single goal victory and no injuries. I bet I’m not the only one…