Cup competitions elicit conflicting emotions in me. For Charlton, I am nonplussed about quick exits from the Carling Cup, the FA Cup and something called the Johnstone Paint Trophy. Getting back to England's second division is all that matters and insofar as any of these competitions distract from that essential goal, better they be gone and forgotten. But the actual losing to lower league and non-league teams is fairly embarrassing and not terribly heartening.
For DC United, on the other hand, the U.S. Open Cup offers the club's only real shot at glory. United has, of late, shined in the competition and the Cup has provided the most entertainment on offer to supporters over the last three seasons.
For the lower division teams in Scotland and England that we are connected to through player and kit sponsorships, the Cup competitions provide the only possible opportunities we have to see a match televised. Last season, Accrington Stanley's improbable FA Cup run gave us the chance to see them on the FSC; a pleasant surprise even if the result was disappointing. Stanley's upset of the Championship side Doncaster netted the club a second round Carling Cup match with the Toon at home today and, although Stanley bowed out of the competition, they did so after putting up a good fight. A late Sean Hessey strike gave Stanley the opportunity to equalize but Chris Turner's shot went awry and Newcastle moved on.
In the league cup in Scotland, two lower division teams took the scalps of SLP squads in the second round of the CIS Insurance Cup. Avoiding the Drop's Fuse's Ross County knocked out St. Mirren on penalty kicks and our own Raith Rovers forced Hamilton Academical -- which lost to Ross County in the second round of the Cup last year -- out on Tuesday.
Accounts from Stark's Park indicate that The Living Legend Gregory Tade may have missed a sitter and later failed to convert a penalty, but in a knockout Cup competition it does not matter how many goals you win by, only that you advance.
Ross County and Raith join three other second division sides (Falkirk, Dunfermline Athletic, and Queen of the South) and one third division side (Brechin City) in the final 16 of the competition.
Raith has got off to a roaring start in their league campaign, taking all nine points from the first three fixtures with a combined scoreline of 9 to 1 (with new recruit John Baird accounting for four of those league goals). Promotion back to the SPL for the second time in the club's history is undoubtedly more important than progress in the CIS Insurance Cup, but I am certain that all the club's supporters don't care to differentiate. Good times are good times. Let them roll on.