Bolton Wanderers v Grimsby Town – FA Cup 1st Round

Lofty The Lion provided the entertainment that the match lacked

Lofty The Lion provided the entertainment that the match lacked

The Saturday FA Cup matches took the football nation team to the Macron Stadium to watch Bolton v Grimsby. Not our first visit to this ground by any means, but the first since it rebranded from the Reebok Stadium.

It was a very chilly afternoon in Lancashire which may have contributed to the sparse home crowd, but doesn’t really explain the lack of atmosphere generated by the home supporters. We can’t remember one chant or song – in fact several spectators near us didn’t even bother to celebrate the goal.

By contrast, the Grimsby fans at the opposite end were in good voice throughout and they certainly generated what atmosphere there was. In fairness, neither set of fans had much to shout about in what was a fairly low key match. Bolton took the lead after 20 mins through Liam Trotter, and they were the better team in the first half. Grimsby put some pressure on the home defence in the second half and did create a couple of good chances, but they were missed. In reply, Bolton had a couple of good runs from Zac Clough, who looked like the best player on the park today.

The appearance of Lofty The Lion was equally as entertaining as the match itself, although we weren’t sure about his sidekick Lofty Junior, who seemed to think it was dress down Friday as he turned up in jeans.

Bolton v Grimsby Match Stats (Sky Sports)

We’ll await the draw for the second round and try to get to at least one game.

Eastleigh v Swindon Town – FA Cup 1st Round

After an Extra Preliminary, a Preliminary and four Qualifying Rounds of the FA Cup so far, tonight was the FA Cup 1st Round proper began. There was two fixtures on, Millwall vs Southend United and live on BBC2 from the Silverlake Stadium was Eastleigh vs Swindon Town. These two games were the start of a full on weekend of fixtures across the country in this great competition.


FA Cup 1st Round proper

Hello to all you football and FA cup fans out there, my name is James Connors from the football website Two Footed Tackle and I love sport and in particular football. I’m a freelance writer and I recently contacted Football Nation to see if I could do a guest blog for them. As they’re a new outfit and have a brand new website as you can see, they were very pleased for any more of a contribution. Therefore here is the rest of my FA Cup 1st Round report…

With no plans tonight and not much on TV I decided to watch the game, I think I was always going to anyway, I absolutely love the FA Cup.

There are 35 places between these two teams, but you wouldn’t have known that in the first twenty minutes or so. Eastleigh had the majority of the ball, but without being right on top of Swindon as the game didn’t really have a high tempo to begin with. Coulson had the first real chance just three minutes in, he cut inside from the left and hit a low shot into near post that Swindon keeper Vigouroux turned around the post for the first corner of the game. Mikael Mandron then had a very good half chance after 10 minutes, when he should have done so much better with a clear-cut header after a great ball from the left from Green.

Maybe Swindon not starting the best was down to their lack of confidence after their very poor start to the season. They’ve only won four all season in the league and only one of them away from home, goals have been hard to come by as well with just 16 in total.


Mandron celebrating giving Eastleigh the lead

For that reason, Eastleigh kept at them with Coulson and the over lapping Green being the main threat down the left for the first 25 minutes or so. Swindon did have one chance in that time when Luke Norris himself cut in from the left and hit a low shot that Clarke saved to give Swindon their first corner.

Things could have changed dramatically mid-way through second half for Swindon when their captain Nathan Thompson went off injured. However, all they may have missed in presence the injury helped with their formation, changing from three at the back to four. With that they gradually came back into game.

Just moments later an outstanding save from Clarke from a close range header kept Eastleigh in the game. With goal line technology though, a goal may have been given as it did look like the whole ball had just about crossed the line from the reply.


Great save from Clarke but was it over the line?

Swindon should have taken the lead just before the 60 minute mark with the first and best chance for either team. They didn’t though and moments later Eastleigh were in front when Mandron header in a close range free kick that Vigouroux just mis-read as he came out of his goal.

Five or six minutes later and Swindon were level, Doughty ran onto a great through ball and got to it just ahead of Clarke in-goal who caught his legs and brought him down. Doughty himself stepped up to take it and the game was back on again.

Eastleigh could have won it late on when an excellent and last-minute clearance off the line saved Swindon being the first cup upset of this season’s competition.

No team wanted a reply, but a reply is what they got as the game finished 1-1. A good all round cup tie, although it was end to end and as frantic as some may of thought it would be.

Altrincham v Matlock Town – FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round

As part of our quest to visit football grounds around the country, Football Nation decided to pay a visit to Moss Lane to watch the FA Cup 4th qualifying round tie between Altrincham FC and Matlock Town.

A crowd of 1071 witnessed the home side come from behind to win 3-1. This took them into the 1st round proper, where they were rewarded with an away tie against Lincoln City.

An entertaining match at a proper old fashioned non league ground. We’ll try to get to a 1st round match in November.