Gravesend on Cup trail

Non-League football

Every one of the 56 non-League clubs taking part in this weekend's FA Cup fourth qualifying round will, of course, be hoping for a place in tomorrow's draw for the first round proper and a tie against a Football League club. There may be no need to wait until next month for a "giant- killing", however, for there are several potential upsets waiting to happen in tomorrow's Cup fixture list.

Gravesend & Northfleet made it to the third round last season, when they enjoyed a great day out despite their defeat at Aston Villa. A major obstacle stands between the Kent club and a place in the first round this term: the GM Vauxhall Conference champions, Stevenage Borough, who visit Gravesend tomorrow. The Dr Martens League club will be encouraged, however, by the fact that Stevenage have lost their last two away games - at Woking and Farnborough.

Just across the River Thames, Canvey Island will be looking for their second consecutive appearance in the first round. The Essex club, who took Brighton to a replay last year, have a home tie against Sudbury Town.

Cinderford Town also made a name for themselves last season. Knocked out by Gravesend in the second round after beating Bromsgrove Rovers in the first, the little Forest of Dean club have an intriguing home tie against Farnborough Town, who have often relished their role as underdogs in the past but are very much the favourites to make progress this time.

In contrast to Cup regulars like Farnborough, Consett have reached the first round only once: in 1958, when they lost 5-0 at Doncaster Rovers. The Northern League side, who started this year's Cup campaign in August at Alnwick in the preliminary round, have made it this far despite failing to beat Durham City in the second qualifying round. After a 1-1 draw at Durham, the replay was cancelled and awarded to Consett after it was revealed that Durham had fielded a player who had played for South Shields in an earlier round. Tomorrow Consett make the short trip to Gateshead.

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