FA Vase fever hits the region as the road to Wembley begins for a host of non-league clubs from Suffolk, Essex, and the surrounding areas

Whitton captain Chris Williams (green & white) will look to lead his side to FA Vase this afternoon

Whitton captain Chris Williams (green & white) will look to lead his side to FA Vase this afternoon - Credit: Archant

The Second Round of Qualifying in the FA Vase hits the regions’ teams today as a host of lower-Step sides up and down the country compete in a money-spinning competition which sees the eventual finalists play at Wembley in May.

The competition is a highly-respected one, competed in by teams in the ninth and lower tiers of the English football league system (Step 5 and below), and the further clubs go, the more real the dream of playing at the home of the national football team becomes for local players, followers, and club officials.

And a great run in this competition can be achieved. You only have to look at Suffolk’s AFC Sudbury, who have a great pedigree in the competition – reaching the final in three consecutive years from 2003-2005 when they were a Step 5 club.

Heartbreak against Brigg Town, Winchester City, and Didcot Town in each of the finals did little to dampen the spirits of the town and officials of the club in a memorable three seasons and occasions.

Indeed, back in 1999, when they were officially known as Sudbury Town, the Yellows reached the final only to come up just short, losing in a replay to Tamworth. Fellow Suffolk side Lowestoft Town have also experienced recent Vase heartbreak in a final played at the new Wembley Stadium, when they were defeated 2-1 by Kirkham & Wesham.

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Only Norfolk’s Diss Town can claim full glory from the surrounding areas as they triumphed at the old Wembley back in 1994, defeating Taunton Town 2-1 after extra-time in a crowd watched by 13,450.

Norfolk side Wroxham also came close in 2010, but were on the end of a heavy 6-1 defeat to Whitley Bay.

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Today’s adventures for the Thurlow Nunn teams involved are very much the start of the journey, but prize money of £800 is not to be sniffed at as they look to progress and gain momentum in a popular nationwide competition.

Whitton United seemingly have the tastiest-looking clash as they host a FC Romania side, who’ve already shocked AFC Sudbury this year in the FA Cup when they triumphed 3-1, and with 10 men.

A full list of the Thurlow Nunn teams’ fixtures is on the right.

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