Felixstowe & Walton face Barking in FA Cup clash

Felixstowe manager Kevin O'Donnell

Felixstowe manager Kevin O'Donnell - Credit: Archant

While still a couple of rounds away from Wembley on May 21, 13 to be precise, 184 Extra Preliminary Round ties kick-off the cup trail this weekend with Felixstowe & Walton United playing match number 96 when they host Essex Senior League Barking FC.

It will be a first-ever clash between the two clubs in any competition with their ESL opposition having played most of their league football in the Isthmian and Athenian Leagues.

While both clubs now play at the same level of the football pyramid, Barking will arrive with a strong FA Cup pedigree having reached the second round proper of the competition on five occasions, having gone head to head with Football League opposition, Aldershot 1978, Reading 1979, Gillingham 1926 & 1981 and Plymouth Argyle 1983.

Their fortunes may have waned in more recent times – they went out at this stage last season to Haverhill Rovers – but they remain a very difficult hurdle for the Seasiders.

They finished third in the Essex Senior League last season and have started this term on the front foot with a 2-2 draw at home to arch rivals Ilford last Saturday and a 5-1 demolition away at Waltham Abbey on Wednesday evening.

Those results sees them arrive at The Goldstar Ground in third place as they look to regain their Ryman League status next May.

It has been a brilliant start to the season for the Seasiders with two wins from their opening fixtures meaning they are one of only two sides yet to drop a point or concede a goal, which sees them go into the game in second place in the table.

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Manager Kevin O’Donnell was delighted with the side’s overall performance at Hadleigh on Tuesday (4-0 win) with the side looking solid all over the pitch and will no doubt be hoping they can carry that sort of form into today’s cup game which offers £1,500 to the winners and progress to bigger cash prizes in the later rounds.

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