The First Round Proper of the FA Cup is here and it marks one of the great days in the English football calendar. The minnows are getting ready to take on the EFL sides and create history, and the match we are focusing on today features exactly that, a David vs Goliath clash as Sheppey United host Walsall.
Here’s our preview and picks for the match, which kicks off at 19:45 on Friday night.
Sheppey United are 7/1 to win this game in 90 minutes, while League Two outfit Walsall are 1/4. A draw can be backed at 9/2 with BTTS on offer at 4/5. Walsall to win and both teams to score can be combined for a price of 8/5.
Half time draw @ 9/5
Sheppey United are currently playing in Tier 4 of non-league, or in the eighth tier of English football. The Ites ply their trade in the Isthmian League South East Division, and they currently sit 14th, having won two, drawn two and lost two of their six league matches so far.
They beat Billericay Town on penalties to reach this stage after back-to-back 1-1 draws and are looking to create history in the First Round of the FA Cup. They’ve had big wins in the past, albeit the very distant past. In October 1897, they beat West Ham United 8–0 in a First Qualifying Round tie, but success has been limited since.
Now they face League Two Walsall, who sit 15th in the fourth tier after a relatively poor start to the season. One thing we can expect is a battling display at Holm Park, which holds just over 1,200 people. As a result, the odds on the scores to be level at half-time, likely 0-0, have drawn me in at 9/5. Sheppey United may not have the quality to win the match, but if they can stay in it until half-time that will be a huge positive for them.
Correct Score: Sheppey United 0-2 Walsall @ 6/1
I believe the scores will be level at half-time, but then the quality of Walsall will shine through. You can get 16/5 on the Draw/Walsall pick in the HT/FT market which catches my eye, but I’m happy to plump for a correct score to extend those odds. Walsall have picked up in recent weeks, and only lost narrowly, 2-1 to promotion contenders Mansfield Town last time out.
They were unbeaten in three games before that, including an impressive 4-1 win over Gillingham and it feels like things are moving in the right direction in the Midlands. If we expect the score to be 0-0 at half-time, it is likely Walsall won’t be able to put up big numbers in the second half. Instead a controlling performance to quieten the home crowd, could well lead to a 2-0 win. At 6/1, I’m happy to choose this as my second pick.
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