Parkway eye 4th Round of the Vase
By Mike Parrish
Tomorrow, Lee Hobbs will take his Parkway squad to the Specsavers County Ground where they will face Hamworthy in the FA Vase 3rd Round as the current crop of players hunt down a piece of Parkway history.
It would be my 4th game of covering Parkway when I realised the lure and importance of the FA Vase. On that day in early December 2017, Bolitho would see Parkway leading Westfields 2-1 with 5 minutes left thanks to a double from striker Glyn Hobbs, before the agony of football reared its fatal head. Two injury time goals by Westfields would see them snatch victory and a place in the next round of the Vase. Hobbs has spoken many times of it being a missed opportunity but despite the agony, Parkway would go on to win the league and claim promotion into the Western League during the same season.
Every Parkway fan will be dreaming of a big Vase run this season, but for Hobbs and his squad, they will be solely focused on overcoming the big obstacle that is Hamworthy on Saturday afternoon. Hamworthy have the taste for a good FA Vase run after last season’s outing in the competition. The Hammers would produce their best ever run in the Vase with wins against Amesbury, Fawley, Shaftesbury, Falmouth and Hamble would lead to a 4th round encounter at Silver Street against Willand Rovers. Luke Mortimore would score the only goal of the game and send Russell Jee’s men into the hat, leaving Hamworthy to dream of what could have been…
Willand would go onto to reach the QF of the competition before losing to Cray Valley PM 3-1 – who themselves would make the final before losing to Chertsey Town 3-1 aet. It would be Chertsey who would end Parkways best Vase run to date during the 2009-10 season. The Yellows, who were then managed by todays Vice Chairman Gez Baggott, enjoyed a superb Vase run beating Swanage Town & Herston, St. Blazey, Bitton and Arundel before crashing out to Chertsey 6-0.
So, both teams will be hoping for club history with a fifth-round spot in this season’s competition and then it’s only three games to Wembley but that’s later and this is now. Parkway have already put in two fine Vase performances this season against Wessex opposition as they hit three past both Romsey & Brockenhurst to reach the 3rd round. They will make it three Wessex teams and three away journeys’ in the Vase this season as they head to the County Ground on Saturday afternoon. United have only picked up one point from their past two games but in recent matches they have beaten Brockenhurst 3-2 and put six past Abingdon to set up this 3rd round fixture. The Hammers will have home advantage and with the match being played on 4G – it will be interesting to see how the game plays out.
Parkway march into the fixture on the back of eight wins on the spin and scoring 31 goals in the process. This run will be put to one side as the perils of cup competition and knock out football will be foremost in the mind of both sets of management teams on Saturday.
It’s also important to note that The Western League are the most represented league left in this seasons competition and it proves just how competitive this season’s league campaign is going to be. Other notable fixtures on Saturday will see two inform Devon teams go head to head as Adam Castle’s Buckland Athletic travel to Langsford Park to face Stuart Henderson’s Tavistock. Bitton host Cribbs and Bradford welcome Bridgwater in a thrilling Western League 3rd round encounter.
Whatever happens this weekend, Chertsey Town and Cray Valley PM are both playing in this seasons FA Trophy, leaving two new finalist spots up for grabs… Can Parkway keep the dream alive of filling those spots come 5pm Saturday?