NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: It’s a satisfactory Sunday as Godmanchester Rovers make FA Vase progress to begin a run of crucial clashes in successful style

Simon Unwin scored for Godmanchester Rovers in their FA Vase victory. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT

Simon Unwin scored for Godmanchester Rovers in their FA Vase victory. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

Godmanchester Rovers began a season-defining run of fixtures in successful style last Sunday.

Ollie Drake’s side triumphed 2-1 at West Essex in the first round proper of the FA Vase.

And while Rovers were far from happy with the scheduling of the tie, they were at least cheered by the outcome and earning £825 in prize money.

Substitute Buster Harradine headed a second-half winner in a match pushed back 24 hours due to their opponents’ landlords, Barking, also being at home the previous day. Simon Unwin earlier gave them an advantage which was cancelled out by the hosts late in the first half.

Rovers’ reward is another away clash in the second round. They will head to fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Great Yarmouth – the current basement boys - on November 3.

Drake said: “I think it’s fair to say that none of us really wanted to spend our Sunday playing football a long way from home and in miserable conditions, but we used that as a bit of extra motivation to make sure we got the job done.

“We should really have killed the game off in the first half because we were dominant, but we then gifted West Essex a way back into the game.

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“But Buster came up with a winner and we’re just happy to be through.

“There is no chance of us taking Yarmouth lightly in the next round. We lost there in the league last season and it is a tough place to go.

“They have already come through two rounds of the Vase – beating two other teams from our league in Thetford and Wroxham – so they clearly deserve to be at this stage.”

That big game will be firmly put on the backburner with Rovers facing two other sets of title contenders in crunch Premier Division clashes before then.

Drake takes his side to current table-toppers Histon this Friday night, 7.45pm, with a trip to big-spending Stowmarket then following on October 27.

Rovers’ first priority is gaining revenge against a Histon side who beat them 3-1 at the David Wilson Homes Ground back in August.

“It’s a game we need to win and we fully intend to do that,” added Drake.

“They are the best side we’ve come up against this season, but I believe we can turn that result around.

“We were nowhere near out best on the night Histon won at our place and we can’t afford for anyone to bring anything less than their ‘A’ game this Friday.

“It’s a night where we will need to show our quality, but also roll up our sleeves and be prepared to battle.”

Rovers then host Walsham-le-Willows in the opening round of the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup on Tuesday.