Big FA Vase tests loom for valiant Cadbury Heath, Cribbs and Almondsbury
A TRIO of Bristol clubs are left flying the flag for Gloucestershire in this season’s Buildbase FA Vase competition as they brace themselves for second round proper combat on Saturday, November 3 (all 3pm), writes Simon Parkinson.
Cadbury Heath are among them and targeting a route into round three as they travel to take on an Exmouth Town outfit currently plying their trade to reasonable effect in the upper realms of the South West Peninsula League Premier Division.
Heath reached the stage courtesy of a 5-0 Springfield thrashing of Exmouth’s league rivals Sidmouth Town in the previous round thanks to experienced hot-shot Matt Huxley’s hat-trick and two Harrison Kyte strikes.
Andy Black’s men, who play at Step 5 status under the National League System umbrella compared with their Devon opponents’ Step 6 level, will be fancying their chances of progression on the strength of that divisional gap and their form in general in Western League and cups this term.
Heath’s Toolstation Prem compatriots Cribbs are also eyeing further progression and should fancy their chances too as they head for the Isle of Wight to confront a Newport side experiencing a mixed bag of results in Sydenhams Wessex League’s second tier, which is a standard beneath that performed by Tony Beecham’s Bristol-based battlers on the national non-League scale.
Cribbs have run into form of late and booked their exciting away-day on the south coast island by overcoming Hellenic Prem opposition Brimscombe and Thrupp 3-2 on their London Road travels through Ben Dowdell’s first-half free-kick and second-half penalty, and Sol Wanjau-Smith’s early opener.
Ollie Pitt and Ben Deakin had responded with goals for the Hellenic high-fliers to tie it up at 2-2 at one stage, their disappointed team swiftly going on to clinically take out their frustrations on Abingdon Town in a Bluefin Challenge Cup tie in their next appearance a week on by thrashing the Oxfordshire outfit 7-0.
A delighted Beecham said: “We’d had Brimscombe watched and knew how they set up.
“They’re a strong and physical team so it was very pleasing and another indication that we’d turned the corner after serious player unavailability had cost us dear at the start of the season.”
Last but far from least, Hellenic One West hopefuls Almondsbury possibly face the sternest test of all as they entertain a Hamble Club team from Hampshire who have been in inconsistent form so far in the higher Step 5 Wessex League Premier Division whilst nevertheless competing hard at the right end of their table.
The Almonds secured their golden second round opportunity with a splendid 2-1 victory over Toolstation Prem big guns Bitton at The Field via Henry Greenbury and Keelan Mastouras goals.
“It was massive for the club but we always knew we had it in us,” boss Neil Bailey insisted. “We know that if we play to our full capabilities we can beat anyone at this level.
“Bitton shaded the first half but we were the better team overall and deserved our victory.”