FA VASE BUILD-UP & DRAW REACTION: Brightlingsea Regent have home incentive in quarter-final draw if they can get past 2012 winners Dunston UTS. Regent boss James Webster is contemplating a mid-week trip to the north-east again, despite still recovering from a throat and chest infection, he’s mad!
- Credit: Archant
Brightlingsea Regent FC, the Thurlow Nunn Leagues only remaining hope in the FA Vase, have been boosted ahead of their delayed last-16 trip to Dunston UTS with a home draw in the quarter-finals, giving manager James Webster’s men even greater incentive to get a result in the prestigious competition on Saturday.
If Regent are able to overturn Gateshead-based and 2012 Vase winners Dunston UTS at the weekend, they will enjoy home comforts against either West Auckland Town or Hallen in the last eight of the competition with a date at Wembley then well within their sights.
The Essex-outfit were meant to pit their wits against Dunston on Saturday but like five of the other FA Vase ties, saw the game put back a week because of a waterlogged pitch.
“We’re trying not to look that far ahead but a home draw in the next round is certainly an extra incentive for us,” said Webster.
“A home draw is all you can ask for, you only have to look at the last Vase game we had here to see what it brings.
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“We had 562 at North Crowd that day, smashing our largest attendance by quite some distance, and we all want that again.
“We don’t want to look ahead of ourselves too much though and come unstuck.
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“Dunston will be looking at the draw as well and thinking that they’ve got a good chance of going far with two games at home.”
Although Saturday’s postponement was frustrating for all involved at Regent, with fans booking time off work as well as hotel rooms, it actually turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise for Webster’s men.
He explains: “It was and it wasn’t a frustrating experience.
“We had good early indications that the game would be off and it allowed extra recovery for two of our key players in Kevin Hughes and Terry Rymer.
“The extra week will do Kev’s knee the world of good while Terry’s hamstring should be OK by then.”
These two players certainly are crucial to Regent’s chances.
Hughes was a menace in their fourth-round victory over Bodmin Town and is highly regarded as the best centre-half in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, while hotshot Terry Rymer is not only Regent’s top goalscorer, he is also their Vase hero from the 2-0 triumph in the third round.
Another individual who was also struggling to make Saturday’s encounter was Webster himself!
“I came down with a throat and chest infection over the weekend and was on doctor’s orders not to travel,” admitted Webster.
“Thankfully though, the weather saved me and came in useful for once!”
Now on the mend and nearing a full recovery, Webster, is contemplating whether or not to try again on his scouting mission in the north-east, with opponents Dunston in action against Shildon in the Durham County Cup on Wednesday evening - in a tie and journey Webster was going to make last week before it was duly postponed.
“Shildon is a bit closer to home than Dunston so it’s not as much of a journey!” joked Webster.
“We’ve got Tuesday night to worry about before then and that’s a game that is as just as important as Saturday as we look to keep climbing the league and gain promotion.”
Indeed, before Saturday’s exploits, Brightlingsea host struggling Thetford Town tonight in a game that was postponed from earlier in the season after Thetford were unable to raise a side - something Webster hopes doesn’t come back to haunt his side’s promotion push.
“I think it’ll fire us up even more,” said Webster.
“The league is the most important thing for us and always has been. The Vase is great with what it brings but promotion is our ultimate aim.”
Meanwhile, Hadleigh United’s Vase victors, Wisbech Town, who triumphed 2-1 against Stuart Crawford’s men on Saturday, have been drawn on the road for the eighth successive game in the competition as they are set to travel to Hampshire-based Sholing or Somerset-based Larkhall Athletic in the last eight.
It is the first time the Fenmen have reached the quarter-finals of the Vase in 24 years.
Only two of the proposed eight last-16 Vase ties went ahead on Saturday with the remaining six fixtures, including Brightlingsea’s trip to Dunston, set to be played this coming Saturday (February 22).
All quarter-final ties are set to be played on Saturday March 8.