Road to Wembley 17/18: Preliminary Round

West Didsbury and Chorlton 1-3 1874 Northwich

This was my second F.A. Cup replay in Manchester in two days, but it wasn’t the main reason I’d visited the city.

The True Faith exhibition in Manchester Art Gallery is what I’d come to see.
It’s an exhibition celebrating the iconic artistry and influence of both Joy Division and New Order.
I spent over three hours there looking at the artwork and record sleeve designs, but mainly watching rare archive live footage of both bands.

I even had a chance to visit the National Museum yet again afterwards.
I had a reason to this time.

As I was doing the F.A. Cup ‘Road to Wembley’ last season, I was reluctant to have my picture taken holding the cup, in case it brought me bad luck.
It’s common knowledge that players have the same superstition building up to cup finals, so I thought it sensible not to.

Now that it’s completed, the fear has gone, so I jumped at the chance of a photo opportunity.

I was even offered a chance of a photo with the League Cup.
I politely turned that down. Hours later my team were knocked out of the competition, so maybe that superstition is rubbish.

I headed back to Chorlton (not Charlton) and realised that I’d overestimated the Manchester rush hour.

I had two hours to kill before the game, so rather than head to the chippy I took advantage of ‘Steak Night’ at the local Wetherspoons.

I quite like Chorlton, it has a village feel about it, whilst still being a suburb of a major city.
It was a pleasant walk down to the Recreation Ground.

My first impression of the ground was its scenic setting, although I was a bit disappointed that although there are some seats behind one goal (next to the clubhouse) and a small shed at the other end, there is no other seating, or cover along the sides.

I had a chat with the gateman from Maine Road before the game, and also legendary Man City groundhopper Tony Morehead.
It was only August, but this was Tony’s 58th game  of the season!!

There was a decent crowd building, but with most in the bar, there were probably more flags around the pitch than fans.

There was a small grassy bank on one side, so I chose that slight elevation to view the first half.
Unfortunately with it being a mild evening, many midges joined me.

1874 Northwich are a team started by Northwich Victoria fans unhappy with the way their club was being run (sounds familiar) and they must have taken great pleasure knocking them out of the F.A. Cup in the Extra Preliminary round.

Probably not as much as they did when Northwich beat Charlton in the F.A. Cup  in 2009.
I was one of 300 Addicks fans watching us lose there that day, and live on ITV too!

They normally play in green, but chose to wear claret and blue tonight despite the home team wearing white and black.

The early stages of the game were fairly equal possession wise, although Northwich were getting closer with more shots on target.

Samuel Hind was in the box to tap Northwich ahead though in the 23rd minute.

Matthew Kay was unlucky not to equalise for West Didsbury when hits shot hit the bar, and Northwich took their lead into the break.

The second half continued to be end to end, keeping the crowd of 304 entertained.
This was the first F.A. Cup game this season that i’d heard chanting, and in equal measure from both sets of fans.

West Didsbury levelled in the 62nd minute from Thomas Bailey, and I started to mentally prepare for another evening of extra time.

Fifteen minutes later Northwich were ahead again though, when Jake Parker headed home at the back stick.

West Didsbury smelt defeat, and a few cynical tackles started coming in.
The worst was probably from Richmond Botchey, who was already on a yellow card.
He was giving a straight red and it looked like Northwich were going through.

This was confirmed on the last minute when Adam Whitlock thundered home to give 1874 Northwich a 3-1 win, and a trip to Mossley in the 1st Qualifying round.

It appears that, not only can Charlton not beat Northwich, but Chorlton can’t either.

After walking 6 miles to and from the previous night’s game, I decided to give my legs a rest and head to Manchester on the bus, then another back to Salford.

Our thanks to Andy Phillips. Follow him on Twitter!

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