FA Cup Macc Magic
While it may not have the traditional value of a Third Round Day – and what little does any more in the age of the 5.15 cup final kick-off – the FA Cup first round is still capable of producing some magic moments for those sides who have scrapped through qualifier after qualifier to share the stage with the lower tiers of the Football League.
November 11th, 2013
If you need proof, just ask Macclesfield Town, who have for the second year running dumped League One side Swindon Town out of the competition; their handy 2-0 win from a year ago dwarfed by this year’s 4-0 drubbing. With Macclesfield going on to knock out Cardiff City in that third round to reach the fourth for the only time in the club’s 100-odd-year history, the team placed 11th in the Conference Premier have already shown some form in this competition.
Swindon, meanwhile, are level on points with sixth-placed Bradford City just outside the play-offs, but their own efforts are beginning to unravel with this second consecutive early elimination from the FA Cup. Manager Mark Cooper has apologised to the fans which travelled to support the side – all 305 according to the BBC – and has pledged to reimburse them by way of apology. With the most expensive visiting ticket costing £18, plus travel costs, it looks like Swindon will be scrapping for forgiveness for a while to come.
“It was the worst game I’ve been involved in as a manager… I felt sick all weekend,” said Cooper. “I just felt horrible. When your mind goes back to the game, you’re just trying to quantify it and work out what went wrong.”
The Macc Lads’ reward for victory is a home tie against Brackley Town or Gillingham – the latter themselves spared from defeat against the Conference North side via an equalising goal seven minutes into second-half injury time.