FA Isuzu Vase Preview

By Admin ccl

5 CCL Clubs involved in the FA Vase, 4th Round on Sat 13 Jan

By CCL Fixture Secretary, Alan Constable

Five CCL clubs have reached the heady heights of the 4th Round Proper of the FA Vase, due to be played this coming Saturday, 13 January.
Back in the 70’s, Epsom & Ewell reached the Final of the competition in its very first season, but it had been slim pickings since then until Chertsey Town not only reached the Final but won it in 2019. That was followed last season by the present holders, Ascot United.
Having had clubs actually winning the competition has wet the appetite and it is not inconceivable that we could have an all CCL Final this year. Other leagues and clubs would have plenty to say about that but with 5 of our clubs still in this season’s competition, who knows.
This is our preview of Saturday’s matches. The first noteworthy matter is that, unlike the previous round where three of the ties were all CCL affairs, the 4th Round sees all of our remaining clubs meeting opponents from other leagues. There are 16 ties at this stage, which will be played on Saturday 13 January and winning clubs will pick up £1875 from the competition prize fund and losing clubs collecting £600.
First up then is Deal Town who will entertain Cobham FC, Cobham being the only CCL club to be drawn away. This looks a tough one for Cobham with Deal sitting in 6th place in the strong Southern Counties East League. They were exempt until the 2nd Round of the Vase this season and have beaten both Newhaven and Lingfield to reach the last 32. They also have quite a Vase pedigree, having won the competition in the year 2000, beating Chippenham Town at Wembley by the only goal of the match. They have faced Cobham in the past on just one previous occasion in the 2008-09 season when Cobham came out on top by 3 goals to nil. Deal is situated on the Kent coast, a journey of 93 miles, via the M20 for Cobham.
We come now to Farnham Town who are literally running away with the CCL Premier Division South this season with a faultless 100% performance and maximum points, including their latest 2-0 win at Redhill on Tuesday evening, which gives them 51 points from their 17 league matches played to date. Indeed, there is magic in the air at Farham who have see some four figure gates at their ground this season when in the past they sometimes struggled to get 100. On the field their team is packed with players that have excelled at Steps 3 and 4 and it will take a good outfit to knock them out. Bridgwater, though will be no pushovers as they sit in 4th place in the Western League and, as Bridgwater Town, have plenty of experience at Step 4 in the past.
It is a journey of 110 miles each way for Bridgwater.
Next up we have Hilltop FC playing at home to Erith Town, also from the Southern Counties East League. It represents another hard challenge for Hilltop with Erith currently sitting in 4th place in the table. The match is to be played at Burnham FC’s excellent stadium, on their 3G surface. This is because Hillingdon Borough where Hilltop normally play, has been suffering badly with the recent weather and Hilltop were keen to get this match played on the day.
Erith first entered the competition in 1997-98 and their best performance came last season when they lost in the 4th Round to Bridgwater United. This season they were exempt until the 2nd Round and so far have defeated Peacehaven & Telscombe and Athletic Newham, both by the scoreline 0f 2-0.
Hilltop are a recent arrival in the CCL having won promotion to Division One, through a vacancy occurring, after they had lost 1-2 to Wallingford in the play-offs. Last season thus was their first season at Step 5 and they finished in a creditable 13th place.
This season they came in at the 2nd Qualifying Round stage and have so far beaten Brook House, on penalties, then Knaphill, then Amersham Town, also on penalties, followed by a 5-2 win over win over Hamble Club from the Wessex League.
The problems with their home ground have seen them slip down the table lately but they are in a false position due to a lack of matches. They are a Somali club with a number of teams, and have a number of Somali internationals in their squad.
Journey time for this one depends upon the route used, with a journey of 55 miles using the North Circular or 74 miles using the M25
We come now to Jersey Bulls from the Channel Islands. Jersey are very keen to do well each season in the Vase and are certainly contenders, having an excellent record in the competition, having reached the 5th Round in 22-23, before exiting by the only goal of the game at Newport Pagnell, who went on to reach the final, having also won it the previous season.
It’s an early kick-off on Saturday, at 1.00 p.m. Opponents are Hamworthy Recreation from Division One of the Wessex League. Based in Dorset, they were promoted after winning the Dorset County League in 21-22, winning it by only dropping 4 points all season. In fact, over 20 seasons in that League, Hamworthy rather dictated it, winning the League on 9 separate occasions and never finishing below 6th place. They are well placed to make it to Step 5 at the end of the current season. This is their very first season in the FA Vase but Jersey will need to be at their best if they are to go through.
Finally, it’s North Greenford United who are playing at home to Brixham, from the Western League, in which it is their first season after running away with the Eastern Division of the SW Peninsular League last time round. They also reached the 5th Round of the Vase last season and the 4th Round the previous season.
North Greenford are in 6th place in our Northern Premier Division and, win lose or draw on Saturday, this will already be their best season in the Vase although they missed a number of seasons when they were at Step 4 in the Southern League.
This one will see a 200 mile journey each way!
Good luck to all our clubs and please get out to support them where you can

With thanks to the Football Club History Database web pages for much of the information in this article.

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