POLTAIR PARK READY FOR MAGIC OF FA CUP - Mark Smith’s St Austell handed home tie against familiar foes

POLTAIR PARK READY FOR MAGIC OF FA CUP - Mark Smith’s St Austell handed home tie against familiar foes

St Austell boss Mark Smith, whose side will meet Tavistock in the FA Cup’s extra-preliminary round on August 7 PICTURE: PAUL WILLIAMS

By Gareth Davies

14th June 2021

AFC St Austell will face off against former Peninsula League foes Tavistock in the 2021-22 FA Cup after the early round draw dates were released last week.

Town will host Stuart Henderson’s side at Poltair Park in the extra-preliminary round on Saturday, August 7. If Mark Smith’s men can successfully see of Tavvy, who now ply their trade at step five in the Western Premier, they will face an away preliminary round trip to Cossham Street against Southern League Division One South side Mangotsfield United on August 21.

The Bristol based side have a decent cup pedigree and after first entering the competition as a Western League side in 1973, they have reached the fourth qualifying round on three separate occasions.

Town, on the other hand, have never been past the preliminary round stage. Whilst not looking past Tavistock at this moment in time, Poltair Park chief Smith told the Voice that he was happy with draw, although he says that the cup is not a priority for his side this term.

“I said previously that I would be happy with a home draw and that’s what we’ve got,” he said. “For us, though, the Cup isn’t overly important. Of course we want to go out there and beat Tavistock because it will be nice to win and there are financial rewards for the club too. “

“That said, we know that we aren’t expected to go that far in the competition so in some respects, the game is a bit of a free hit for us.”

“Last season we seemed to play better against the better teams when there wasn’t any pressure. I do think that this is perhaps a good time to play Tavistock as they appear to be in some sort of transitional period. “

“They have lost Jack Crago who has been brilliant for them and also Tyler Elliot has left so this will perhaps be a different team to the one St Austell have faced previously.”

Town’s pre-season preparations were once again hit by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic on Monday night when their scheduled pre-season friendly against Ivybridge Town at Poltair Park was called off.

The Devonians notified St Austell just after lunchtime on the day of the game that, due to covid-19 isolation protocols, they could not fulfil the fixture.

Town moved quickly to fill the void left by the Ivybridge cancellation by agreeing a fixture with East Cornwall Premier League side Looe Sharks.

The match at Poltair Park was taking place as the Voice went to press yesterday (Tuesday) with Smith’s side back in action tomorrow (Thursday) night against Polperro, also on home soil.

Finally, in transfer news, Andrew Butler has left St Austell and re-joined Sticker. The midfielder is back at Burngullow Park for a second spell after leaving in 2018 to join Wadebridge, before linking up with St Austell last summer.

Butler was part of the Sticker side which were crowned South West Peninsula League Division One West champions in 2016-17.