Reds can’t afford sluggish start in FA Cup replay

Steve Stone. Picture: Neil Marshall
Steve Stone. Picture: Neil Marshall
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STEVE STONE insists Fareham Town have to start better if they are to beat Alresford Town in their FA Cup first qualifying replay at Cams Alders (7.45pm).

The two sides fought out a 1-1 draw in the first encounter and the winners have a home draw in the next round against Western League Cadbury Heath.

Stone felt a draw was a fair result but knows his team were lucky to escape after a poor first half.

Alresford, however, were guilty of wasting a series of golden opportunities and the visitors finished the game the stronger.

‘We started poorly at Alresford and we cannot afford to gift them so many chances again,’ said Stone.

‘It is a winnable game and being at home the onus will be on us to do that.

‘At Alresford we grew into the game and in the second half were a lot better.

‘We must look to carry on where we left off in that game.

‘There is no point in thinking about the next round until we get through this one.’

Meanwhile, Hawks boss Lee Bradbury regards the home draw against Hellenic League strugglers Highworth Town as a good opportunity to progress.

He said: ‘A home draw against a team playing two levels below you has to be good.

‘However, we won’t be taking anything for granted.

‘We put in a professional performance to beat Sholing in the last round and will look to do the same again.

‘Highworth will be treating it as their cup final and that will make them dangerous.

‘The FA Cup is littered with shock results and we have to make sure we are not on the wrong end of one.’

AFC Portchester chairman Paul Kelly is delighted with the home draw against Southern League premier division outfit Merthyr Town.

The Royals have been in excellent form in the competition.

They will be in a positive frame of mind for the contest and have nothing to fear after achieving two Cup upsets already.

‘We are well pleased with the draw,’ said Kelly.

‘It should make for a big cup occasion.

‘We have already knocked out two Southern league teams and will now aim to make it three.

‘The lads were excellent at Bideford and will be well up for this one.’

Bognor travel to Billericay Town in what is a tough looking all-Ryman Premier tie.

FA Cup second qualifying round draw (selected): Hawks v Highworth Town, AFC Portchester v Merthyr Town, Billericay Town v Bognor, Alresford or Fareham v Cadbury Heath, Weymouth or Paulton Rovers v Gosport Borough.