We hoped Guernsey would do it but they fell at the semi-final hurdle but the League is absolutely delighted that member club, Chertsey Town, have reached the Final of the Buildbase FA Vase to be played at Wembley Stadium on SUNDAY 19 MAY, kick-off 12.15, against Southern Counties East club, Cray Valley (PM).
This time last season Chertsey were locked in a relegation battle but managed to avoid the drop and this time round, with an influx of funds and a highly experienced manager in Dave Anderson, they have fulfilled the ultimate Non-League dream for clubs at Steps 5 and 6, and reached the Final, albeit courtesy of a penalty shoot out. After drawing one apiece at Northwich Victoria the previous week, Chertsey had high hopes of finishing the job in 90 minutes on Saturday, but Northwich proved to be redoubtable opponents and neither side could break the deadlock even after extra-time. So, it was down to penalties and the Chertsey lads kept their nerve to score with all five, the scorers being Jake Baxter, Lubomir Guentchev, Dave Taylor, Andy Crossley and Sam Murphy. A great save saw Northwich fail to score with one of theirs and Chertsey were though by 5 pens to 3.
Hopefully the whole CCL community will turn out to cheer Chertsey on at the Final in the first all Southern final for many years. As soon as we have full details from the FA, we will advise on ticket prices and the like.
In the meantime, Chertsey now have a whole host of league fixtures to complete their season and possibly clinch the championship, although they still have to overcome the challenge of Sutton Common Rovers, who are currently six points ahead with four to play. If they won them all, SCR would have 83 points, so with Chertsey currently on 65 points, they need another 19 points to be absolutely certain of clinching the championship, from 12 matches left to play.
It means, of course, that Chertsey now have a succession of Tuesday and Thursday games starting tomorrow evening with an away match at Colliers Wood United, followed on Thursday with the re-arranged match away to Banstead Athletic, and then away to Badshot Lea on Saturday.
Banstead have their own very important match on Tuesday evening, when they entertain Tooting & Mitcham United in the semi-final of the Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup. It will be a tough ask against a Tooting side in good form generally but having beaten Woking in the previous round, Banstead will not be without a belief that they can reach the Final, which if they do, will be another rare achievement for both the club and the CCL.