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3rd Dec, 2021

Bards in countdown to FA Cup TV cracker

STRATFORD Town will be hoping to have a sell-out crowd of 2,800 – plus a live TV audience – when they stage the biggest game in their history.

Having progressed to the FA Cup first round proper for the first time in the club’s 80-year history, the match against League One Shrewsbury Town will be broadcast live on ITV4 next Sunday, November 7 (3pm).

It will mean a £60,000 payday from the TV company to add to the £20,000 in prize money they club has collected so far.

And, having been delighted with the support of more than 1,200 in the last-round replay thriller against Boston United, the club is expecting the attendance for the Shrews tie to be set at an all-ticket 2,800. Details will be released in due course.

They have been in talks with the district council and police to ensure they meet the safety regulations for a bumper – and another record – attendance at the Arden Garages Stadium.

On the pitch, the Bards have recorded one win and one defeat in the Southern League Premier Central after their Cup heroics.

Town head coach Paul Davis felt it was a game too far as they went down 2-1 at home to AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday night to follow last weekend’s gritty 1-0 victory at Hitchin Town

Diamonds took a 23rd-minute lead from Ravin Shamsi’s 25-yard free-kick and chances were scarce.

But the Bards levelled two minutes into the second half with Joe Magunda scrambling the ball over the line after Ash Sammons’ corner was not cleared.

Rushden, however, took the points when Shamsi’s perfect free-kick provided the chance for Ryan Hughes to head home the winner on 55 minutes.

On Saturday, Cup hero Jaanai Gordon was on target to seal Stratford’s win at basement side Hitchin.

There was little between the sides but Gordon, who netted twice against Boston, struck on 39 minutes, converting a perfect free-kick from Sammons.

Stratford were stunned when defender Magunda was given a straight red card after he caught keeper Charlie Horlock as he tried to get onto the end of a Jordan Williams header nine minutes into the second period. But the 10 men regrouped to nullify any comeback hopes from the hosts.

Stratford’s attentions turn to the FA Trophy on Saturday when they travel to Royston Town (3pm). Then next Tuesday they make the trip to Alvechurch (7.45pm).

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