The Buildbase FA Vase is not too far from the business end of the competition and the CCL has nine clubs still in the running with one of them bound to be in the draw for the 3rd Round with Horley Town paired with Sutton Common Rovers. That tie is taking place this evening (Friday) and doubtless SCR will start as favourites , being both at home (at Sutton United) and leading Horley by 7 points in the table. Horley though have been exempt until this point by virtue of their fine run last season and will not want to go out of the competition at what, for them, is the first stage. Kick-off is 7.45 p.m.
Here’s a look at the clubs standing between our other clubs and a 3rd Round place.
Abbey Rangers entertain Lordswood FC. They are from Kent and play in the Southern Counties East League in which they currently hold 12th place. Their best Vase performance came in the 12-13 season when they reached the 4th Round before travelling up to Spennymoor Town where they lost 1-3.
League leaders Chertsey Town are also at home and face Horndean FC. The two clubs look well matched with Horndean sitting in 2nd place in the Wessex League. Their best performance came last season when they reached the 3rd Round before losing to Hamble Club. They also reached the same round back in 2012-2013 before losing heavily against Bemerton Heath Harlequins.
Next we come to Southall, back in the CCL this season after a considerable stint in the Spartan S. Midlands League. They are ground sharing at Ashford Town (Middx) and will entertain Chatham Town, relegated two seasons ago from Step 4. Chatham are also members of the Southern Counties East League in which they are in 3rd place and clearly looking for a return to Step 4. It looks another well matched tie. Chatham had not played in the FA Vase for may years until last season spending much of their time in the FA Trophy.
The final match on Saturday sees Banstead Athletic, still unbeaten in the League this season, travelling down to play Steyning Town Community, also an old CCL club but it was a long time ago now. They play at Step 6 but are doing well in the Southern Combination, being in 3rd place with nine wins out of 11. By far their best performance in the competition was the 84-85 season when they reached the quarter-finals before going out to Halesowen Town.
There are two more games on Sunday: Badshot Lea have a tough task at home (Camberley Town) to Cray Valley (PM). They are in 6th place in the Southern Counties East but with matches in hand. They can call upon the services of at least two ex-Charlton Athletic players and the writer having watched them personally, they will be a tough nut to crack but Badshot have always been capable of pulling off good results when needed so we will see. Cray have only been in the FA Vase for seven seasons since leaving intermediate football but they reached the 2nd Round in the 13-14 season before going out to South Park after a replay.
The other Sunday tie sees our only remaining Step 6 representative, Kensington Borough, now playing their matches at Leatherhead FC, at home to Erith Town who have already accounted for two CCL sides this season. They are down in 15th place in the Southern Counites East but have two to three matches in hand and Kensington will do well to overcome them. Their improved form of late though will surely give them some confidence. Erith reached the 3rd Round in the 13-14 season, losing at that stage to Norwich United.
Good luck to all CCL sides. The draw for the 3rd Round will be released on Monday.
Thank you to the superb Football Club History Database for much of the above information. You can find the site at http://fchd.info