Ritchie eyes another run as Hawks land North Leigh

Hawks boss Stuart Ritchie
Hawks boss Stuart Ritchie
Rowan Vine. Picture: Keith Woodland

Vine calling for Gosport to fight to the finish

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The Hawks will start their FA Cup campaign in Oxfordshire after being drawn away to Southern League south & west division outfit North Leigh in the second qualifying round.

New manager Stuart Ritchie will be looking to repeat last season’s FA Cup success with AFC Totton who he took to the second round proper.

Ritchie and the club enjoyed great exposure as they took on League Two side Bristol Rovers live on television.

He then left Totton in the summer to take charge of the Westleigh Park club, who also have a great tradition in competition.

In the 2007-08 season, the Hawks knocked out York City, Notts County and Swansea City on their way to an epic fourth-round tie against Liverpool at Anfield.

The following season they featured in a live televised first-round tie against Brentford at Westleigh Park.

‘The FA Cup is a great competition and a good run can bring your season alive,’ said Ritchie.

‘Last year was great at AFC Totton and we have to hope for a good run with the Hawks.

‘A good run can help boost the confidence in a team.

‘At the moment we are just trying to build the basis of a side that can do well in all competitions.’

Cup opponents North Leigh played Gosport Borough during pre-season and Borough assistant manager Mick Catlin was impressed by them.

He had a warning for the Hawks.

‘The Hawks won’t find it easy because they have an awkward, sloping pitch,’ said Catlin.

‘They also have a useful side who played us off the park.’

Meanwhile, Fareham Town, who defeated Christchurch 2-1 in the last round, have been drawn at home against fellow Wessex League premier division side Blackfield & Langley.

‘We have to see a home draw against a team at the same level as a good one,’ said Reds boss Matt Parr.

Bognor travel to Maidenhead United, with all games to be played on Saturday, September 22.