Handsworth Parramore edged Maine Road 1-0 in the extra preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup.
For many who follow the Premier League or Championship closely, there is something special about seeing a lower-league team progress through the competition with the potential to cause an upset.
The anticipation is palpable in the early rounds, with non-league footballers dreaming of playing at thousand-seater stadiums, and the fans just as excited to visit.
- Emirates FA Cup
- Extra Preliminary Round
- Saturday 11 August
- Brantingham Road
- Winning club receive £2,250
Set up by Manchester City supporters in 1955, Maine Road is one of those clubs. Their home, Brantingham Road, is a far cry from the infamous Maine Road that stood in the heart of Moss Side for 80 years. The atmosphere? It’s just as good.
Neither team have made it through the qualifying rounds of the Emirates FA Cup before, but that didn’t stop the Handsworth Parramore fans making the 44-mile trip over the Pennines to get a taste of FA Cup glory.
Last year they were knocked out in a second round qualifying replay by FC United of Manchester, a team set up by Manchester United fans, so a win here would have been even sweeter.
Maine Road started the game strongly and were unlucky not to score after six minutes when Jamie Roe’s mis-kick was headed safely into the hands of Handsworth’s keeper Philip Barnes from defender Oliver Yates.
It was 24 minutes before Handsworth saw their first real chance of the match when some clever footwork from new signing Cameron Rigby set up his fellow newcomer Jake Currie, only for hesitation to see Currie’s shot blocked. The ball fell to Jonathan Froggatt who hit his shot well over.
The deadlock was finally broken just after the half-hour mark. A long throw-in from captain Oscar Radford met Froggatt before he found Jed Phillips who slotted the ball past the helpless James Downhill to give Handsworth the lead.
Cracks were beginning to show for Maine Road as they struggled to keep a solid formation.
The second half was much of the same story. Referee Oliver Nolan was called into action repeatedly as temperatures started to rise.
It was a fragmented second half and chances were few and far between.
Maine Road could not find a way back and it wasn’t to be for them this year as the final whistle blew.
Maine Road may have been relegated last season, but according to stand-in manager Jeffrey Newman, there’s a fighting mentality in the dressing room.
“It’s a good atmosphere, people are critical of their own performances which is a good thing.
“We’ve brought in a bit of a camaraderie before the game and hopefully after the game. The future’s quite good.”
Handsworth Parramore will now play Congleton Town in the preliminary round on Saturday 25 August, kick-off 3pm.