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Yet another non league club pulls out of the FA Trophy

Yet another non league club pulls out of the FA Trophy for the 2020/21 season, this time Truro City of the Southern League Premier South.

They were due to visit National League South side Oxford City this week, but a confirmed case of Covid-19 among the squad meant that the tie has been postponed.

FA rules dictate that Truro do not get a second chance to play the tie as ties must be completed within eight days of the originally scheduled fixture, so Oxford City will advance to the fourth round.

The match had initially been put back a day as the White Tigers awaited the result of the Covid test.

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City’s cup hopes are over for another year despite their 2-1 second round win at Essex based side Concord Rangers on Saturday.

Tyler Harvey and Alex Battle provided City’s progression to the third round proper of the competition for the first time with second half goals before Sam Blackman’s late goal from the hosts.

Truro will not play their next league game until the new year after the Southern League agreed to continue the suspension of the 2020/21 campaign.

The league, which has yet to resume following the end of the second national lockdown in November, will remain on pause until further notice.

No formal start date has been given the green light, however it will not be before the 9th of January 2021.

The league’s statement read: “Since the initial survey on December 2 the infection rate has deteriorated in the geographical footprint of our member clubs, which has resulted in a larger number of Southern League clubs being placed in Tier 3.”

“In reaching this decision the board considered several factors such as the lack of income from secondary spend revenue, the reduced attendances at Tier 3 clubs and more importantly, the duty of care the league has to players, club officials, volunteers and supporters during this current pandemic.”

City’s last league game was a 4-1 victory at home against Wimborne Town on Tuesday the 27th of October.

Meanwhile, English football is set for the introduction of a ‘circuit breaker’ as clubs give approval to halt the season for the festive period.

Lately, EFL and non league clubs have multiple matches postponed over the festive period which is a blow to all associated with the sides.

Over the last few days we have seen statements issued with a member of the various teams contracting Covid-19, meaning that fixtures can’t be played with players self-isolating.

Ipswich physio Matt Byard has given his support for football to be stopped until the pandemic can be brought back under control.

“I have looked at every avenue and the only scenario for transmission has to be our match against Burton last week and because it seems to have been passed on in a matchday environment, it is confirmation of a new development,” Byard said.

“We still have stringent protocols in place in terms of use of the dressing-rooms, I might add.

“This new strain of the virus clearly transmits far quicker than the original Covid strain and we have the data and symptom profile that confirms that is what we are dealing with here.

“We have tested all the playing and coaching staff and from the results, we can detect the level of infection and see the patterns emerging, however it’s the speed of the transmission that tells us it’s the new strain.

“We will be re-testing all the staff on Wednesday who have previously tested negative and I do have concerns that there will be more positive cases. It’s important to recognise the timing of testing is absolutely crucial in determining the diagnosis.  A wrongly timed test can very likely produce a false result. We have to very closely determine potential transmission risks and consider the period of incubation before becoming infectious.

“We have been complimented by the EFL for the procedures we have had in place at the training ground and on matchday – and that is one of the reasons they have become very concerned over the latest developments.

“I know the EFL are looking at bringing in extra measures, with maybe more testing for example. I have always supported routine testing to secure a return to playing programme. Personally, with so many clubs affected by this presently and this new strain development, football may benefit from a ‘circuit breaker’ before a return to playing securely.”

Byard added that the measures that were put into place for the return of football during the summer remain in force at the Portman Road club, although they have been left with no option than to close their training ground until they reduce the number of positive Covid-19 cases.

“In previous cases at clubs, the confirmatory source can normally be isolated down to a coach journey or a lengthy meeting indoors,” he added. “We however, have had the same protocols in place since we started pre-season training.

“The players are still arriving to training in kit, training and then going straight home. No showers are in use, no canteen where they eat communally. If you consider a staged return to normal behaviour at the training ground in five phases, then we are at the beginning of phase two.

“We have only had two cases here in nine months (Kayden Jackson and Matt Gill) so to get seven in one week is alarming.”

Frome Town say they won’t travel into a tier 4 area to play in their scheduled FA Trophy tie.

“As a ‘non-elite’ team, we do not accept the decision of the FA & DCMS given the all the news coverage and medical expert advice given.”

Frome will be allowed to stay in the competition.

After yet another non league club pulls out of the FA Trophy, we take a look at who faces who in the Fourth Round…

Kettering Town v Leamington
FC Halifax Town v Southport
Aldershot Town v Solihull Moors
Weymouth v Darlington
Sutton United v Dagenham & Redbridge
Stockport County v Notts County
Maidstone United or Frome Town v Dorking Wanderers
Wealdstone v Maldon & Tiptree or Gloucester City
Boreham Wood or Yeovil Town v Torquay United
Havant & Waterlooville v Altrincham
Boston United v Chesterfield
Stamford v Hereford
Bath City v Peterborough Sports
Hornchurch v King’s Lynn Town
Bromley v Woking
Oxford City v Haringey Borough

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