AFC Bull take on the Pineapple and Aigburth Arms eye FA Sunday Cup progression this Sunday.
The National Cup returns as the eight remaining teams eye semi-final places. It’s an all-Merseyside clash as the two Merseyrail Business Houses sides go head-to-head at Bootle FC’s Berry Street Garage. Meanwhile, last season’s Championship winners take on Sunderland Southwick.
In the other side of the draw, SE Dons, who boast 227,000 YouTube subscribers, take on last year’s beaten finalists Highgate Albion. Meanwhile, 2021 runners-up St Joseph’s (Luton) face Borussia Martlesham.
AFC Bull vs Pineapple
Venue: Berry Street Garage Stadium
It will be the third meeting between the two teams this season after going head-to-head in their respective seasons.
The Pineapple ran out 6-1 winners in their first meeting in the cup before the Bull hit back with a 4-1 win in the Business Houses Premier.
Following their 7-0 win over the Canada in the cup, the Bull – who sit second in the league – are looking to continue their push to etch their name in Liverpool National Cup history.
On their route to the last eight, they have won ties against Avenue FC, the Mayfair and Birkenhead Sunday League side Dock AFC.
The Pineapple are standing in their way of a place in the semi-finals as they look to end Liverpool 8’s wait for nationwide success which dates back to 1989.
They beat Custy’s in the previous round in a highly publicised clash as Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith took to the field and missed a penalty, hours after knocking out Chris Eubank Jr.
For the Pineapple, they have beaten FC Sankey, Chapeltown and their Business Houses Premier Division rivals.
Lee from the Bull told Off The Park there’s “no trophy better” to win: “We’re excited, a bit gutted it’s against a local team because when you’re in the quarter-final of the National Cup, you’d like to think you’ll be playing someone across the country, still excited. They’re a good team the Pineapple, they can beat anyone to be honest so if we are to win and go through, we need to be at our best definitely.
“Last season we were fighting relegation, this season we’ve managed to get a few players in and if you could in and win the National Cup, you’re going in alongside big names like the Oyster, the Campfield, the Seymour and others who have won it, it’s quite a big list from Liverpool. It’d be brilliant, there’s no better trophy to win in amateur football.
“I think a lot of the teams in our Premier Division would beat teams around the country, it’s just unfortunate that they put it together in the early rounds. They’re one of the better teams in our league this season, they’re going to fancy themselves, on their day going forward they can beat anyone.”
The Pineapple’s Curtis Lopez says it has the “makings for a cracker”, he said: “This is the joint furthest we’ve gone in the competition so if we manage to go one step further it’ll be the furthest we’ve been, Nicosia who are based as aa south-end team but no team from Liverpool 8 has gone on to win it since the Almithek in 1989 so growing up after that and knowing people involved, it’d mean a lot to go on and emulate that.
“You’ve got to beat everyone to win it anyway so when people moan about the draw, to me personally it makes no difference, we know each other, we’ve played each other twice this season, we beat them 6-1, they beat us 4-1 and I think since we beat them, they’ve done a bit of recruitment and gone out, put an amazing run together and been absolutely outstanding but we always have good games and they’re always full of goals. It could make for a cracker.
“Jason puts it on the end of his clips at the end of every tweet, it is the best Sunday league in the land, no doubt if we didn’t play each other, I fully believe the last eight would probably be all teams from Liverpool. This is what you’re involved in Sunday league footy for. It does make it that little bit better that it’s against someone from your league, everyone’s right up for it. It’s all the makings for a cracker.”
Aigburth Arms vs Sunderland Southwick
Venue: Jericho Lane Football Hub L17, 5AR
The Aigburth Arms have been handed a difficult home tie with Sunderland Southwick. Their route to the quarter-finals has saw visits from teams in the North East, as well as their trip to Leicester and Charnwood Premier Division side Long Whatton in the previous round.
The Arms sit eighth in the Business Houses but have found their form in the National Cup. Despite being reduced to 10 men against Long Whatton, they went on to win on penalties.
In the previous round, a Oliver Sanderson-Rigby’s long-range free-kick late on ended The Lansdowne’s hopes of progressing in the competition.
It remains to be seen whether there will be an all Merseyside semi-final should either the Bull or Pineapple go through and Aigburth Arms progress but there is an opportunity for strong Liverpool Business Houses representation in the latter stages of the competition dubbed the ‘Holy Grail of Sunday League’.
Arran Moore of the Arms says these are the types of games that you play Sunday football for, he said: “It’s everything, Sunday footy is just areas of Liverpool, groups of mates, the National Cup comes around once a year. This is our first year back in the Prem [Business Houses Premier Division], a new team, we’ve come this far now and we’re looking to go all the way, we’ve got to get past Southwick first, we’ve heard a few things about them so hopefully it’s a good game. It’s what you play for on a Sunday, we’re looking forward to it.
“When you come into the National Cup you always want them games because we play them teams two or three times a year in cups and the league so you don’t want to play them in the National but preparations side of things I think they’ve got the advantage – the Pineapple and the Bull – because they know each other, we’re going into a team we don’t know. We’ve watched one clip of them on YouTube so it’s not like Saturday league where you know your teams inside out whereas on Sunday’s, Sunday football is Sunday football half the time you don’t get half your players turning up. We don’t know much about them but they don’t know much about us, we’re the home team, they’ve got to come to us, we’re looking forward to it.
“We’ve been lucky with the draws, we had the Brow first round then we had the Sunderland team in the same league then Long Whatton the last round, we’ve done well. We haven’t really battered teams, it’s been battles so I think it’ll go in our favour because we’re used to battling now, I don’t think this’ll be much different, it’ll be a good game. It means everything to me, I took over two years ago, if you asked me at the start of the season we’d be in the quarter-final of the National Cup, I’d probably wouldn’t believe you but look, on our day, we’re capable of beating anyone, if we turn up Sunday we can go all the way in my eyes, it’s one step at the time and we’ll take it from there if I’m honest.”