THETFORD Town will have to defeat league leaders from the level above for the second round in a row if they are to continue their excellent run in the FA Vase.
The Ridgeons League First Division leaders are now just six wins from Wembley after an incredible 3-0 success at Ridgeons Premier leaders Dereham Town on Saturday.
But to stretch their run in the competition into next month, they must now overcome Molten Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division table-toppers Royston Town.
“We’ve got a tough draw away in the next round, but we’ll approach it in the same way we did at Dereham,” said Thetford boss Mark Scott. “A lot of people didn’t think we would go to Dereham and win – it’s always nice to achieve a victory like that.
“The financial reward is one that is desperately needed and the win was a great boost for the lads – we believe we can compete at the next level, and that showed it.”
Thetford host Halstead Town in the Ridgeons First Division tomorrow (3pm), but go into the match on the back of a 2-1 defeat against Fakenham Town in the opening round of the Ridgeons League Cup.
A much-changed side had Bruno Tavares sent off for two bookings, but went ahead through Luke Bailey, only for Fakenham to hit back and clinch a place in the next round after extra-time.
Mildenhall Town will be hoping Andrew Wood – who has scored 14 goals in 14 league games this campaign – can still do the business as they prepare to travel to Woodbridge Town in the Ridgeons Premier tomorrow (3pm) without talisman John Sands, who has slapped in a transfer request.
Christian Appleford kept Sands on the bench for the whole of their 1-0 victory over Wroxham in the FA Vase first round on Saturday as a late strike from David Cooper set up a home tie with Sporting Bengal United on November 19.
The Recreation Way outfit host CRC in the preliminary round of the Cambs Invitation Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm) having progressed past Swaffham Town in the Ridgeons League Cup in midweek – Wood (two), Owen Paynter, Steve Holder and an own goal accounted for Mildenhall’s goals in their 5-0 win over the Norfolk outfit.
First Division outfit Team Bury – who do not play this week – also made it through to the second round of the Vase, where they will visit Essex Senior League side Witham Town, the conquerors of Walsham-le-Willows at the same stage last season.
Adam Burroughs struck as the Blues earned a 1-0 success at in-form First Division rivals Halstead Town.
Boss Ross Wilding – whose side beat Newmarket Town 2-0 in the Ridgeons League Cup on Wednesday thanks to a brace from Zehnn Young – said: “The team spirit at the moment is fantastic – the boys are working so hard for each and trusting each other’s game.”
Walsham-le-Willows failed to repeat their best-ever run in the Vase, but took high-flying Ridgeons Premier side Wisbech Town to extra-time before succumbing to a 3-0 defeat.
They were also taken to extra-time before crashing out of the Ridgeons League Cup at the first round stage on penalties at Norwich United. Ollie Hughes scored in extra-time in a 1-1 draw before spot-kicks ensued.
The Willows – who signed Ryan Foster from Needham Market this week – host Felixstowe and Walton United tomorrow (3pm) in search of much-needed league points.
Manager Paul Smith said: “We are definitely improving – we proved it to go to Wisbech and hold out for 90 minutes.”
Managerless Stowmarket Town could move off the bottom by beating Fakenham Town in the First Division tomorrow (3pm).