Buildbase FA Vase Preview - Saturday 24th September 2016
Fri 23rd September 2016 | FA Challenge Vase
By Martin Fallon
The Second Qualifying Round of the Buildbase FA Vase rolls around this weekend, with 27 of our sides in action. These will battle it out across 20 ties with the winners moving into the First Round alongside Runcorn Linnets, 1874 Northwich and Atherton Collieries, who received exemptions due to their top four finishes last season.
In case you have ever wondered, the early rounds of the FA Vase are regionalised in eleven different “zones”. The number of zones reduces as the rounds progress until the Fourth Round Proper, when the competition becomes a fully national draw. Zones for all our clubs are listed at the bottom of this review.
For the keen mathematicians amongst you, 27 clubs and 20 ties mean that seven of our sides will be facing each other in this round of games, so we will start our preview by looking at those games.
ALL HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE TIES
The Select Security Stadium in Widnes will be hosting its first ever FA Vase match as Widnes face Chadderton. Widnes progressed through the this round with a 2-0 win at Maltby Main in the last round, Jason McShane and Kev Towey on the scoresheet, whilst a Scott Foster double helped Chadderton on their way to a 5-3 win at St Helens Town.
It is the second meeting this season between the sides after Chadderton won 2-1 at Widnes in the league in August. Widnes are looking to reach the First Round for the first time whilst Chadderton reached the Fourth Round two seasons ago, their best ever run.
Another all-First Division tie takes place at Woodland Court where Alsager Town host Stockport Town. Looking at recent games, I think it's safe to say that this will not finish 0-0 with games involving these two certainly racking up the goals. The last six games for Alsager have seen seen 23 goals go in at one end or the other, whilst Stockport's last six games have seen 35 goals!
The tie is Stockport's debut in the FA Vase, whilst Alsager reached the Third Round last season before losing 2-0 at home to AFC Wulfrunians. The tie is also the first ever meeting between the two sides, the first league encounter coming up next month.
Ashton Town will take on Barnton at Edge Green Street with both sides struggling at the wrong end of the table, but the Vase has been good to both clubs. Ashton, who have won just one of their ten league games in the First Division, had a superb 4-2 win at home to NCEL Premier Division side Parkgate in the last round, whilst Barnton, without a win in nine Premier Division games, beat Harworth Colliery 5-2 after extra time.
Barnton have a 100% record over Ashton in four previous meetings, the last of which came at Barnton in April when the home side won 2-0. Ashton will be looking to reach the First Round for the second time in three seasons, whilst Barnton have never reached the First Round before, although this is only their third season in the competition.
Another two sides struggling in the league meet at Crilly Park as Atherton LR host Cammell Laird 1907. LR are second bottom of the form guide in the First Division having lost five of their last six games, whilst Lairds, who parted company with manager Neil Prince in midweek, are bottom of the Premier Division form guide having lost all of their last six games.
Both of these sides received a bye in the last round of the competition, with Lairds looking to win their first FA Vase game since formation two seasons ago. Atherton LR last reached the First Round in 2013/14, but they will have to go a long way to beat their best run which was in 1993/94 when they agonisingly missed out on a place at Wembley. They reached the Semi Final against Diss Town, and despite losing the first leg away 3-1, they won the home leg 2-0. However with no away goals rule in place that would have put them into the Final, a replay took place which they lost 2-1.
Bacup Borough face a trip to Cheshire to face Congleton Town at the Richborough Estates Stadium. Bacup have also lost five of their last six games, but they will fancy their chances at a Congleton side who have won just two of their seven home games this season.
Once again both of these sides received a bye in in the last round of the competition. Bacup last reached the First Round in 2011/12, and they have reached that stage eight times in the past. Congleton have reached at least the First Round in each of the last four seasons, a run that they will be looking to continue on Saturday.
