FA Cup fairy tales throw up more North Wales football links

Andy Preece in his days as Airbus manager. Photo: airbusfc.com

There is no end to the positive links to North Wales in this season’s FA Cup giant-killings.

As well as St Asaph born Chris Maxwell’s penalty shoot-out heroics in yesterday’s victory for League One Blackpool over Premier League West Bromwich Albion, ex-Airbus UK Broughton chief Andy Preece was celebrating after part-timers Chorley overcame depleted Championship side Derby County 2-0 in the third round.

Preece, a former Wrexham player, is assistant to manager Jamie Vermiglio at the National League North cup sensations.

Andy was director of football at Airbus between 2012-16. He led the Wingmakers to two runners-up spots in the Welsh Premier and three European qualifications.

The 53-year-old also managed Bury, Worcester City, Northwich Victoria and Southport before becoming assistant to Vermiglio in 2018.

Preece actually signed Vermiglio when he was manager at Northwich between 2009-12.

And Preece was no stranger to dishing out cup shocks himself as a player.

In the 1993-94 FA Cup, he scored the winner for then League Division Two side Stockport County in a 2-1 upset against Premier League giants Queens Park Rangers at Edgeley Park.

Simon Barker scored first for the favourites, but Preece’s strike partner, the giant Kevin Francis, equalised.

Preece volleyed in the decider on 75 minutes and secured himself a transfer to Premier League Crystal Palace for £350,000.

He later joined Blackpool and Bury, making more than 100 first-team appearances for each.

Now Preece is experiencing that FA Cup magic all over again with the Magpies, who play in the sixth tier of English football, yet have claimed three wins over English Football League opposition in this season’s competition.

Goals by Connor Hall and Mike Calveley earned Chorley a place in the fourth round for the first time at the expense of the much-weakened Rams due to Covid.

All the best Marine

Neil Young. Photo: Marine FC

Also, later today, Marine of the Northern Premier League Division One North West welcome Premier League high-flyers Tottenham Hotspur to Rossett Park for a third round David v Goliath encounter.

The Merseysiders are at level 8 of the English pyramid – seven notches below Jose Mourinho’s side.

North Wales connections in the underdogs’ camp are aplenty.

Marine boss Neil Young is a former manager of Colwyn Bay and his assistant Alan Morgan once managed Llandudno and Aberystwyth Town in the Welsh Premier League, as well as being number two to Neville Powell at Bangor City.

He also played in the Football League for Tranmere Rovers and helped Rhyl FC win a tie in Europe.

On the playing side, the Mariners’ squad includes former Bangor City defender Anthony Miley, ex-Connah’s Quay Nomad attacker Ryan Wignall, plus one-time Llandudno  men Danny Shaw and James Joyce.

The tie kicks off at 5 pm and is live on BBC 1.

This will be Marine’s first FA Cup match against a top-flight opponent and just their second appearance in the FA Cup third round. They went out at this stage in 1992-93 against Crewe Alexandra.

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