It wasn’t easy, but progressing through Cup competitions never is. Both, Radford and Newark won their second round ties in the FA Vase and have moved one step closer to their dream date at Wembley.
Just five games stand between the two Nottinghamshire sides and a game at the national stadium.
The draw for the third round has thrown up some interesting ties for both teams. Radford will play Herefordshire side Westfields at home, while Newark will have either Walsall Wood or AFC Bridgnorth depending on the winner of their game. The games are expected to be played on December 19.
Radford played host to Bewdley Town, on Saturday, and thanks to a brilliant second half performance swept the visitors to one side and ran out 3-1 winners. Goals from Calum Law, Joe McLaughlin and Ashley Smith fired Radford into the third round for the Vase for the first time in their history. “He’s got energy and he’s got great legs. He has topped it off with a goal today,” said Radford manager Glenn Russell about goal scorer Calum Law.
Their opponents in the next round, Westfields had a more testing time of it. Their 3-3 draw with Lutterworth Town had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. They ran out 5-4 winners. Westfields are no stranger to a shoot-out though. In the first round they couldn’t find a winner against Romulus and had to resort to a 3-2 win from the spot.
Newark faced Boldmere St Michaels in their second round tie. The Nottinghamshire side raced into a 3-0 lead before being the visitors pulled two goals back. Craig Westcarr scored Newark’s fourth to ease the home side’s nerves, but the respite was only temporary as another goal Boldmere made it a tense finish.
Newark will host the winner of Walsall Wood v AFC Bridgnorth. The two teams face off tomorrow night at the ML Safety Stadium, home of Walsall.
The importance of the Vase
The Vase is not only one of the most prestigious competitions in the country, providing the teams with the once in a lifetime opportunity to play at Wembley it can also provide a vital financial boost for clubs.
The winners of the third-round fixture will be given £1,125 and the losers £350. Whilst these are not vast sums of money, they can be a great boost for clubs at this level of the non-League pyramid.
Through prize money in the Vase, it is estimated that Radford have earnt an estimated £3,000 so far. Radford boss Russell said: “Believe it or not we’ve actually made a loss today. Don’t get me wrong the prize money does help, but local football needs to stick together and make the government realise we need help.”
Whilst clubs in the Premier League and the majority of the EFL can cope without the matchday revenue that supporters bring, the loss of fans has been felt a lot more keenly at lower levels.
It is also sad that fans have not been able to watch Radford and Newark achieve what they have this year. Hopefully their Vase runs will continue, and fans will be at Wembley on May 8 to see one of Nottingham’s team’s triumph.