As we go into 2019, it’s FA Vase time again and this season we have two clubs in the 4th Round of the Buildbase FA Vase playing on Saturday and both will be hoping to make it into the last 16 of the competition and the 5th Round, when the draw will certainly eb fully national.
In alphabetical order, Abbey Rangers, who don’t seem to get too many home draws, find themselves travelling into Kent to meet Southern Counties East side Bearsted FC. They are a comparatively new club at senior level, even though they can trace their history back to 1895, having only come into Step 5 at the end of 2015-2016 season by virtue of winning the Kent Invicta League. In their two seasons at this level, they have finished 12th and 14th respectively. They currently sit in 8th place in their table with 31 points from 19 matches. If the match is drawn, the replay will take place at Abbey on Tuesday 8 January.
Our second club in contention are our current leaders, Chertsey Town, who have built an impressive squad this season under manager Dave Anderson, who has managed a number of clubs at higher levels, not least AFC Wimbledon. Their opponents are Cornwall club AFC St. Austell, who are actually a Step 6 club, possibly not too keen on promotion at present as, under the current structure, they would face massive travelling if they went into the Western League.
They know what it is like though to do well in the FA Vase, reaching the semi-finals in the 2014-2015 season, only losing 1-2 on aggregate to Glossop North End. Once again they are doing well in the South West Peninsular League this season, currently placed 4th with 44 points from 21 games. They came through their 3rd Round Vase tie by beating Cadbury Heath by scoring eight goals although they did concede four!
Without actually having checked it out, this tie almost certainly has the longest journey, with a distance of some 231 miles between the clubs. Understandably if it is a draw, the replay will be next Saturday, the 12th January.
There is one other cup match this Saturday, this one involving Division One Sandhurst Town, who will be entertaining Burnham FC in the 4th Round of the Berks and Bucks Senior Trophy to see who advances into the semi-final. In case anyone is wondering why the tie is being played on a Saturday, it is because Sandhurst’s originally scheduled league match was brought forward, leaving them free. Burnham seemed to have an aversion to playing the tie in midweek, which apparently the Hellenic League does not insist upon, so this Saturday suited everyone in the end.
There is also a fairly full league programme this weekend, the pick in the Premier Division possibly being 3rd placed Banstead Athletic at home to 4th placed Redhill. The match at Raynes Park Vale, who are due to meet 2nd place Sutton Common Rovers, is in some doubt as a small part of the pitch has remained flooded. The club has been working hard to overcome the problem which seems to have been caused by a tree branch causing a length of piping to deteriorate, resulting in a severe leak. The club is hopeful the problem has now been resolved but it would be worth checking before you travel.
Also the match between Guildford City and Colliers Wood United is being played at Frimley Green FC, Guildford being nomads this season until the extensive repair work of the Specrum track is finally completed.
In Division One, the “match of the day” is undoubtedly Bedfont & Feltham at home to Sheerwater. 2nd placed Bedfont have a slight advantage going into the match, being three points ahead of Sheers with a match in hand. Leaders Frimley are away to Chessington & Hook, who are as good as any on their day