Bermuda pair to face Walsall
Darlington's FA Cup first-round match away to Walsall will have a strong Bermudian flavour.
The cup tie will pit Darlington and Bermuda players Justin Donawa and Osagi Bascome against national coach Kyle Lightbourne's former club Walsall at Bank's Stadium on the weekend of November 8 to 11.
“Walsall are two leagues above us in League Two, so it will be a tough game,” Donawa said. “However, I believe if we continue our form we will surprise a lot of people.”
Darlington beat Tamworth 3-0 in the fourth qualifying round to advance to the tournament proper for the first time in nearly a decade. Donawa and Bascome came on as late substitutes.
“The club haven't had the best of luck in the cup over the past few years and to be a part of the team to make it into the first round is an honour,” Bascome said. “It's a great chance for us to showcase our abilities playing against a league side.”
“That's a great cup tie and opportunity for those guys to do well against a league opposition,” he said. “It's an opportunity for them to showcase their skills against Walsall.
“Once they know that they [Darlington] have a couple of players from Bermuda I'm pretty sure my name will spring to mind for the Walsall supporters.”
Darlington, who play in the Vanarama National League North, were drawn against the Sky Bet League Two opposition during yesterday's draw for the next round of the oldest national football competition in the world.
“That's an exciting draw for them to go to Walsall, who are doing too well at the moment,” said Lightbourne, who scored 65 goals in 165 appearances for Walsall.
“They have been leaking goals and not been winning at home.
“When you make it this far you want a tie against a league team so the magic of the FA Cup lives on.”
Donawa has thrived in the competition, having netted in Darlington's 3-1 and 2-0 wins away to Trafford and Leamington in the second and third qualifying rounds.
“To play in a competition that has such a rich history like the FA Cup means a lot,” Donawa said.
“Growing up I always watched it on television, but to actually have the opportunity to play in it is very exciting.”