Wednesday 9th September 2020
Royal Wootton Bassett Town will be aiming to cause an upset when they travel to face Didcot Town in the Emirates FA Cup Preliminary round on Saturday (3pm kick off).
The tie against the Railwaymen was Bassett's reward for prevailing on penalties against Chipping Sodbury Town in the Extra Preliminary round last week.
With one level separating the teams, Bassett go into the game against their Southern League Division One Central opponents as underdogs. But that is a role that Sam Collier's side will relish, with the pressure being on Didcot to avoid a shock exit.
As well as being an opportunity to spring a surprise, the tie represents the chance for Bassett to reacquaint themselves with former Hellenic League opponents. Indeed, it will be the first meeting between the teams since the 2004-05 season.
That year Bassett were relegated from the Hellenic League Premier Division, while Didcot finished runners-up to Highworth Town. But in what was arguably their most famous season, the Railwaymen more than made up for missing out on the league title by winning the FA Vase.
Current manager Jamie Heapy played a key role in that side – and he helped Didcot achieve even more success in national competitions when he oversaw their journey to the FA Cup first round in 2015-16, where his team hosted Exeter City in a televised fixture.
Heapy will therefore be hoping that facing step five opponents can kick start a similar run for Didcot this season.
But his opposite number Collier is hoping to mastermind a victory for Bassett that will see his side through to the First Qualifying round for only the fourth time in the club's history.
Doing so would require Bassett to win on a ground that has not been kind to them over the years. Six previous visits to the GWR Loop Meadow Stadium have yielded just one triumph – that being a hugely impressive 3-1 victory courtesy of goals from Ben Gascoyne, John Magani and Matt Bennett in August 2003 (the report from that game can be read here).
Bassett have recorded just one further away win against their Oxfordshire opponents, that coming at their old Station Road ground in a 3-1 Hellenic League Division One Cup triumph in the 1993-94 season.
The FA Cup is famous for throwing up surprises though – and Bassett will be desperate to pull one off in Oxfordshire on Saturday.
Please note the fixture is an all ticket game. Anyone not in possession of a ticket is kindly requested not to travel to Didcot.Last modified on Wednesday 9th September 2020 at 09:37.