FA Vase Fourth Round
DAN Langdon insists his Bitton team’s 6-0 midweek away mauling of Almondsbury in the GFA Challenge Trophy has put them in the mood for this Saturday’s next big FA Vase challenge (January 11), writes Simon Parkinson.
The Bath Road battlers, who disappointingly appear already to have dropped out of Toolstation Premier Division promotion contention, at least have plenty yet to play for on the cups front as they chase silverware not only in those two county and national knock-out tournaments but in Western League Les Phillips competition combat too.
Bitton now entertain Warminster Town (3pm) at WDS Associates Legal Services Stadium in the fourth round of the Vase, opponents who, despite their current mid-table status in Division One of the Toolstation League, cannot be taken lightly after despatching of Bitton’s Prem compatriots Roman Glass St George 2-1 at Oaklands Park at the previous stage.
Nevertheless Bitton approach the tie hot favourites as they strive to take another significant step towards Wembley by reaching the last 16 on home soil.
And the Rec men certainly set their stall out for Saturday’s showdown with that six-goal blitz of Warminster’s league rivals Almondsbury at The Field on Tuesday night, as Harrison Kyte’s double, Jordan Whittaker’s late first-half penalty opener and second-half efforts by fit-again Karim Rendell, Mario Mateus and Alex Grimshaw catapulted Bitton into the third round of the GFA Trophy and a Tuesday, January 21 home appointment with Hellenic Prem outfit Tuffley Rovers.
“That was very encouraging ahead of the Vase on Saturday,” Langdon enthused. “It wasn’t an easy surface to play on but we still played good football and the lads did well to stick to the game plan.
“The GFA cups are amongst my favourite competitions. We reached the semi-finals of this Challenge Trophy tournament last season and we were beaten finalists (by Brimscombe and Thrupp) the year before.
“I was manager of our reserves when we won the Senior Amateur Cup against Easton Cowboys in 2016, made all the more memorable as I saved the last penalty in the shoot-out to secure us the trophy!
“My target again is to try and win the Challenge Trophy but of course it’s always been my and the club’s ambition to get to Wembley and we’ll do everything we can to try and make it happen this year.”
The Bitton boss reasoned: “When we apply ourselves correctly I fancy us against anyone. All the lads are training hard to ensure they’re mentally and physically right for Saturday and we’ll have a lot of support from our junior and youth sections along with the rest of the club.
“We did have Warminster watched against Bishop Sutton (2-2) on Tuesday night so we’ll have some info for our players to chew over.
“It’s about us and while we didn’t get the rub of the green at Exmouth last weekend in losing 2-0, when I had to go in goal for the first time in two seasons due to Sam Burgess’ illness, the lads were superb.”
Whilst striker Rendall has happily overcome a shoulder problem, Bitton enter the tie without utility man Ryan Gissing (thigh) while forward Aysa Corrick has joined Yate Town on a dual registration agreement.