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Monday, 14 November 2011

The View Outside The Premier League: Fleetwood Sit On The Chairboys, Charlton Show Their Class as Swindon KO Huddersfield


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This week's View Outside the Premier League is really an FA Cup round-up because the Championship is on hold due to internationals and League One and Two sides scrapped it out in the First Round proper.

Instinctively we look for non-league success but these events aren't quite what they used to be, as so many Blue Square sides are fully professional and/or ex-League sides. Luton Town beating Northampton is a case in point - I had to remind myself the Hatters are now out of the 92.

Thankfully, there are still heartwarming local stories out there though, such as Fleetwood's victory over League One Wycombe Wanderers. Granted, Fleetwood are also a Blue Square Premier outfit but one that has reached this level only recently. As late as 2005 the club was still in the North-West Counties League.

The win over the Chairboys was notable because the Cod Army had to play a whole half with 10 men after Richard Brodie's dismissal on half-time. Not only did they hold out, the home side extended their lead to finish 2-0 victors.

Fleetwood could well be a League club soon. They lie second in the Blue Square Premier and made the play-offs last season. Their Highbury Stadium had a £1m revamp on the back of three promotioins in four seasons and Yeovil Town will find the trip to Lancashire's West Coast a tough one in Round Two.

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Charlton Athletic showed why they are top of League One with a very professional display at FC Halifax. The Shaymen gave a good account of themselves and the 4-0 scoreline did them no justice.

Chris Powell will have been especially pleased to see the Valiants ease through without Bradley Wright-Phillips. Ex-Spurs man Johnnie Jackson made the telling contribution with a sweet left foot strike to notch the second goal but the whole team impressed with their attitude as well as skill.

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Huddersfield Town's defeat at Swindon showed the difference between league and knockout football. The Terriers are 42 games undefeated in the day to day domestic business but this was their third cup tie loss this season - although one of those was on penalties.

When a team is on a run like Lee Clark's side it almost reverses the normal pattern of events. Teams usually get a boost from knockout matches but defending such a proud league record, the Terriers must find it hard to get worked up by a cup tie.

Paulo Di Canio is just the sort of manager to work his own team up into a lather about progress in the cup and he certainly guarantees excitement for Robins fans. After a sticky start to his tenure, Di Canio's squad are now nine games unbeaten in all competitions.

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The eye catching result of the weekend was certainly AFC Totton's 8-1 dismissal of Bradford Park Avenue. The Hampshire club are yet another example of the new order in non-league football.

Totton were FA Vase finalists in 2007 but only came out of the Wessex League in 2008 - then after one near miss, they managed to achieve promotion again to the Southern League Premier. They have moved to a new stadium and the win over Park Avenue set a club record attendance.

This will be the Stags first appearance in the FA Cup Second Round and they have the reward of a home tie against League opposition in the form of Bristol Rovers, who defeated Corby Town 3-1.

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The turnaround in form for Leyton Orient continued as the O's fended off a brave challenge from Bromley to run out comfortable 3-0 winners. It is now nine games without defeat in all competitions since the morale boosting Carling Cup tie performance at Ewood Park, when Russell Slade's team ran Blackburn Rovers close, losing 3-2.

A home draw with Bournemouth or Gillingham offers every chance of a return to the Third Round after their cup exploits last season. The mood has changed dramatically at the Matchroom Stadium after the team couldn't buy a win in the early autumn.

Remember Hugh will be back here next Monday with all of the latest action from the Championship, League One, League Two and non-league football.

Related Articles:

Plymouth Argyle: 10 handy facts on Stourbridge

Bristol Rovers: 10 handy facts on Corby Town

The View From Outside the Premier League: Diouf and Sharp blunt Ipswich as Huddersfield extend unbeaten run

FA Cup: MK Dons - 10 Handy facts on Nantwich Town

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Hugh Larkin

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