Walsham left cursing cup luck

WALSHAM-LE-WILLOWS manager Paul Smith was left cursing the luck of the draw after his side were pulled out of the hat to face Kirkley & Pakefield in the FA Vase second qualifying round today.

Stuart Watson

WALSHAM-LE-WILLOWS manager Paul Smith was left cursing the luck of the draw after his side were pulled out of the hat to face Kirkley & Pakefield in the FA Vase second qualifying round today.

The village side put up a good fight against the impressive Royals in the FA Cup earlier this season, Smith's team narrowly losing 1-0 in an extra-preliminary round replay following a 1-1 draw at their home ground.

But that was following a superb start to the season which saw the Willows surprisingly beat both CRC and Leiston.


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Since then they have lost five first team players to injury in the form of Alan Ross, Simon Head, Steve Holder, Lee Nocton and Richie Partridge.

As a result they have drawn just one of their last three matches and even that was a disappointing draw against Wivenhoe Town - the Essex side's only point of season so far.

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“Drawing Kirkley again was something we didn't really want,” admitted Smith. “It's one of the hardest draws we could have got at this stage. They will probably be in the top four this season and we know they are difficult opposition to play against.

“They've got more quality than us in terms of individual players but we'll try to match them man for man.”

Today's match means Walsham and Kirkley will play each other at least five times this season.

Kirkley & Pakefield have made a great start to the new season. They are currently sixth in the Ridgeons League Premier Division table following five wins from seven and have reached the FA Cup second qualifying round.

Meanwhile, there are 22 other Ridgeons League clubs in Vase action today and many face teams from the United Counties Premier League.

Hadleigh United travel to Northampton to face a Rothwell Corinthians side that have seven points from their opening five United Counties matches.

Felixstowe & Walton United host opponents from the same league in the form of Yaxley. The Cambridgeshire side have taken seven points from seven so far and knocked Godmanchester Rovers out of the competition in the previous round.

Newmarket Town host Cambridgeshire side St Neots Town who are second in the United Counties with just one league defeat to their name so far, while Ridgeons League Division One side Stowmarket Town are away at the league's third-place side Daventry Town.

Woodbridge Town welcome a Desborough Town at the other end of that same table following five defeats from seven.

Haverhill Rovers travel to Norfolk to play a Fakenham Town side that are rock-bottom of the Ridgeons League Division One following six league defeats from six.

Of the Ridgeons League Division One clubs, high-flying Diss Town host struggling Premier League outfit Ely City, while Brantham Athletic welcome Premier League leaders CRC.

Long Melford host Whitton United in an all Division One affair, Team Bury go to Northamptonshire to play Bugbrooke St Michaels, Ipswich Wanderers travel to United Counties Division One league-leaders Eynesbury Rovers, while Halstead Town host Thame United.

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