Posted: 01.09.20 at 09:55 by Derek Davis
The long and winding road to Wembley starts for Brantham Athletic tonight the they entertain south Essex side Benfleet FC in the Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary qualifying round.
While Brantham are relatively old hands in the world's most famous cup competition Benfleet, who are in a division lower than the Imps in the Thurlow Nunn League, will be playing their first ever FA Cup tie in their 99-year history.
The winners of tonight's clash go to Great Wakering Rovers on Saturday, September 12 in the final preliminary round before the first qualifying round.
The Imps have been boosted by the signing of former midfielder Ben Newson who was part of their Eastern Counties League Cup winning squad from 2018 after he impressed during pre season.
After taking time to from the game due to family reasons, Newson, 32, returned to join forces once again with Michael Brothers and Jack Sibbons.
The former Stanway and Brightlingsea player, who can also play up front, told the club website: "I am really happy to be back at Brantham. After two years out I decided to give pre season a go and having really enjoyed it, I thought why not. My son, Albie has been pushing me to get back into playing football again, so really it's his fault.
"Brantham is such a great club with so many wonderful people behind the scenes and I cant wait to get some goals for the mighty Blue Imps."
Meanwhile skipper Will Crisell, his deputy Jack Marshall, young defender Alfie Owen-Jones and striker Johnny Lee, have all signed new and improved contracts for Brantham.
Tonight's match kicks off at 7.75pm, with Covid-19 precautions and restrictions in place.