Fans of Hemel Hempstead Town,
Halesowen Town, Rocester, Bashley and Brackley Town are all being urged to
pledge their support for one of their heroes from last weekend’s FA Cup
First Qualifying Round.
One player from each of the respective clubs has been short-listed by the voting panel to win the prestigious FA Cup ‘Player of the Round’ award, run in partnership with E.ON.
Hemel Hempstead’s Gary Sippets was nominated by the The Daily Telegraph’s Ricky George after he struck five goals in a high-scoring 6-3 home victory over Leyton.
Sippets had equalised for The Tudors after they found themselves a goal down after only eleven minutes, and at half-time his side were still losing 2-1. Four goals in eleven second half minutes from Sippett though saw Hemel Hempstead through to the Second Qualifying Round.
Halesowen Town’s Matt Lewis was nominated by BBC Radio Five’s Mark Clemmit, after fans were asked by presenter Mark Pougatch to send in their nominees from games they had been to on Saturday.
In a game of three red cards, striker Lewis scored all four of his side’s goals in a 4-2 away win at AFC Telford, the first a rasping 25 yard free-kick. His second goal was a rebound from his penalty that had initially been saved, the third came five minutes after the break following a defensive error and the fourth came after a breakaway from a corner with the AFC Telford ‘keeper stranded in the opposition box.
Defenders aren’t the first players to be usually nominated for the Player of the Round, as they are seen to carry out the unglamorous work at the back, but Rocester’s David Brown (left) bucks that trend in the eyes of Non League Paper Editor, David Watters.
Last season, Rocester’s First Qualifying Round opponents on Saturday, Leamington, reached the First Round Proper of The FA Cup, with midfielder Alex Rodman winning a Player of the Round Award en-route.
Dreams of more Cup glory will have to be shelved for another twelve months though after the Midland Alliance pacesetters were knocked out, thanks to a wonderful free-kick and backs-to-the wall defensive display by Brown.
The summer signing for The Romans was a colossus at the back and curled in a free-kick ten minutes from the end to send Damian Grocott’s team through to the next round.
The Times’ Walter Gammie has nominated Bashley’s 21 year old striker Richard Gillespie, allegedly known to his teammates as ‘Mr Goals’, after their 5-0 win over Kent League side VCD.
Gillespie scored four of the five goals for the Southern League Division One South/West side in a great demonstration of marksmanship. Gillespie has finished the last three seasons as top scorer for his club, and his four goals on Saturday takes his tally for the New Forest club to 99 goals.
Nick Horler, Managing Director Retail of E.ON UK nominated Brackley Town’s Tom Winters after his hat-trick and assist took the Northamptonshire side through to the Second Qualifying Round.
Winters started his goals flurry with a brilliant strike on 61 minutes, firing across the ‘keeper, and scored two more thunderous drives in between setting up Elliot Sandy to see his team through 4-0 away to Tiptree United in front of 86 spectators.
The FA Cup Second Qualifying Round involved 232 teams from all over the country, with over 3,000 players being eligible for the Player of the Round award.
The Player of the Round will win £500 worth of football equipment for a local school of their choice from E.ON, whilst the winning player will also receive an engraved salver and a VIP invitation to the 2007 FA Cup Final on Saturday 19 May.
FA Director of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking said. "The FA Cup always produces heroes and this weekend was no exception with some tremendous performances and a number of hat-tricks too.
"We can only put forward five players though to the public vote, so this is a chance for fans to really get behind their players, boost local grassroots football through E.ON’s pledge to schools, and see their player appear at the 2007 FA Cup Final."