The first qualifying round of the FA Cup is rarely an interesting affair, as teams from the lower echelons battle it out for a chance to test themselves against the Manchester United’s and Chelsea’s.
This changed two weeks ago, when two teams from the United Counties League Premier Division (the ninth tier of the English football pyramid) met to battle for a place in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.
The game was beginning to swing in Sleaford’s favour, as they had taken a 2-1 lead and were beginning to exercise their strength over proceedings.
However, when a Huntingdon Town player entered into a disagreement with Sleaford’s management staff, the tie turned from football to something mirroring boxing or MMA.
Both teams clashed, as Huntingdon were unhappy that their player had seen red and Sleaford unhappy that their management staff had been targeted by the opposition.
The upshot of this was only realised yesterday, as both teams have been expelled from the competition for their part in not controlling their players in the tie and allowing the brawl to become unmanageable, to the extent that the game could not be continued.
A statement on Sleaford Town’s website stated: “It is with great disappointment to us that The FA has made the decision to remove both Clubs from this year's competition. We will now wait to receive the official judgement from the FA before considering whether to exercise our right to appeal.”
“Whilst naturally devastated with today's decision we would like to thank everyone who has offered their support through what has been a difficult time for Sleaford Town FC.”
Both teams have also been fined £150 but clearly it is the expulsion from the tournament that has hit the sides hardest, especially as for lower league teams, the FA Cup is a great way to raise funds and allow teams to expand because their attendances are often too lower to allow the team to invest in moving the club forward.
It isn't bad news if you are an AFC Sudbury fan however, as they have now been given a walkthrough into the third qualifying round.
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