While the odds may not be quite as high as 40/1 for Sevenoaks to upset the form book, those figures are nevertheless applicable to this game – it’s Fleet’s 40th appearance in the Fourth Qualifying Round while it’s a first-time occasion for the visitors who have billed this as the biggest match in their history – hot on the heels of the previous biggest match in their history in the round before.
Fleet’s aim to make the First Round for the second season in a row – and 22nd time in total – rests on dimming Sevenoaks’ hitherto significant cup spirit and Dennis Kutrieb won’t be taking the opposition lightly despite a gap of 62 places in the non-league pyramid.
“I’m pretty sure they’ll be confident even though it’s a tough draw for them, but it is for us as well,” said the Fleet boss. “They are on the front foot after their win at Bath, they like to play forwards, a few players have played at our level. So we have to make sure we deliver the same intensity and our aim is to go into the First Round.”
Fleet’s intensity last weekend was clear for all of the 1,474 to see as five goals were fired past the division’s then-best defence and that – not that Kutrieb’s side particularly need one in their current form – is the perfect confidence booster going into this weekend’s all-Kent cup tie.
Sevenoaks by contrast might not arrive in prime league form but then they haven’t had much time to string together league games given their outrageous FA Cup form. Five wins already in this season’s competition, including over higher-division Kingstonian and Bath City, has more than made up for them failing to get past the First Qualifying Round for each of the previous four attempts.
This is the furthest the club have ever been in 17 years of FA Cup competition and although that’s an achievement in itself, manager Harry Hudson will be eyeing the First Round and the potential to create more history at the club he only joined in February, saved from relegation and rebuilt in terms of personnel over the past eight months.
Hudson, previously manager at Whyteleafe and Glebe, and who runs his own football academy, has recruited players from all three of those sources since his appointment and it’s certainly paying off as far as the cup is concerned.
By curious coincidence, Sevenoaks’ chief danger man Ryan Gondoh played against the Fleet at the same stage of last season’s FA Cup when he lined up with Hampton & Richmond Borough in their 2-0 defeat at the Kuflink Stadium. And midfielder Dan Hector was another who came up against us last season while at Carshalton Athletic, as well as being part of the Merstham squad that caused a shock to dump Fleet out of the cup on this day in 2016.
Many Fleet fans will of course recall Sevenoaks left-back Karn Miller-Neave who was just 16 when he struck a free-kick against Hythe Town to become our youngest ever scorer in a 7-1 FA Cup win in 2014 (see that one here). There won’t be too many other familiar faces on show amongst the Oaks squad, though Kyle De Silva made first-team appearances for Crystal Palace and in Holland for FC Eindhoven.
Sevenoaks are 17th in the Isthmian South East Division with one win from five but will have gone a full month without league competition by the time they next play a fixture due to their cup exploits. Last week they faced more higher-division opposition in the FA Trophy but were just edged out of that one, losing 1-0 at Lewes.
The winners of the tie will pocket £9,375, with the losers receiving £3,125. Any replay will be at Sevenoaks on Tuesday night while the draw for Round One takes place live on BBC Two at 7.00pm on Monday.
MATCHDAY SMALL PRINT ——–>
Our online ticketing sales platform at fleetlive.club has tickets available until 12.00pm on matchday. We would advise pre-purchase for both your and our convenience in gaining admission to the ground.
On-the-day ticket sales are available from the windows by main reception, accepting card and cash payments. Turnstiles open at 1pm but they will only accept online tickets (printed out or on your device) and tickets bought at the windows on matchday.
MAIN STAND BAR
There is no segregation for this game – so all supporters are welcome in our Main Stand Bar and Social Club bar. To access the Main Stand bar, enter through the turnstiles and walk the length of the gangway in the Main Stand to the door at the Swanscombe (uncovered) End. There is signage pointing you in the direction. Dennis Kutrieb does a pre-match teamsheet run-through and he and other players attend the bar post-match as well for the man of the match presentation.
Check out our food stalls (to the left of the main turnstiles entrance, there is our Würtsel Haus German sausage experience and straight ahead as you enter the ground is the Manhattan Grill for all your burger, hot dog and more needs!). Pop-up bars are also situated near to the turnstiles and by ‘Geeks Corner’ between the Plough End and old stand. We have a Hofmeister popup to be found in the marquee between the main turnstiles entrance and the Main Stand.
Car-parking as per usual on matchdays is available at Ebbsfleet International Car Park C for £3. Please have the correct change if possible to aid our parking staff and again, we would recommend an early arrival. Please note that the areas near to Northfleet Station, namely Railway Street and Hamerton Road, are resident/permit-only parking and non-valid vehicles will be ticketed. The area on Thamesway before the roundabout as you approach the Kuflink Stadium is a designated clearway – though that is not particularly apparent as you approach – so you are advised not to park here because of the risk of being ticketed.
If you wish to purchase your programme in advance for collection from our club shop before you enter the ground, you can do so either via our online shop or when booking your matchday tickets online.
Programmes are also on sale at the ground from the club shop, the popup bar as you enter the turnstiles, the Main Stand tea kiosk or in the Social Club behind the Plough End, costing £2. Advance-order programmes will be available to pick up from the club shop before the game and before you enter the turnstiles.