Harty on Albion and Crawley’s FA Cup wins

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TWO classic local cup ties 48 hours apart have seen history made and, for the first time ever, Sussex has two clubs in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The Albion kicked off proceedings with an emphatic 3-1 win over a below-par Portsmouth.

Obviously, we’ll never really know if the early red card for Dave Kitson changed the game but, personally, I doubt Pompey could have beaten the Albion with 12 men, let alone 11.

Just a cursory look towards the bottom of the Championship and if Portsmouth carry on in this current vein I seriously wonder if there will be another encounter, this time in the league, at the Amex next season.

On Sunday, the old velvet bag threw up an away tie at Watford, which was greeted with mixed emotions.

On one hand, it’s not the glamour tie we all craved for. But, on the other, the way the Albion are playing it’s very winnable, which then puts the team in the fifth round, then get another winnable tie, and it’s the last eight.

Which is where the problem lies. Will a cup run interfere with the challenge for the League One championship, or will it actually aid it?

It’s probably more than likely that anyone signed in the transfer window will be cup-tied, as is the first arrival Craig Noone, so squad fatigue might not really be a factor.

It’s a difficult one, promotion, and perhaps even the championship is the top priority, but then again there’s nothing like a good cup run.

The same could also be said for Crawley, with their quest to win the Conference and give Sussex two league clubs.

Around 24 hours before they took on Derby County, the velvet bag also gave them a disappointing, yet very winnable tie, in the fourth round at Torquay.

Having predicted a cup shock in last week’s column, I made it up to the Broadfield with my cohort, Peter Mott, on Monday for what was a classic cup tie.

As a Worthing contingent, we were not alone. Local football legend Damian Webber was introduced on the pitch as part of the last Crawley side to make it through to the third round, as well as Phil Everest and Micky Halford.

The over-riding thing for all of us was what a great night it was, almost like going back 25 years and watching football how it used to be. But also tinged with a little bit of regret, in my time watching local non-league football, I can remember a time, and it was probably quite a long time, when Worthing were a far bigger club than Crawley.

Everything Crawley have achieved and will go on to achieve could have been done at Woodside Road, had the club been run in a different way at certain times.

Sadly, that chance has probably passed Worthing by.

All we can do now is look forward to January 29 and hope both Albion and Crawley can get results on the road and make it through to the next round.