Goddy and Saints prepare for their big FA Vase ties

GODMANCHESTER Rovers and St Ives Town will be flying the flag for Huntingdonshire in the third round proper of the FA Vase this Saturday.

GODMANCHESTER Rovers and St Ives Town will be flying the flag for Huntingdonshire in the third round proper of the FA Vase this Saturday.

Godmanchester, who have never played in the round of 64 before, will be at United Counties Premier Division side Newport Pagnell Town, while St Ives face the longest trek of their season so far, a 140-mile journey all the way to Peacehaven, near Brighton, on the south coast.

However, both joint managers were slightly underplaying their team’s chances this week when they spoke exclusively to The Hunts Post as they prepared their big games.

Nev Nania, who is co-manager at Eastern Counties Division One side Goddy with David Hurst, even said he was hoping to add a striker to their squad in time for the trip to Buckinghamshire.

Without the injured Paul Bass, Nania feels his side are a little lightweight up front at the moment – despite the recent return of goalscorer James Hall from St Ives – and was due to watch a prospective loan signing this week.

“If we can do a loan deal then hopefully the player will be in the squad for Newport,” he said. “We’ll still be going there as underdogs – they beat Peterborough Northern Star who were top of their division on Saturday, and I saw them when St Ives beat them 4-3 recently. They will be a tough team to play against.

Most Read

“However, technically I think we can beat them, we just need to make sure we can mix it too.”

In that game against St Ives, Newport went 2-0 up, before a Saints comeback was completed in the second half by the brilliant Conor Washington who scored two superb goals.

It has been suggested to their joint manager Jez Hall that the 19-year-old striker be wrapped up in cotton wool this week, especially as the Saints were in United Counties League action against Thrapston Town on Tuesday night.

“We know Conor can change a game,” said Hall. “The Vase is important to us and we want to go further than we have gone before – but the league is important to us too.”

However, if Hall could lay his hands on enough cotton wool, one suspects he might have been tempted. It was Washington’s hat-trick in the previous round of the Vase, when they beat Long Eaton United 3-0 in Derbyshire, that set up this trip to Peacehaven & Telscombe.

Hall said: “Club secretary Simon Clarke went down there to see them play and they are a good side; they are organised and he picked out a few players that could cause us problems.

“It’s an interesting pitch, apparently. The ground is on a bit of a slope and Peacehaven is on the top of some cliffs so the wind gets quite strong there.”

Peacehaven are currently fourth in the Sussex County League but beat leaders Pagham in the last round of the Vase. Hall added: “You never know – we have been in the fourth round three times in the last four years – and our aim is to go further than before, so hopefully we can beat them and get a nice draw in the next round … and then anything is possible!”

Both clubs will be taking fan coaches to their games – with Goddy currently booking places on their second.

“We will fill up a coach and there will be plenty of others going down in cars,” said Hall. “We’ll have great support down there, that’s for sure.”

A report from St Ives’ Tuesday evening United Counties League game against Thrapston Town will be available at www.huntspost24.co.uk on Wednesday afternoon.