The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS -

AT the start of the season, Shaw Lane had never won an FA Cup game – now they’re dream­ing of the first round Promised Land.

The EVO-STIK Premier Ducks broke their cup duck back in Septem­ber when they beat Rad­cliffe Bor­ough.

An im­pres­sive sec­ond round qual­i­fy­ing win at National League North Blyth Spar­tans fol­lowed be­fore they over­came league ri­vals Lan­caster City last week­end.

Now they’ve been drawn against National League side Bar­row with the win­ners tak­ing their place in the hat when EFL clubs en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion.

And boss Craig El­liott wants his play­ers to seize the op­por­tu­nity.

“The FA Cup is one thing we re­ally wanted to do well in this season,” El­liott told The

NLP. “Since I’ve been at the club we’ve won pro­mo­tions, done well in lo­cal cups and had a good Tro­phy run last year. But the FA Cup is the one we’ve never re­ally been ready for.

“We’ve been lucky enough to win three games. We’ve got a dif­fi­cult game in Bar­row next but it’s an oc­ca­sion. It’s a day and a game to look for­ward to. That’s what it’s about – cre­at­ing mem­o­ries for the club and cre­at­ing his­tory as we go along. This is part of it. “We got Blyth away and it couldn’t have been harder at the time. They’d won six or seven on the trot and were scor­ing goals for fun. But we beat them. “It’s the same now. You might not think we can beat Bar­row, but it’s the FA Cup! We’re un­der­dogs and we’ll give it our best shot.” With play­ers like Damian Reeves, David Nor­ris and Chib Chi­laka in their ranks, the York­shire side have play­ers who know what it takes to cause an upset. And the Step 1 Blue­birds won’t be jump­ing for joy when they see their op­po­nent’s league po­si­tion. Af­ter win­ning the NPL South ti­tle last season, they’ve con­tin­ued their good mo­men­tum by win­ning 13 out of 14 games in all com­pe­ti­tions, while also top­ping the ta­ble af­ter ten wins in their first 13 league matches.

“We can’t com­plain,” El­liott said. “It’s go­ing a lot of bet­ter than I thought. We’re do­ing well in the FA Cup and top of the league, which is even more re­mark­able con­sid­er­ing we lost our first two games of the season. We’ll just en­joy it as much as we can.

“We just wanted to be an es­tab­lished Premier divi­sion club. We re­alise we’ve come a long way quickly and we just want to find our feet and feel like we’re part of the divi­sion.

“We didn’t want to go down, but we didn’t expect to be up the top. There are some big teams, on and off the pitch with fan bases and bud­gets, so it was just to es­tab­lish our­selves.

“That’s still the aim, to be hon­est. We’re still vis­it­ing grounds and teams we’ve never vis­ited, so it’s about en­joy­ing the ride. That’s what we want to do this year.”

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