Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Minnows Kick-Off Bid for Vase Glory; Non-League Football

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Minnows Kick-Off Bid for Vase Glory; Non-League Football

Article excerpt


TEESSIDE teams start out on a more realistic road to Wembley tomorrow looking for a taste of FA Vase glory.

Local sides were wiped out in a shocking FA Cup cull last week with none making it past the preliminary round stage.

But reaching the business end of the Vase is a serious ambition for Northern League sides.

Whitley Bay have won the minnows' national knockout competition three years running while Marske United and Norton have made the quarter-finals and Billingham Synthonia the semis in recent campaigns.

So you can't blame local outfits for dreaming and hoping for a lucrative run to glory as three start at the first qualifying round stage tomorrow.

The other Arch hopefuls have been given byes through to the competition proper after creditable performances last term.

Stokesley will travel to Bedlington with a sense of foreboding. On their last trip to the Terriers a fortnight ago they were thrashed 15-0, the culmination of a torrid start in which they shipped 38 goals.

But boss Monty Alexander has beefed up his squad and Stokesley eked out a goalless draw with Norton last week, then were just squeezed out 2-1 by Tow Law in midweek so they will be hoping to restore some pride this time.

Guisborough have home advantage in their tie with West Allotment Celtic.

The Priorymen went down 2-0 at Ashington in midweek - the first time in 23 games the prolific outfit had failed to score.

Elsewhere in the Vase, Thornaby go to Hebburn boosted by a 2-1 midweek win at Washington. That was a second win on the bounce after a four-game losing streak.

Back in the Northern League, sizzling Synthonia can claim second place if they win away at still pointless South Shields.

Synners lost 3-2 at Penrith in the FA Cup last week but bounced back with a 2-1 victory at Bedlington in midweek to make it four wins out of five in a sprint start to the season.

Draw specialists Norton go to fifth placed Consett looking to click into gear and take all three points.

The Ancients, Teesside's top team in the last three seasons, have had a sticky start this term and have drawn four of their seven league matches including three of the last four and a disappointing goalless grind at strugglers Stokesley. …

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