FA Vase & UCL Preview – Diamonds targeting another good run

Burton Park Wanderers boss Joe Smyth is chasing a third win in a row in the UCL Division One at Blackstones
Burton Park Wanderers boss Joe Smyth is chasing a third win in a row in the UCL Division One at Blackstones

Mark Starmer is hoping AFC Rushden & Diamonds can enjoy another good run in the FA Vase this season.

The ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division side get their this season’s campaign under way with a first qualifying round trip to AFC Dunstable tomorrow (Saturday).

Diamonds reached the third round proper last season before being beaten by Ashington.

And Starmer is hoping his team can at least emulate that run as they head into the competition on the back of a fantastic 2-1 success at Northwood in the FA Cup preliminary round last weekend.

“The FA Vase means a lot to us and we want to go as far as we can,” Starmer said.

“But we will, as ever, be realistic about things. We have a very hard game first up.

“We have played a few sides from Dunstable’s league already so we have a fair idea of what we will be up against.

“It will be a tough game but we have shown that when we are on song we are capable of beating teams at our level and from the one above as well.

“You never really know how things will go. I hope all the lads have had a good week and we will set up to go and win the game like we always do.”

Desborough Town reached the second round of the Vase last season and begin this year’s competition away at Radford.

Wellingborough Town travel to Harefield United while Stewarts & Lloyds have a home clash against Bardon Hill Sports.

Two UCL Division One sides also begin their FA Vase campaigns with Rushden & Higham hosting league rivals Northampton Spencer while Rothwell Corinthians, who have suffered six successive defeats so far, travel to Ibstock United.

Two wins in the space of a week have given Burton Park Wanderers boss Joe Smyth a welcome boost.

But he insists his team can’t afford to take their foot off the gas when they head to Blackstones in the ChromaSport & Trophies UCL Division One tomorrow (Saturday).

Burton claimed a 2-0 success at Lutterworth Athletic last weekend and followed that up by ending Peterborough Sports’ unbeaten start to the season with a 1-0 win at Latimer Park on Tuesday.

And Smyth is now hoping his team can maintain that level of consistency.

“We were still missing five players on Tuesday and we have been through a crazy period with holidays and lads being unavailable,” he said.

“But it has been more settled in the last two games and the results have been great.

“You can’t underestimate anyone in this division and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for Saturday.

“If you go anywhere with anything but your A game then you will struggle.

“Hopefully we will have a couple of lads back and see if we can keep the good form going.”

Elsewhere at the weekend, Thrapston Town head to Whitworth for a local derby while Raunds Town will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season when they play Bugbrooke at Kiln Park.

The Shopmates made it six games without defeat with a 0-0 draw against Buckingham Town in midweek.

Buckingham are the opponents for Colin Ridgway’s Irchester United this weekend as the Romans search for their first win of the season.