AFC Uckfield Town face a crucial match against Eastbourne United tonight (Tuesday 10th) in the SCFA RUR Cup, making the second of an unlikely set of three cup visits to The Oval this season.
Having been set to face SCFL Premier Division leaders Eastbourne Town last weekend before suffering a waterlogged pitch, this is the Uckers’ second cup trip to the East Sussex coast in the space of a week – following a 2-0 defeat at Eastbourne Borough in the Sussex Senior Cup.
The break from action will, inevitably, frustrate the Uckers as it prolongs a wait for home football, given current scheduling, to Boxing Day, after their last fixture at The Oaks was played on October 26th.
While they do have games to catch up on in the months ahead – currently having played four matches fewer than most league rivals – Anthony Storey’s side may also appreciate the opportunity to channel their focus on cup competitions.
The RUR Cup is one of two competitions in which they currently remain for 2019-20. The other being the Peter Bentley Cup, in which, also at the Quarter-Final stage, they are set to learn of a date for another Oval visit soon.
The reward for victory at The Oval tonight is a home tie against the winners of the last Quarter-Final between Peacehaven and Telscombe and Division One side Wick.
However, with rain forecast, a pitch inspection will be likely at The Oval at least two hours prior to kick-off, potentially meaning the tie could not be played until after Christmas if a postponement does follow.
Providing an inspection is passed, though, a superb fixture should be in order, as two previous meetings have seen United win a league battle 2-1 and the Uckers a Senior Cup tie 3-0.
In what is developing into a seriously impressive season, United – under the guidance of Matt Crabb – certainly have the pedigree to become challengers across several competitions.
Having improved their league position last weekend to 4th, attentions could be placed on becoming primary challengers to a dominant top three this season.
In the process, and although only in principle at the moment, such a result would earn them their highest league finish since the 2008-09 season, when they won the Sussex County League title.
After the Uckers originally stopped the eight-match winning spell of Crabb’s side last month with a 3-0 Sussex Senior Cup win, a tricky bunch of league fixtures has seen United gradually return to form, with wins against Crawley Down Gatwick and Lingfield in their last two matches.
Comprehensive victories against two Division One sides – 5-0 against Storrington, and 8-0 over Southwick – have seen them make this stage in the competition.
Meanwhile for the Uckers, this tie continues a run built on the road after defeating Horsham YMCA 3-1 and Broadbridge Heath 4-3 to reach the last eight.