AFC Blackpool host Runcorn Town at the Mechanics Ground, with the Blackpool side looking for only their second win of the season after struggling to adapt to life in the First Division following their relegation last season. Runcorn come into the game having won eight of their twelve games this season, sitting in 5th place in the Premier Division.
It's a first meeting in the Vase between the two sides, with Blackpool looking to reach the First Round for the first time since 2013/14. Runcorn have good Vase pedigree, having reached at least the Second Round in every one of their previous six campaigns, and they beat Winsford United 4-1 in the last round.
Our final all Hallmark Security League tie is the only one which is an all-Premier Division affair, as AFC Liverpool host Abbey Hey at the Marine Travel Arena. After a slow start, Liverpool have shown signs of improvement and come into this game five games unbeaten including a 3-1 win over Ashton Athletic midweek. Likewise Abbey Hey have struggled for consistency also, winning four and losing six of their eleven games this season, with Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at New Mills being their only draw.
Once more both of these sides come into the game having received a bye in the last round, and both have similar records in the competition. The Third Round is the best that both sides have done, and whilst it has been four years since Liverpool reached the First Round, Abbey Hey last reached that round last season.
STEP SEVEN CLUBS
As we know the FA Vase is open to clubs in Step 5, 6 and 7 of the National League System. The entry criteria is based on ground grading so not too many Step 7 sides enter the competition. It is therefore unusual that three of our sides face Step 7 clubs in the Second Qualifying Round.
Holker Old Boys travel to Birtley Town who play in the Premier Division of the Northern Alliance after being relegated from the Northern League last season. Birtley is a town just south of Gateshead, and is where the Angel of the North sits. The football club currently sit in 10th place in the league table, but they have won their last three games including a 6-0 league cup win last Saturday. Holker are 8th in the First Division and warmed up for this game with a thrilling 4-3 win over Carlisle City on Tuesday evening.
Birtley received a bye in the last round, but they are no strangers to the Vase with this being their ninth successive season entering. This is the first time that they have faced a Hallmark Security League side. Holker also received a bye in the last round and are facing a side from the North East for the fifth season in a row. Fortunately for them they are not facing Bishop Auckland who have knocked them out in each of the last two campaigns.
Barnoldswick Town are at home to Stokesley Sports Club who was also relegated from the Northern League last season. They are currently in 12th place in the Wearside League having won four of their 12 games. Barnoldswick are 9th in the Premier Division and won 3-2 away at Squires Gate on Tuesday evening. They are in good form with their only losses since August coming against Atherton Colls and Runcorn Linnets.
In the last round of the competition, Barnoldswick won 4-0 away at Darlington Railway Athletic, their best ever away win in the Vase. They have not reached the First Round though since the 2012/13 season, which was their best run to date when they reached the Third Round. Stokesley did reach the First Round last season, which was their best run since 2008/09 when they reached the Second Round.
The final club facing a Step 7 club is Litherland REMYCA, who face West Cheshire League side Vauxhall Motors at home. Vauxhall had a meteoric rise up the Non League game after promotion from our league in 1999/00, climbing up to Conference North where they spend ten seasons. Two years ago though they dramatically dropped down to the West Cheshire League due to spiralling costs, and they currently sit third in the league after finishing fourth in each of the last two seasons.
REMYCA won their first ever FA Vase tie in the last round of the competition with a 2-1 win at City of Liverpool, and this is only the second year that they have entered the competition. Conversely Vauxhall are former FA Vase Semi Finalists (in 1999/00), but they have not reached the First Round in their current incarnation, losing to Rochdale Town and Abbey Hey in the last two campaigns.
NORTHERN COUNTIES EAST
Due to the zonal makeup of the draw, seven of our 13 sides facing outside competition do so from the Northern Counties East League. Of these seven, five are away from home, and one of the seven is played on the Sunday, so let’s start there.
