LONG Buckby became the first and so far only club to have reached the fourth round of the FA Vase competition after all the other 31 ties up and down the country had to be called off last Saturday because of snow, ice, frost or fog.
With almost the entire Non-League football programme wiped out the Bucks and Stotfold were unexpectedly thrown into the limelight by virtue of a front page photograph and detailed inside match report in the trade newspaper.
In homes all around the country Bucks’ top goalscorer Dan Holman was pictured high-fiving other members of the village team after scoring the third and final first-half goal against Stotfold at Roker Park.
The 3-0 win over former UCL stablemates Stotfold put the Bucks into the last 32 of a competition which acts as an FA Cup equivalent for the smaller clubs operating at steps five and six in the Non-League pyramid.
In early 2008 Long Buckby reached the last 16 of the Vase before losing by the only goal to Whitley Bay who have gone on to win the last two finals at Wembley. In that same season the Station Road club went on to finish runners-up in the UCL Premier Division.
Currently occupying a similar league position the Bucks have done well under manager Glenn Botterill even though he briefly left the club in between times for a short-lived 15-match spell in charge of upwardly mobile Daventry Town.
Surprisingly perhaps the FA has gone ahead with the draw for the fourth round with Long Buckby picking up an all-important home tie against either Dunkirk or County Durham based Ashington, the home town of the Charlton brothers.
Dunkirk are in the top half of the Midland Alliance but may have to play second fiddle to an Ashington team which operates from the strongest of all step five leagues the Northern League’s First Division.
Title (and Vase) favourites St Neots should have little difficulty in winning at Epsom while big-spending King’s Lynn should also get the better of Beckenham Town. Meanwhile St Ives face a much less straightforward task at Wroxham on the Norfolk Broads.
The St Neots replay will prevent Daventry United from visiting the new Rowley Park for a league encounter although the Bucks’ Premier Division game with Blackstones should still go ahead at Station Road.
Last weekend Botterill’s men scored all three goals in the first-half with Justin Dowling breaking the deadlock after 18 minutes and then playing a part in the build up to further goals from Brad Harris and Holman.
For a full match report on the Vase tie at Stotfold turn to Football Focus on page 70.
n On Tuesday night Daventry Town’s re-arranged second round Red Insure Cup tie at Bedworth again fell victim to the severe weather.