The FA Cup gives our local sides a chance to play sides they rarely cross paths with. This Saturday is no exception as Bracknell Town welcome Cowes Sports to Larges Lane in the Extra Preliminary Round (ko 2pm).
Cowes Sports are based on the Isle of Wight and play in the Wessex League Premier Division. They finished 18th out of 22 in their league last season and will clearly be hoping to do much better this season.
The Yachtsmen have an impressive list of links with football league players with Jamie Lawrence (Jamaica international), Lee Bradbury (once a £3m club record signing for Manchester City) Gary Rowett (now Derby County manager) and James Hayter (the scorer of the fastest Football League hat-trick of all time) all having been registered on their books at some point.
Their current manager is ex-England international Stephen Hunt who took over the reins at Cowes at the end of last season. He enjoyed an excellent career playing almost 400 professional games for the likes of Coventry City, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion. Though the most interesting spell in his career was surely the 22 games at New York Cosmos where he played alongside Pele in the Brazilian’s last ever professional match.
This won’t be the first time that Cowes Sports have played against opposition from East Berkshire. In the 1999/2000 season’s FA Cup, Cowes Sports won 4-0 at Thatcham before exiting the competition in the next round losing to Slough Town by three goals to one. Cowes have also played against Sandhurst on two occasions, defeating them 1-0 in the FA Cup in 2006 season as well as defeating the Fizzers 4-1 in the Vase in 1997.
Perhaps most interesting with this weekend’s tie in mind is Cowes Sports 1999 FA Vase run where they defeated Bracknell Town 4-1 (AET) at Larges Lane on the way to the last 16 of the competition. The Robins will be hoping to do a little better than that this Saturday afternoon.