Daisy Hill travel to Queensgate to face Bridlington Town in a game that is on Sunday due to tenants Scarborough having priority due to their higher league status. Bridlington are a league higher than The Cutters and are currently 15th in the league although strangely they have only played one home league game this season which they lost to Clipstone. They have played at home in both FA Competitions though, drawing with both Silsden and Harrogate Town in the FA Cup and winning 6-0 against Yorkshire Amateur in the last round of the FA Vase.
Daisy Hill are 14th in the First Division, but are unbeaten in their last four matches which includes a 4-1 win over Garforth Town in the last round of the competition. They have reached the Second Round twice, with their last First Round appearance coming two seasons ago. As for Bridlington, they won the Vase in 1992/93 against Tiverton Town, and were losing finalists against Yeading in 1989/90, that coming in a replay at Elland Road following a goalless draw at Wembley. More recently they have not reached the First Round since 2013/14 when they went on to reach the Third Round.
Moving to the Saturday games, and Charnock Richard’s debut FA Vase adventure continues with a trip to Harrogate Railway Athletic. The Railwaymen were relegated from the EvoStik League last season, and it’s safe to say that they have struggled to adapt to life in the NCEL Premier Division as they sit 20th at present. They have won just once all season, losing all four home games in the league including a 3-0 loss to Worksop Town on Tuesday. Charnock meanwhile are thriving in their inaugural First Division campaign, currently in fourth place with seven wins from their 12 games.
As mentioned this is Charnock’s debut in the Vase, with a superb 2-0 win away at Whickham in the last round. As for Harrogate, this is their first FA Vase campaign since 2005/06 due to them playing in the Evostik since then, and they have reached the Fourth Round in the past, that coming back in 1988/89 season.
Irlam travel to the wonderfully named Euronics Ground to face NCEL First Division side Westella & Willerby. The home side are still searching for their first win of the 2016/17 season, and they currently sit bottom of the table with two points from ten games. Irlam are 8th after winning promotion last season, losing just two of their opening eleven games, and they are currently four games unbeaten.
Wistella are playing in just their third FA Vase campaign and they have yet to reach the First Round. Irlam reached the Second Round in 2010/11 but they have failed to win a match in the competition since that season.
The First Division entertainers Silsden entertain NCEL First Division side Hall Road Rangers at home. Silsden have scored a superb 30 goals in their nine league games this season, and come into the game in good form with five wins from the last six games. Hall Road are in similar form, with five wins from their last seven games jumping them up to third place in their league table.
Silsden won 2-1 at Knaresborough Town in the last round, and will be looking to reach the First Round for the third successive season. Hall Road’s Vase history stretches back to the 1975/76 season, their best being the Third Round in 1999/00, and they have not reached the First Round since 2012/13.
West Didsbury & Chorlton travel to Penistone Church with both sides having great seasons so far. West are sitting in third place in the Premier Division with seven wins from their 11 games, also boasting the best attack and best goal difference in the division. Penistone sit top of the NCEL First Division and are unbeaten in the league so far, their only loss this season coming against Cheadle Town in the FA Cup. They also have the best goal difference in their league having conceded just six goals.
Penistone are playing in their fourth FA Vase campaign, and their 5-1 win at Winterton Rangers in the last round was their first ever victory in the competition. West will be looking to reach the First Round for the fourth successive season, whilst they will have to go some way to beat last season’s 15-1 win over Dinnington Town at this stage, that being the biggest win in FA Vase history.
Due to their FA Cup success this season, Ashton Athletic find themselves playing in an FA Competition for the fourth successive Saturday, and they host AFC Emley at home. This success for Ashton has meant them playing less league games than anyone else, and they sit 18th coming into the game. Emley are 11th in the NCEL First Division and unbeaten in their last four games, with goalscoring supremo Ashley Flynn scoring in all but one game this season after his record 74 goals last campaign.
Ashton beat Athersley Recreation 2-0 in the last round with Emley receiving a bye. Ashton reached the First Round in each of their first two seasons in the Vase, but they have failed to do so since then, that last appearance coming in 2008/09. Last season Emley got knocked out at this stage by Congleton Town, the first time in six seasons that they have failed to make the First Round.
