The draw has been made for the Quarter Finals of the Isuzu FA Vase.
With just eight teams remaining in the competition, THREE teams remain from the North West Counties Football League which is a record for our league at this stage of the competition. Also still involved are the holders Newport Pagnell Town.
The sides remaining are as follows:
1 Atherstone Town - Midland League Premier Division
2 Congleton Town - North West Counties Football League
3 Bury AFC - North West Counties Football League
4 West Didsbury & Chorlton - North West Counties Football League
5 Newport Pagnell Town - United Counties League Premier Division South
6 Peacehaven & Telscombe - Southern Combination Premier Division
7 Corsham Town - Hellenic League Premier Division
8 Ascot United - Combined Counties League Premier Division North
Bury AFC, Congleton Town and West Didsbury & Chorlton are the North West Counties Football League sides remaining and all had superb away wins on Saturday afternoon. Each of the sides are now just two rounds away from playing at Wembley Stadium in May.
The draw was made live once more on TalkSport Radio.
West Didsbury & Chorlton v Ascot United
West Didsbury & Chorlton face tough opposition in Ascot United, who are currently sitting top of the Combined Counties League Premier Division North and look a certainty for promotion. Of the 20 league games that they have played this season, they have won 18 and lost just one, that loss coming at the start of October. Of the 22 games they have played since, they have won 21 including each of the last nine.
It is doubul through that they will have encountered anything like the vociferous home support that West Didsbury & Chorlton get. Ascot's average crowd this season is 135 with a maximum of 315, whereas West have an average of 652 with a maximum of 1185. There should be something like that for the Ascot game, with 1200 being the club's capacity.
This is West's best ever run in the competition having remarkably never gone past the First Round Proper in the past. Ascot have done well in their previous 12 FA Vase campaigns, having reached the Quarter Finals previously in 2012/13 and 2014/15.
Congleton Town v Bury AFC
Its the tie that we did not want as a league but it does guarantee somebody from our league a spot in the Semi Final of the competition.
Both teams are from our Premier Division with Congleton Town sitting in 8th place at present and Bury AFC sitting in 5th place. Congleton's will be pleased with a home draw as their season has been built around their home form. From 22 games in all competitions at home this season, they have won 16, drew five and lost just the once. They have not won at home for three games though, with the loss to Padiham followed by draws against Avro and Irlam.
Bury AFC achieved promotion last season by winning the First Division North and are doing well this season. A run to the Final Qualifying Round of the FA Cup and a host of postponements has seen them fall behind in games and they have between five and eight games in hand on the four teams above them. They are just eleven points behind leaders Avro, so a title challenge by the end of the season is by no means beyond them.
Congleton have been competing in the FA Vase since 1976/77 season and this is the furthest they have got in the competition. They previously had reached the Fifth Round twice in 2003/04 and 2020/21. Bury AFC are only in their second season as a club, and after losing in their Vase debut last season, have done amazingly well to reach this stage in their second.
The two sides have met just once previously back in August with Ben Wharton and Lewis Gilboy putting Bury two ahead by half time. Tom Pope pulled one back for the Bears but Bury held on to run out 2-1 winners. The return meeting is this midweek!
Newport Pagnell Town v Atherstone Town
Newport Pagnell Town are the current holders of the Isuzu FA Vase having beaten Littlehampton Town 3-0 at Wembley Stadium last May. They play in the United Counties League Premier Division South and are currently fifth in their league but have only played 17 league games, with six games in hand on runaway leaders Rugby Town who they would do well to catch. They have never faced a NWCFL in the past.
Atherstone Town play in the Midland Football League and they are currently 14th in the Premier Division. They play in Atherstone in North Warwickshire, but they are less than five miles from the Staffordshire border. As a result they are often in the same group as our southerly teams in the FA Competitions and have faced NWCFL sides four times previous in the FA Cup and four times previous in the FA Vase. Their last meeting saw them beat Abbey Hulton United in last season's Vase.
Peacehaven & Telscombe v Corsham Town
Peacehaven & Telscombe play in the Southern Combination Premier Division. They play in Peacehaven, with Telscombe being a seperate parish just outside the town which is located around six miles east of Brighton. They are 8th in the league table at present having won 14 and lost 8 of their 24 games. They have reached the Quarter Finals of the FA Vase just once, that coming in 1995/96. Some of our older supporters may remember them, as they were knocked out that season by Clitheroe en-route to the Final. That was the only time they have ever faced one of our sides.
Corsham Town play in the Hellenic League Premier Division. Corsham is a historic market town in West Wiltshire, and is at the south-eastern edge of the Cotswolds between Bath and Chippenham. They are in 5th place in the table with 13 wins, five draws and two defeats in the league. Having only played 20 games, they have nine games in hand on leaders Malvern Town. Corsham has little FA Vase history, having reached the Third Round once back in 2005/06. However only once in the last 12 years have they even advanced past the Qualifying Round stage, so this is completely alien territory to them. Unsurprisingly they have never faced a NWCFL team.
WHEN IS IT?
Ties to be played on Saturday 11th March. Winners at this stage in the Vase will pick up £4,125 from the prize fund with losing clubs also getting £1,350.