FA Cup adventure starts for Horsham YMCA, Broadbridge Heath and Loxwood

The FA Cup. Picture courtesy of Getty Images
The FA Cup. Picture courtesy of Getty Images

Broadbridge Heath are the stars of this weekend’s FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round with their visit to Punjab United set to be broadcast live on the BBC.

Fans from around the country can watch the Bears by tuning in to either the BBC Sport website, app or iPlayer this Saturday at 12.30pm.

Heath, have never won an FA Cup match, only making their debut in the competition two years ago.

Their Kent-based opponents meanwhile, who were the subject of a BBC documentary last season, will be making their FA Cup bow this year.

Formed in 2003, Punjab were promoted to the Southern Counties East League in 2017 as the first Asian team to win the Kent County League.

The Bears’ assistant manager Sam Chapman is looking forward to the match being broadcast to the nation.

He said: “I think everyone’s a bit excited. It’s very much a one off, but it is just another game for us, where we can hopefully build again.”

Chapman also revealed the squad will be given a boost with the return of central powerhouse Andy Waddingham.

He added: “He’s an important player who glues things together for us, especially defensively and in midfield so him being back for Saturday is good.”

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Horsham YMCA are also in FA Cup action with manager Peter Buckland claiming 'all caution will be thrown out the window' for his side’s home encounter with Croydon on Saturday.

YM have failed to progress past the first qualifying round for each of the last three years and Buckland is hoping for a longer stint in the world’s oldest cup competition this season.

He said: “It’s always a special day, regardless, and all your thoughts on who is or isn’t available go out the window.

“It obviously has got a shelf life. Unlike the Vase, you can only go so far in the FA Cup, but it’s all about a bit of glory and money at our level. If we can get through at least three rounds, we can really earn a few quid.

On facing Croydon, Buckland revealed he wasn’t fazed by the Southern Counties East Division One side, who were relegated from the Premier Division last year, finishing bottom, and over 20 points adrift.

He said: “The draw has been reasonably kind to us. Croydon are a good club, but we’re drawn at home in the FA Cup and there’s nothing more you can ask for really. From the first minute to the last, we’ll just be going for it to win the game.”

Meanwhile, Loxwood boss Alex Walsh said his squad were 'up for the challenge', when they host Combined Counties Premier side, Abbey Rangers.

Neither side have ever reached the first qualifying round, while the Magpies’ opponents have never won an FA Cup match, only first entering the competition in 2016.

Despite this, Walsh remains coy on his team’s chances. He said: “I am looking forward to it, the FA Cup is a great competition. I’ve done a little bit of research on Abbey Rangers and they finished in the top three in their league last season, so we know they’re going to be a good side.

“Anyone that comes to us this season are going to have to earn it and Abbey Rangers are a good side. There’s no doubt we’ll be the underdogs. It’s an FA Cup game so it’s important to try and get at the teams, especially at home, and we’re up for the challenge.”