Mousehole AFC will create history this Saturday when they play their first-ever game in the FA Vase.
The national non-league competition, sponsored by Buildbase, involves clubs at Steps 5 to 7 of the National League System, whose grounds meet the FA’s standards. The Final is held at the prestigious Wembley Stadium towards the end of the season.
A total of 442 clubs will be in action this weekend, hoping to make progress, pick up some valuable prize money, and make a name for themselves in the later stages of the competition.
With the early stages regionalised, Step 6 Mousehole nevertheless face a big challenge in the First Qualifying Round with an away tie at Step 5 Exmouth Town, one of the top clubs in the Western Premier League. Kick off at Southern Road (EX8 3EE) is at 3pm, with the match decided by penalties if the scores are level at full time.
The winners of Exmouth v Mousehole have been drawn away in the Second Qualifying Round on 10th October to mid-Dorset side Sherborne Town, who play in the Western League First Division, on a par with Mousehole. The First Round Proper is on 31st October.
Manager Jake Ash is no stranger to the FA Vase competition. He was a member of the Truro City team which, playing at Step 6 at the time, created its own history in 2006/07 by progressing all the way to the Wembley Final and winning the trophy – the lowest-placed team to have done so, and in front of the competition’s record crowd of 36,232.
“I think everyone involved in the FA Vase gets a feel for how special it is – however far you go. Just the chance to go and play different opposition and test yourself outside our small little bubble down here is an exciting prospect”, said the Seagulls’ boss.
“We probably couldn’t have been handed a tougher test than Exmouth, who I’m told haven’t lost a home league game for 22 months. But our own team are in a brilliant place at the minute and I know they will be as excited by the challenge as I am. I have no doubt if they play to the level they are capable of we will have a really good chance.”
Chairman Deryk Heywood added: “This will be a great moment for Mousehole. I am really proud to be part of this progressive club and its Academy. It shows how far we have come, from village football to the national stage. It’s an incredible story behind what has happened in the last five years. A hard-working Committee, ambitious planning, great characters, people with loyalty, creativity and integrity, and a passion for success matched both on and off the field.”
“It would be amazing to win at Exmouth and get a momentum going. Hopefully the whole of the County would get behind us, just like happened to Truro City in 2007/08. Anyway, we’re on our way to Wembley – just the nine rounds to go!”.
- Mousehole are the most westerly club ever to enter the FA Vase
- Exmouth lost their two opening games this season, a 2-0 league defeat at Plymouth Parkway and a 2-0 home FA Cup defeat last Saturday against Step 4 Melksham Town of the Southern League, but then had a 4-1 home league win against Tavistock in midweek.
- Mousehole have a 100% record this season, three consecutive league wins against Launceston (A), Porthleven (H) and St Austell (A) producing 17 goals scored with one conceded.
- The Seagulls’ last fixture at home against Helston Athletic in midweek was abandoned after a serious injury to goalkeeper Cory Harvey, with 64 minutes played and Helston leading 1-0.