The final side to face a NCEL side is Bootle, the Premier Division’s form side who have won their last six matches including a 4-1 win over Maine Road in the last round of the Vase. They are currently in fourth place in the league, and travel to Rossington Main of the NCEL First Division. Rossington have been hit and miss this season, but come into Saturday’s match having won their last two league games without conceding a goal.
Bootle reached the Fourth Round of the Vase in 2008/09, and last season was only the second time since then that they have failed to make the First Round. Rossington, who received a bye in the last round, have not reached the First Round since 2009/10, and their best ever run was to the Second Round which came back in 1988/89.
OTHER OUTSIDE OPPOSITION
Our final three sides, all from our Premier Division, face opposition from the Northern League, the Midland Football League and the East Midlands Counties League.
First up is New Mills who entertain Midland League side Radford, a side who are currently 13th in their Premier Division, the same level as New Mills. Radford are unbeaten in three games, although they have won just twice on the road this season. New Mills are the same position in our Premier Division, although the Millers have won just once in their last nine games.
This is New Mills’ first FA Vase tie since 2010/11 due to them playing in the Evostik League until last season. It’s fair to say Radford don’t have the best Vase pedigree, their twenty seasons playing in it yielding just six wins. However one of those came in the last round with a 1-0 win at Belper United, and they reached the First Round last season which is the best that they have done.
Padiham travel to Northern League side West Auckland Town, two time losing Finalists in the Vase. Steve Wilkes’ Padiham are 17th in the Premier Division, and they come into the game in poor form having lost eight of their last nine games. However West Auckland are also in poor form, currently sitting bottom of the Northern League First Division, the same level as Padiham, and they have lost nine of their opening ten games, their only victory coming on the opening Saturday of the season.
West Auckland did beat Seaham Red Star in the last round of the Vase though, and it’s a competition that they do well in, having reached at least the First Round in each of the last seven seasons. They have also reached the Final at Wembley twice in the last five seasons, losing both against Dunston UTS and Sholing. As for Padiham, their best run came in the 1981/82 season when they reached the Third Round, with their best run in recent times coming in 2011/12 when they reached the Second Round.
Our final game sees Hanley Town host Boldmere St Michaels who play in the Midland Football League Premier Division, the same level as Hanley. After winning the First Division last season, Hanley are 7th at present, coming into this game on the back of a confidence boosting 6-0 win at Barnton in midweek. Boldmere’s 17th placed position, with just two wins this season, could be misleading as they have played every game this season away from home, with their first home game not scheduled until 12th November!
Boldmere played in the very first FA Vase in 1974/75, reaching the Third Round, and they have regularly done well in the competition. In the last round they produced a superb 5-0 win at AFC Bridgnorth. Hanley are relative newcomers in comparison with this being their sixth Vase campaign, and they have reached the First Round twice in the past, the last coming two seasons ago.
So that’s it. 27 clubs, 20 ties, and a 3,300 word review! Let’s hope that it’s another lengthy review for me to do in a couple of weeks’ time as it means that many of our sides will have progressed. Good luck to all of our clubs!
As mentioned at the start of this review, here at the zones for each of our clubs:
Zone 1: Barnoldswick Town, Charnock Richard, Daisy Hill, Holker Old Boys, Padiham, Silsden
Zone 2: AFC Blackpool, AFC Liverpool, Abbey Hey, Alsager Town, Ashton Athletic, Ashton Town, Atherton LR, Bacup Borough, Barnton, Bootle, Cammell Laird 1907, Chadderton, Congleton Town, Irlam, Litherland REMYCA, Runcorn Town, Stockport Town, West Didsbury & Chorlton, Widnes
Zone 3: Hanley Town
Zone 4: New Mills
Buildbase FA Vase Preview - Saturday 24th September 2016
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