Football: FA Cup Secomd Round: Walker and Dixon looking to roll back the years

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The Independent Online
Places in the third round of the FA Cup are at stake this weekend. Paul Newman expects some upsets along the way.

When Clive Walker and Kerry Dixon were team-mates at Chelsea in the early 1980s they can hardly have imagined they would be renewing their acquaintance in the FA Cup some 14 years later. This afternoon, however, the two men meet when Cheltenham Town entertain Boreham Wood with one of football's great prizes at stake - a place in the Cup's third round.

Walker, now aged 40, came off Cheltenham's substitutes' bench last month to score the winner against Tiverton Town in the first round. On the opposing bench today will be Dixon, 36, who left Doncaster Rovers at the start of the season and joined his local club in order to keep fit. Dixon came on in the fourth qualifying round against Rushden & Diamonds and will again be a substitute today.

The Cheltenham-Boreham Wood tie ensures that there will be at least one non-League club in tomorrow afternoon's third round draw, which will be televised live by ITV at 6.15. However, it will be a surprise if there are not more.

Three GM Vauxhall Conference teams, Hednesford Town, Stevenage Borough and Hereford United, will all fancy their chances against opponents from the bottom half of the Third Division: Darlington, Cambridge United and Colchester respectively.

Hednesford have been insisting this week that Darlington should be the favourites, but the Third Division sided needed a replay, extra time and penalties to dispose of Solihill Borough in the last round and Hednesford have an exceptional Cup record over the last two years.

Last season the Staffordshire side gave Middlesbrough a scare after knocking out Blackpool and York, and in this season's first round they won away at Mark Hateley's Hull. Hednesford are second in the Conference, effectively just five places behind Darlington.

Stevenage go to Cambridge, who have been sliding down the Third Division table in recent weeks. On the equivalent day last year Stevenage won at Leyton Orient while Cambridge lost at home to Woking.

Hereford travel to Colchester but will be without the injured Ian Foster, who was one of the heroes of their first-round victory over Brighton, which avenged the defeat that cost Graham Turner's team their League status earlier this year.

Emley's chances of beating Lincoln City have not been helped by injuries to key players, but the UniBond League club should take heart from Lincoln's unimpressive performance in the last round. Gainsborough Trinity took the Third Division team to a replay, which they only lost 3-2.

King's Lynn, once a major power in non-League football, will relish the trip to Rotherham United, while their East Anglian neighbours, Wisbech Town, are playing in the second round for only the second time in their history. On the last occasion, 40 years ago, they lost 2-1 at Reading.

Wisbech are expecting to give Bristol Rovers a run for their money. Gary Childs, manager of the Dr Martens League Midland Division side, says that Rovers "are a footballing side and that will suit us because that's the way we play. We've got players all over the pitch capable of scoring goals."

Ilkeston Town's Matt Carmichael faces his former club, Scunthorpe United. Carmichael, who scored both of Ilkeston's goals in their first-round victory over Boston United, was sold to Scunthorpe by Lincoln City's then manager, Keith Alexander, who is now in charge of Ilkeston.

The most familiar foes of the afternoon will be the managers for Dagenham & Redbridge's visit to Peterborough. Barry Fry, Peterborough's manager, served a long apprenticeship in the non-League game, while his opposite number, Ted Hardy, is the oldest manager still in the Cup at 68.

Two Ryman League teams who did well to knock out League opposition in the last round will attempt to do so again. Basingstoke Town, who disposed of Wycombe Wanderers, travel to Northampton, while Hendon, who knocked out Leyton Orient last month, are away to Cardiff City, their conquerors a year ago.

Basingstoke's manager, Ernie Howe, the former Fulham centre-half, has had Northampton watched and received a 13-page report on the Second Division side. However, he will not be showing it to his team. "If I read all that to my players they would be frightened to death, and some of them wouldn't even turn up," he said.

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