Cuckoos looking for some revenge

Matt Sparrow in FA Cup action for Yaxley against Harborough.
Matt Sparrow in FA Cup action for Yaxley against Harborough.
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Yaxley are gearing up for an FA Cup revenge mission this Saturday.

The Cuckoos entertain higher-level Dereham Town in a first qualifying round clash at In2itive Park (3pm).

And there will be no shortage of motivation to beat the Norfolk side, who put them out of the famous competition in agonising style last season.

Yaxley were seconds from success when leading 4-3 in the dying moments of a preliminary round tie only for a goalkeeping gaffe from Andy Stevens to hand Dereham a leveller. They then triumphed 1-0 in the replay.

Boss Brett Whaley said: “We were all gutted to go out against Dereham last season after coming so close to getting through.

“But we showed across two games that we can compete with them and we’re looking forward to challenge of facing a higher-level team again.

“It’s a long time since we got past this stage and while we’re not quite at full-strength, we’ve scored plenty of goals lately and we’re well suited to playing on our pitch.

“The FA Cup is always a nice distraction and the prize money certainly comes in handy for clubs at our level who struggle to get people in through the gate.”

Yaxley have already banked close to £3,500 for negotiating the opening two rounds of the FA Cup.

There’s another £3,000 up for grabs for the winners on Saturday when Yaxley will hope to continue their free-scoring form of recent days.

They beat fellow United Counties League Premier Division side Harborough Town 5-3 in the previous round of the FA Cup on August 19 and then followed up with an 8-1 triumph against Northampton outfit ON Chenecks last Saturday to register a first league win of the campaign.

They were without a host of senior players - including ace marksman Dan Cotton - for both of those games.

Whaley added: “We had a good pre-season but were then poor in the first few games.

“But we’ve started to score goals and be a bit more clinical than we are sometimes. We’ve got a good squad and it’s been pleasing to see players come in and take their chance while others are out or away.”

Yaxley were due to visit unbeaten leaders Holbeach for a Premier Division clash last night (Wednesday).

Holbeach, managed by city man Seb Hayes, are also in FA Cup action this Saturday as they face an all-Lincolnshire clash at Grantham Town, who play two levels higher in the EvoStik Premier Division.

Deeping Rangers (who go to lower-level Staffordshire side Brocton, of the Midland Football League) and Wisbech Town (away to Step 4 side AFC Kempston Rovers, who won the UCL Premier Division title two seasons ago) are also involved in the FA Cup.

Rangers and Wisbech both claimed higher-level scalps - Barton Rovers and Spalding United respectively - in the last round.