New adventure for Felixstowe & Walton as non-league sides embark on FA Vase journey

Felixstowe's Stuart Ainsley attempts to block this pass from James Tatham

Felixstowe's Stuart Ainsley attempts to block this pass from James Tatham - Credit: James Ager

Felixstowe & Walton United cover new ground this weekend as they travel for a first ever encounter with United Counties League Premier Division AFC Kempston Rovers at their Hillgrounds Stadium in the FA Vase First Round Proper.

Having been exempted from the preliminary rounds of this competition based on their third-placed finish in the league last season, the Seasiders join the prestigious competition tomorrow afternoon looking for glory.

To do so, they’ll have to beat a side based just south of Bedford who sit 11th in their league table at present.

The Walnut Boys have had a mixed season so far – quite a similar record to the Seasiders with five wins and two draws from their ten games played, their latest a 4-0 home win last Saturday over Oadby Town.

The Seasiders in contrast have seven wins from their dozen league games played.


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Kempston started this season’s Vase trail at home to Northampton Sileby Rangers from their own division and won comprehensively 4-0 in the First Qualifying Round, before making the short trip across town to Bedford FC of the Spartan South Midlands League First Division in the Second Qualifying Round, winning 3-0.

Their last encounter with Thurlow Nunn sides was in 2010 when they knocked both Godmanchester Rovers and Norwich United out of the FA Cup after replays, but this will be the first time they have reached the First Round Proper of the Vase since reforming in 2006.

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Seasiders’ boss Kevin O’Donnell certainly won’t underestimate the size of the task, away trips in this competition are always fraught with danger when the opposition are an unknown quantity – but he should have a full squad available other than long-term absentee assistant manager Danny Bloomfield, as well as Josh Hewitt and Stuart Ainsley, who is suspended.

Elsewhere, due to their exploits in the competition last season, Hadleigh United, Brantham Athletic, and Norwich United are not yet in Vase action this weekend.

THURLOW NUNN FA VASE FIRST ROUND PROPER FIXTURES:

AFC Kempston v Felixstowe & Walton United, Deeping Rangers v Wivenhoe Town. Godmanchester Rovers v Yaxley, Hertford Town v Stanway Rovers, Holbeach United v Gorleston, Ipswich Wanderers v Cockfosters, Irchester United v Fakenham Town, Kirkley & Pakefield v Colney Heath, Saffron Walden Town v Whitton United, AFC Dunstable v Haverhill Borough, Waltham Forest v Great Yarmouth Town, Woodbridge Town v Huntingdon Town.

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