Non-League Day comes to West Sussex

Selsey attack against Horsham - and the Blues are at home again on Non-League Day this Saturday / Picture by Chris Hatton
Selsey attack against Horsham - and the Blues are at home again on Non-League Day this Saturday / Picture by Chris Hatton

If you’re a football fan who has never been to watch any of our local non-league sides, this weekend is the perfect time to do it.

With no Premier League or Championship matches scheduled in the international break, and England playing on Friday, fans who would normally go to a top-flight game are being urged to support their local team instead.

Non-League Day was launched in 2010 by QPR fan James Doe and has proved a huge success, receiving widespread national press coverage and increasing crowds at grounds across the country.

Doe, who follows Harrow Borough when not at Loftus Road, said the idea was inspired by the warm welcome he and his fellow Rangers fans got on a pre-season trip to Tavistock.

When he heard about Harrow’s fundraising campaign for new floodlights, it dawned on him how tight finances were at non-league level and how much hard work goes in to keep the clubs afloat.

He hopes NLD will encourage those who normally go to watch big teams to take in a game at a nearby club.

Non-League Day was launched in 2010 by QPR fan James Doe and has proved a huge success, receiving widespread national press coverage and increasing crowds at grounds across the country.

To help promote the day, and themselves, a lot of non-league clubs are offering discounted entry to their matches this Saturday to those with season tickets for their bigger neighbours.

Locally, Bognor will be expecting a big crowd at Nyewood Lane for their FA Cup third qualifying round game with National League South side Oxford City.

The Rocks have made a good start to the season in the Ryman premier but will face a step up in class against their high-flying visitors.

In the Premier division of the Southern Combination League, Pagham host a Horsham YMCA side who have yet to lose in the league this season.

Sidlesham and Selsey are also in home action, taking on Steyning Town and Midhurst respectively.

For more information on Non-League Day, visit www.nonleagueday.co.uk.

ANDREW RAEBURN

Bognor Oxford City
FA Cup third qualifying round
Nyewood Lane 
Match in a sentence: The road to Wembley takes a detour via Nyewood Lane, as Bognor Regis Town hope to cause a Cup upset against Oxford City.
How does this compare to what’s on Match of the Day? Bognor play in the Ryman Premier Division, the third tier of non-League and six divisions below the Premier League. Oxford City ply their trade one level above the Rocks, in the National League South (formerly Conference South).
What’s at stake? A place in the fourth and final qualifying round of the FA Cup, when the big boys of the National League come in. Beat Oxford City and the Rocks may end up paired with Torquay, Cheltenham, Aldershot or Woking - and just one more win away from the first round proper.

When did Bognor last get that far? They haven’t gone beyond this stage of the FA Cup since 2004, when they were beaten by Yeading - who then went on to reach the third round and played Newcastle. This current Rocks team will hope to emulate the side of 20 years ago, who made it to the second round.

What can I expect? An open game. Bognor, managed by Jamie Howell, have long been renowned for playing attractive football and have only lost once at home this season. Oxford City - who have several Spaniards in their squad - are looking like they may challenge for promotion to the National League.

Who should I watch out for? Jason Prior banged in hatfuls in his first spell at Bognor to the point where Newcastle gave him a trial, though he ended up signing for AFC Wimbledon. However a broken leg cut short his pro dream and he is now back at Nyewood Lane and once again rattling in the goals.

What are the crowds like? Bognor are among the best-supported sides in the Ryman premier, with an average of 366 this season.

I like the idea of a Cup upset. What will it cost me? No incentives possible due to FA rules, but Bognor charge £10 for adults and just £3 for under 18s.

Pagham v Horsham YMCA
Southern Combination League premier n
Nyetimber Lane
Match in a sentence: Free-scoring Pagham, regular top-six botherers, hope to become the first league team to defeat Horsham YMCA this season.
What’s this league like? Formerly the Sussex County League, it changed its name in the summer to allow for future expansion. The SCFL is two tiers below Bognor, therefore eight beneath the Premier League.

Who are the top sides and how does our team fare? Newhaven currently sit top and are one of four unbeaten sides, along with Eastbourne Town, Horsham and their neighbours Horsham YMCA. Pagham, who have finished in the top seven in each of the last five seasons, currently sit seventh, one place behind YM.

What can I expect? Any result is possible, given Pagham’s season - they’ve had wins of 11-0, 8-0, 6-1 and 5-2 this campaign.

Who should I watch out for? Dan Simmonds leads the division’s goalscoring charts with 11 and also banged in four against Steyning in a cup match last week.

What are the crowds like? Pagham have been getting between 50 and 80 this season, but they averaged nearer 100 last season.

Sidlesham v Steyning Town
SCFL Division One Challenge Cup R2
Recreation Ground, Selsey Road, Sidlesham
Describe the match in a sentence: Licking their wounds after three heavy defeats, Sidlesham aim to make the next round of the Division One Challenge Cup.
What’s at stake? A place in the last eight of a cup for teams in the second tier of the league.

What can I expect? Goals. There have been 56 in the 11 games Sidlesham have played this season. Most of them to the opposition, mind - they’ve lost 6-0, 3-0 and 8-0 in their last three home games.

Who should I watch out for? Between them Graham Dowden and Tom Bayley have scored nine of Sidlesham’s 14 goals.

What are the crowds like? Sidlesham’s average crowd has hovered just above 30 this season, but last Christmas they pulled in more than 100 for a goalless draw with Bosham.

Selsey v Midhurst & Easebourne
Southern Combination division one
High Street Ground, Selsey
Describe the match in a sentence: The most westerly game in Sussex on Non-League Day, between the two sides at the foot of Southern Combination division one.
What’s this league like? The second tier of County League football, one beneath Pagham. It’s the lowest level of senior football, but provides plenty of entertainment.

Who are the top sides and how does our team fare? Oakwood, Storrington and Crawley Down Gatwick sit in the top three - Selsey are bottom after one win in eight.

What can I expect? A mighty tussle - neither side will want to be beaten given the fact the loser will remain cut adrift.

Who should I watch out for? Ben Mepham scored three times in his first five games after making his debut at the end of August.

What are the crowds like? Selsey’s crowds have dropped a bit since relegation from the Premier Division, but they still draw about 60 each game.

I’m in Chichester. Where are my team?
City are away at unbeaten Horsham. It will be a tough test against the former Ryman League side, who have scored 40 goals and conceded just five. But Chichester won 4-1 at Wick & Barnham last Saturday to move into eighth.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking sports news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex

3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

Share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!