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FA Cup makes welcome Rivacre return

THE world's original and arguably greatest football knock-out competition is back in Ellesmere Port after an absence of 10 years.

THE world's original and arguably greatest football knock-out competition is back in Ellesmere Port after an absence of 10 years.

This Saturday, Vauxhall Motors tackle fellow UniBond Premier Division side Hyde United in the FA Cup second qualifying round at Rivacre Park.

It is the club's first tie in the competition in the modern era, although Vauxhall GM competed between 1989-91 without much success.

Manager Alvin McDonald said: 'It's a chance to make a bit of history and become the first Vauxhall side to win an FA Cup game. There are plenty of incentives for the players from the £7,500 prize money to the prospect of getting to the first round proper and taking on a Football League side. From then on you get the national publicity and TV appearances.

'It's every non-league side's cup final to reach the first round and it's only three wins away for us. The FA Cup does have a certain magic and I'm hoping that will be reflected in the gate.'

The Hyde match will be McDonald's first FA Cup game as a manager and virtually the entire squad will also be making their debuts in the competition.

As a player, his greatest FA Cup moment was reaching the fourth qualifying round with  Ashton United before succumbing to Macclesfield Town 1-0.

The tie also throws up an interesting reunion with his former Ashton team-mate Mike McEnzie, who will be in the opposition dugout as manager of Hyde.

McDonald said: 'He's been there for over 10 years and they've had some good sides that were unlucky not to get into the Conference. He's been hit by budget cutbacks this year and has gone for youth. But I went to see them recently and they try to play football so it should make for an entertaining game.'

Vauxhall chairman Tony Woodley is also relishing the prospect of FA Cup football at Rivacre Park and believes it is an indication of how the club has progressed.

He said: 'It's unbelievable, if we look at where the club was five years ago it's fantastic to see the position we're in now. I think it's a real boost for us all that FA Cup football is coming back to the Port, there's nothing quite like it.

'I'd never been more nervous before a season than I was this summer. I realised that we're in the serious business of football now. But both the manager and his players have performed beyond all our expectations and they've been as good as any in the league.'

He added: 'Whether they can show that consistency over the entire season remains to be seen and good fortune can soon turn to bad luck but so far they've matched everyone.'

Vauxhall GM took part in the FA Cup for three consecutive seasons between 1989-91 but were knocked out in the first qualifying round each time.

Their debut in the competition came on September 16, 1989 when they lost 2-1 at Rossendale United.

Despite being without injured skipper Barry Heard, who'd broken two toes against Leyland Motors the week before, the Motormen started brightly.

They took the lead when a T Dunne effort hit home defender M Kayley on the knee and flew into the net, but were eliminated after conceding two second-half goals.

A year later they again fell at the first hurdle as Irlam Town went on to complete a 2-0 victory at Rivacre Park.

The last FA Cup tie in the Port was on September 3 1991 as Vauxhall were beaten 2-1 in a replay against Armthorpe Welfare.

The Motormen had drawn 1-1 in the first match in Yorkshire thanks to a goal from Carroll but were severely under-strength for the second encounter.

Manager Jimmy Butler told the Pioneer at the time: 'Six of the team were unavailable. I only found out on the day of the game. Try picking a team with that problem! I had to ring a few lads out of the third team.'

We trust Alvin McDonald will not have any similar problems before this Saturday's big match.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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