Michael Charlton in action for RCA at Penrith during last season's Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round match.
This Saturday, 5 August, kick-off 3.00pm, Sunderland RCA begin the new season with a match at home to Garforth Town in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
As mentioned when the draw was first made, Garforth Town play their football in the Northern Counties East Premier League which includes sides AFC Mansfield, Bridlington Town, Handsworth Parramore, Hemsworth Miners Welfare, and, Saturday's friendly opponents, Pickering Town, all of whom have been opposition for RCA during our FA Vase exploits of recent seasons.
Last season Garforth Town finished in 15th place in the NCEPL with 53 points from 42 matches played. Garforth have had a mixed set of results this pre-season, winning two and losing four of their six friendlies, including a 3-1 home defeat by Glasshoughton on Tuesday evening - although Garforth did change all ten outfield players at half-time! Like RCA, Garforth were knocked out of the FA Cup at the Extra Preliminary Round stage last season, losing 3-0 at fellow Northern League side Chester-le-Street Town.
Whilst RCA have an excellent recent record in the other national FA competition, the Vase, reaching the Fifth Round for the last two seasons, it's fair to say RCA's recent record in the FA Cup has been less than spectacular - at the beginning of last season, RCA lost 1-0 at Penrith in the Extra Preliminary Round. In fact we need to go back as far as 19 August 2011 for the last FA Cup match in which RCA were victorious - a 7-0 home win over Birtley Town. However, following an excellent pre-season campaign, which has seen five wins from five matches, confidence should be high going into the game on Saturday.
With Sunderland AFC playing their opening match of the season on Friday evening, why not get along to Meadow Park this Saturday afternoon for an early taste of FA Cup football.
Admission is priced at £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.
The winners of the match will play the winners of the Ashington v Ryhope Colliery Welfare tie at home in the Preliminary Round.