Both our sides* remaining in the FA Vase have today learnt of their 1st round proper opponents.
Buckingham Athletic (Step 6) face a daunting trip to Hellenic Premier Division side Bracknell Town (Step 5). Bracknell currently sit third in their league table, and are all geared up for a promotion fight after having their ground upgraded last season, which included a brand new 3G pitch and a new stand being installed. Town missed out on promotion to the Southern League last term on the final day of the season, when they lost their final game at home and Thame pipped them to the title.
Just hours before the FA Vase draw, Bracknell announced they had parted terms with their first team manager, meaning Athletic will be going into the game against a new manager so will have little time to research their opponents and any changes the new man may bring in.
The Berkshire side have won seven of their opening nine league games, drawn one and tasted defeat for the first time this past week-end at Thatcham. They won their extra-preliminary FA Cup tie but were knocked out the next round at home to Winchester. Having scored twenty-seven goals in their first nine league games, they have conceded just eleven, and with their FA Cup games included have scored thirty goals in eleven games in all, keeping four clean sheets in all.
To follow the progress of Bracknell follow this link: http://full-time.thefa.com/DisplayTeam.do?divisionseason=44806448&teamID=16577094
But Buckingham have seen some decent form themselves this term so far, currently sitting seventh in the South Midlands Division One table. Having won three, drawing two and losing just one of their opening six league games, they were knocked out of the League Challenge Trophy by higher opposition but have had a good run in the Vase, having overcome Bedford in a replay and then AFC Hayes on Saturday just gone.
Athletic have scored twenty-one league goals conceding just seven, and with all their cup games added have scored thirty-three goals and conceded thirteen, keeping two clean sheets in all. They have scored freely in three separate games alone, firing 6 past Bedford in their Vase replay, seven past Wodson Park away, and eight in their opening game of the season at home to Codicote.
To follow the progress of Buckingham Athletic follow this link: http://full-time.thefa.com/DisplayTeam.do?divisionseason=957608024&teamID=211499215
Ground to ground: 65 miles
Leighton Town (Step 5) have also been given an away trip, to Essex Senior League Premier Division side Burnham Ramblers (Step 5). Based in Burnham-on-Crouch the Ramblers haven’t got off to the best of starts this season, currently sitting second bottom of their league table having won just one of their opening nine league games so far, and losing seven. They have faced a team from Leighton’s league already this term, having been knocked out of the FA Cup by St Margaretsbury back in August.
Burnham have scored just ten goals in their nine league fixtures, and conceded twenty-six but are just a win or two away from climbing away from the bottom of the table. With their cup games included they have scored sixteen goals in total, with thirty-three conceded in reply, and their win on Saturday in the Vase was their first since the middle of August in all competition. They are yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
To follow the progress of Burnham, follow this link: http://full-time.thefa.com/DisplayTeam.do?divisionseason=601330614&teamID=8809795
Their guests Leighton Town have had a better start to their season, currently occupying eighth place in the South Midlands Premier Division table. Having won three, and drawing three of their opening seven league games, they have scored twelve and conceded nine goals. Town got through their opening FA Cup tie but were knocked out cold by Tuffley Rovers in the next round, conceding three in the final five minutes to lose 2-3 at home.
This will be Town’s third Vase game of the season and all three have been against step five clubs, having already defeated Brimscombe & Thrupp and Leverstock Green. With all their cup competitions added, Leighton have scored a total of twenty-seven goals, conceding seventeen in all. Leighton have kept four clean sheets this term thus far.
To follow the progress of Leighton follow this link: http://full-time.thefa.com/DisplayTeam.do?divisionseason=720645845&teamID=210036216
Ground to ground: 89 miles
*Newport Pagnell Town will also be involved in the FA Vase from the second round, to be covered by Sports Shots.
The full FA Vase 1st Round draw can be viewed here: http://www.thefa.com/news/2017/sep/25/buildbase-fa-vase-first-round-proper-draw-250917