FA Cup: Norton United boss keen to put Potteries side on the map

Scott Dundas, manager of Norton United
Scott Dundas hopes to lead Norton into the FA Cup first round for the first time in the club's history

Just like any winning team in almost any FA Cup tie, Scott Dundas, manager of little-known Potteries side Norton United, is the first to admit that his team have already had their share of scrapes in reaching the fourth qualifying round stage.

"We were 3-1 down with seven minutes left against Corby in the first qualifying round," Dundas told BBC Sport. "But we got a replay and took them back to our place, where we beat them.

"Then, in the last round, against Runcorn, we were 1-0 down after 30 seconds.

Norton United's FA Cup wins and winnings
Preliminary round: 30 Aug - Stafford Town 1-4 Norton (£1,925)
First qualifying round: 13 Sep - Corby Town 3-3 Norton
First qualifying round replay: 16 Sep - Norton 2-1 Corby Town (£3,000)
Second qualifying round: 27 Sep - Norton 2-1 Spalding (£4,500)
Third qualifying round: 11 Oct - Runcorn 2-5 Norton (£7,500)

"But we were 2-1 up by the break and, although they equalised, we ran riot."

The fact that the Evo-Stik League Division One side have already twice been close to coming unstuck counts for nothing on Saturday, however, when they host Northern League side Shildon, from County Durham, in what will be the biggest game in Norton's short 25-year history.

Before this season, Norton - based in Smallthorne on the north side of Stoke-on-Trent - had never been beyond the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute, home of Norton United
Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute has been home to Norton United since 1989

Now they stand just 90 minutes away from a place in the first round proper - and the chance to really put their name on English football's map.

In his fourth season in charge, after twice leading his side to promotion to climb out of the old North West Counties League, former Stafford Rangers midfielder Dundas, whose side sit 12th in the league, is quietly enjoying the club's continued progress.

"We've only got one player on the team, Michael Lennon, who has reached the first round before, with Hednesford last season," said Dundas.

Who are Norton United?
Norton United were founded in 1989 when they joined the Staffordshire Senior League.
Their home is the 1,500-capacity Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute, based in Smallthorne on the north side of Stoke-on-Trent.
Opponents Shildon, known as the Railwaymen after the wagon works that was the major employer in the town for many years, reached the FA Cup first round in 2003 when they were beaten 7-2 by Notts County.

"But myself, with Stafford Rangers, Richard Smith with Nantwich Town and Rob Hawthorne with Leek Town all have experience of reaching this stage before.

"And who knows? It's about confidence at any level of the game. We're on a run of eight wins on the trot."

Chairman Steve Beaumont added: "It's been a great run and we can't believe we're still there.

"Our winnings already are now about £18,000 - a massive amount of money for a club of our size.

"And, if we can get through the next one, there's £12,500 on that. When I heard our name in the draw for this round, I had to pinch myself."