Clough sets his sights on reaching FA Cup first round

CUP TARGET: Charlie Clough

CUP TARGET: Charlie Clough

First published in Football by

CHARLIE Clough is eyeing a second successive appearance in the first round of the FA Cup.

The Magpies’ defender was last season part of the Bath City side that held Dagenham & Redbridge to a 1-1 draw at the first-round stage.

The subsequent replay at Twerton Park was played in front of the ESPN cameras and although the Daggers took the lead, the Romans equalised to force extra-time.

However, the cup run ended there as a Jon Nurse double secured victory, and a place in round two, for the higher-ranked outfit.

Clough played in both matches and has fond memories of the experience, which is why the 22-year-old is determined to embark on a similar journey with Dorchester Town.

First they must get past third qualifying round opponents Basingstoke Town, who visit the Avenue this Saturday (3pm).

He told Echosport: “Hopefully we can get a good result Saturday and maybe draw a big Conference side in the next round.

“I was on loan at Bath last season and we played Dagenham in the first round. The reply was shown live on ESPN and although we got beat it was a great experience.

“I will always remember that game and it would be nice to go on another decent run with Dorchester and maybe get ourselves on telly.”

Since arriving at the county town outfit in the summer, Clough has formed a formidable partnership with fellow centre-back Nathan Walker.

Up until Tuesday night’s defeat at Blue Square Bet South leaders Salisbury City, the Magpies boasted the meanest defence in the league.

And Clough endorses the notion that a solid backline is the key ingredient to a successful side.

He added: “You need to keep a solid back four as it’s the base of any good team. It’s important because if you defend well and keep clean sheets you will get results, regardless of whether you score at the other end.

“I think as a back four we’ve all bonded well. Nathan is the clown of the changing room, Mark Jermyn has a lot of experience and Neil Martin is also a decent player.

“We’ve also got Arran Pugh in the squad so we’ve got good competition for places. It keeps you on your toes in training and makes sure no one feels too comfortable about their position.

“The lads are really good here and it’s easy to fit in – anyone could come in and fit in here – and it’s showing on the pitch.

“There’s a real togetherness in the changing room and we’ve still got a 100 per cent record at home, which is something that not many clubs in the country still have.”

Clough already has two goals to his name this season – the second being last Saturday’s late winner against fellow high-fliers Welling United.

Reflecting on his latest strike, the former Bristol Rovers man said: “I just composed myself and tried to take a couple of touches.

“I thought at first that I had taken one too many but luckily the shot made its way through and it was good finish in the end.

“I’m pleased because it was a goal with my feet – usually I score with my head.

“I made up for the error I made in the lead up to their goal though, so I was happy to do that.”

The highs of last weekend were followed by the lows of Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss but Clough refuses to dwell on the disappointment.

He added: “We won’t get too down about it, the lads will get together and drive each other on ready for the next game.

“The lads work so hard every week and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any team work as hard as we do.

“We all stick together and with that you have a chance of winning any game against any team.”

* Following further recalculations, it is believed skipper Mark Jermyn (546 appearances) is still some way short of equalling Trevor Townsend’s club record.

Unofficial records first put Townsend on 720 appearances but that figure was then readjusted to 547 before being revised once more to 585.

Therefore Jermyn is 40 outings away from breaking the record.

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