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Fleet at the final hurdle

For a 14th successive season, and the 34th time in all, Fleet face the final hurdle to the FA Cup competition proper.

In the past it has brought plenty of success and plenty of failure in almost equal portions with a success rate of 17 wins to 16 defeats. 

How many of these games do you remember, as club historian Paul Harrison takes us back through previous fourth qualifying rounds?


1946/47   FLEET  1 WALTHAMSTOW AVENUE  0

The top amateur side were expected to give Fleet a thorough test and they didn’t disappoint as a 6,500 crowd were enthralled by a nerve tingler that finally went Fleet’s way thanks to skipper George Milton scoring a 58th minute match winner. Fleet lost 4-1 at Gillingham in round one.

1949/50   CORBY  1 FLEET   6

The United Counties side were swept aside by a full throttled Fleet performance as Bert Hawkins netted a hat-trick with ex-Dartford man Eddie Viles, Tug Wilson and Les Gore also on target. Some 5,600 crammed into Occupation Road for the one-sided tie. Fleet went on to lose 3-1 at home to Torquay in the First Round.

1957/58   FLEET 0  GUILDFORD  1

Having drawn 1-1 at St Josephs Road the prievious Saturday Fleet were expected to win the replay against fellow Southern Leaguers Guildford who were almost the whole length of the table below them but flopped miserably – and yet just a couple of weeks later they trounced the Surrey outfit 6-0 in a league fixture. Guildford were drawn at home to Yeovil.

1962/63  FLEET  1  LEWES   0

An unconvincing performance saw Fleet scrape through to the First Round proper for the first time since 1949 thanks to a 25th minute Harry Easton goal with a fine shot from outside the penalty box in front of 3,202. Fleet’s reward was a home tie with Exeter.

1966/67  FOLKESTONE 3  FLEET  2

Goals by Don Campbell and George Catleugh looked like sending the hosts comfortably into the first round before two goals in five minutes from Malcolm Neale and Tosh Chamberlain brought Fleet level. But with just a minute left John Ballagher sent the home fans in the 1,951 crowd wild with the winner and a home game with Swansea.

1980/81  FLEET  4  AVELEY   0

Fleet swept  their Essex neighbours out of the cup in a one-sided affair with a convincing display as Bob Dudman (2), Gary Aldous and Steve Brown (not that one) scored in front of 1,046. Fleet lost at home to St Albans in the first round.

1991/92  HARLOW  1   FLEET   0

A great opportunity was lost in the first game, a 1-1 draw after Fleet led from an 11th minute Mickey Cotter goal – until the 73rd minute despite the visitors having had Devon Gayle sent off just before half time. Former Fleet man Paul Battram scored the only goal of the replay with a 7th minute penalty thus earning Harlow the reward of an away tie to Peterborough and a 7-0 thrashing. Fleet manager Eddie McCluskey resigned a few days later after losing 8-1 at Halesowen in a league fixture.

1993/94  WATERLOOVILLE 1  FLEET  3

Fleet were back in the first round proper for the first time in 13 years as goal twins Steve Portway(40, 89) and Mickey Cotter (30) proved too much for Ville who replied through Simon Jones (35) – their cause wasn’t helped by the late sending-off of player manager and former Crystal Palace man Billy Gilbert. Fleet lost narrowly at Leyton Orient 2-1 in the First Round.

2003/04  FLEET 3  EXETER 3 (6-5 FLEET ON PENS)

Having drawn 0-0 at Exeter all the action was reserved for the replay: Chris Moore (71) Ben Abbey (81) and Rob Haworth (101) for Fleet and Dwane Lee (8) and Sean Devine (85,114) meant it was all level after extra-time and in a pulsating penalty shootout, Rob Owen fired home the decisive penalty at 6-5 – but only after Paul Wilkerson had saved the day with a full-length save when Exeter had the chance to seal victory. Fleet lost out to Notts County in the next round.

2005/06  KETTERING  3   FLEET   0

One of several disappointing defeats at this stage was being viewed by Paul Gascoigne – about to take on an ill-fated role as the Poppies manager. After a blank first half everything began to go wrong as Scott Gooding was sent off and then James Gould (58), Andy Hall (65) and Neil Midgeley (75) sunk Fleet, who then also had Jay Saunders sent off to finish with nine men.The Poppies lost at home to Stevenage in the next round.

Our other results at this stage (home games in bold)

1952/53 Wimbledon lost 2-4
1958/59 Margate lost 3-4(after 0-0 draw)
1959/60 Ashford lost 1-2
1963/64 Lewes won 2-1
1964/65 Margate won 1-0
1965/66 Crawley won 1-0
1978/79 Eastbourne Utd won 3-1
1979/80 Welling won 2-1
1981/82 Dagenham lost 3-6 (after 0-0)
1982/83 Maidstone lost 1-2
1995/96 Marlow won 4-0 (after 1-1 and 3-3 draws)
1996/97 Stevenage lost 1-5
2000/01 Mangotsfield won 4-0
2001/02 Burton won 2-0
2002/03 Margate lost 1-2
2004/05 Hornchurch lost 2-3
2006/07 Chelmsford lost 0-1
2007/08 Exeter lost 1-3
2008/09 Woking won 1-0 (after 2-2 draw)
2009/10 Bromley lost 0-3
2010/11 Boreham Wood won 3-0
2011/12 Redbridge lost 0-2
2012/13 Woking won 1-0

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