Home sweet home for Hawks yet again, but Gosport handed tough away Trophy tie

Hawks will start their FA Trophy campaign with a home tie against Southern League Division One South outfit Cinderford Town at Westleigh Park.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 2:01 pm
Gosport's Tim Sills celebrates one of his two goals in Borough's 2-0 Trophy semi final second leg win over Hawks in 2014 - one of two occasions Hawks have reached the last four.

It is a fourth successive home draw in national knock-out competitions this season – after FA Cup ties with Taunton, Hadley and Dulwich - and manager Paul Doswell insists they must capitalise on their good fortune.

'It is another good draw for us,' he said. ‘We are at home against opponents who play two levels below us.

'In the FA Cup we failed to make the most of our home advantage against Dulwich Hamlet.

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'I am looking for us to make up for that in the Trophy.

'It is a competition where National League South clubs can go all the way.

‘The golden nugget for the players is the chance to play at Wembley if you reach the final.

'Not many players at our level get the opportunity to do that.

'It is the carrot that I will dangle before my players before the game.

'I know it is early days coming into the qualifying rounds but in reality five or six games can get you there.

'We will start as favourites against Cinderford but won't be underestimating them.

'They will be more than a half-decent side and we won't be able to take anything for granted.’

Hawks have twice reached the Trophy semi-finals, losing to Tamworth in 2002/03 and to Gosport Borough in 2013/14.

As for Gosport, they have been handed a daunting trip to National League South club Bath City in the third qualifying round on Saturday, November 23.

Borough manager Lee Molyneaux is under no illusions to the size of the task facing his team.

'We couldn't have got a much tougher draw,' said Molyneaux.

'It will be a good experience for us and will give us an indication of where we are.

'We feel that we are playing Conference standard football and all the pressure will be on our hosts.

'They get a lot of support and there should be a really good atmosphere.

'A lot of our players have played at their level and higher, so going there won't faze us.

'With the calibre of players we have in our squad, we feel we can give them a good test.

'They will probably be more worried about us.'

Bognor Regis Town visit National League South basement side Tonbridge Angels.

Pompey loanee Bradley Lethbridge scored twice as The Rocks defeated East Thurrock 3-1 in last weekend’s second qualifying round tie.

Third qualifying round winners will receive £3,750, while the losers will bank £1,250.