The FA Cup 1st Round always provides great interest as the surviving non-League clubs face opposition from League One and Two for the first time. All of the teams in the 1st Round know that they are only two games away from a potential tie against one of the giants of the Premier League. Jamie Slabber is one of those players who has experienced life with a top club but is now on the outside with Sutton United, looking in.
Sutton United are in the Football Conference South and are 4th in the table having lost only twice but have a couple of games in hand over teams above them. They entered the FA Cup at the end of September in the 2nd Qualifying Round. They had an away tie against fellow Conference South team, Whitehawk on their sloping ground. Sutton progressed with a 1 – 0 win thanks to a 3rd minute strike.
Former Tottenham youth and reserve player, Jamie Slabber, joined Sutton from Chelmsford City in the summer having scored 23 goals in 39 appearances. This season he has scored 6 goals in 14 appearances for Sutton including the goal in the next round which took Sutton past Lewes in another away game. The early goal came after 12 minutes from Slabber and was sufficient to secure victory.
The 4th Qualifying Round took Sutton to Hemel Hempstead Town. This time Sutton conceded an early goal but recovered to lead 3 – 1 a minute before half-time. Two goals within two minutes either side of the interval brought the tie level at 3 – 3 with a replay at Sutton’s Gander Green Lane ground where a crowd of 662 watched Sutton record a 2 – 0 win.
The draw has been rather unkind to Sutton as they now travel to Kidderminster Harriers in the 1st Round. Sutton face a difficult game as Harriers are currently 2nd in the Conference with 32 points from 17 games and have lost only one home game this season. They lost at Barnett last weekend having gone 8 games without defeat. Sutton, however, are in good form with a run of 13 matches undefeated.
Jamie Slabber is a striker. He is 28 years of age and progressed through the Tottenham youth system having joined in 2001. He was a regular in the reserves and made it onto the substitutes bench in 2003 making one appearance against Liverpool at White Hart Lane in March, 2003. He replaced Gary Doherty in the 79th minute and seven minutes after coming on created Tottenham’s second goal for Teddy Sheringham in a 3 – 2 defeat. He was an unused substitute on another couple of occasions.
He went out on loan to Danish club, AB, in 2004 and to Swindon Town in 2005. He was released by Spurs in April, 2005, joining non-League Aldershot to the end of the season. He then signed for Gray’s Athletic where he has had three spells, and has played for 6 other non-League clubs before moving to Sutton. He had two successful seasons with Eastleigh where he scored 33 goals in 66 appearances from 2010 before signing for Chelmsford in 2012.
Sutton In the FA Cup
Jamie Slabber has experienced life with a top club, although briefly, but Sutton themselves have made FA Cup headlines. The club is most famous for its FA Cup win over Coventry City in the 3rd Round in January 1989. Two seasons earlier Coventry had been FA Cup winners for the only time in their history defeating Tottenham at Wembley. Sutton’s win against Coventry remains the last time a semi-professional side beat a team from the top flight of English football.
Two wins with a favourable 3rd Round draw and Jamie Slabber could be returning to White Hart Lane with Sutton United. That’s the sort of dream that the FA Cup 1st Round throws up every season.