Kirsty's cup goal is Wembley

RICHARD BATSON She's a football fan with an FA cup record that beats even this year's star-studded finalists.For while Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Chelsea's Didier Drogba stepped into action in the later stages of the prestigious competition, Kirsty Clark has been involved in every round - from the humblest non-league qualifying clashes watched by a smattering of hardened fans.

RICHARD BATSON

She's a football fan with an FA cup record that beats even this year's star-studded finalists.

For while Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Chelsea's Didier Drogba stepped into action in the later stages of the prestigious competition, Kirsty Clark has been involved in every round - from the humblest non-league qualifying clashes watched by a smattering of hardened fans.

Her goal has been to complete a “road to Wembley” journey that will cover more than 5,000 miles, having started out at nearby amateur club Wembley last August.

But having been everywhere from Chester to Plymouth, she now needs to track down some “gold dust” cup final tickets to complete the last link in a 17-match chain, which has featured 41 goals, two red cards and a club expulsion.

Kirsty, from Oulton Street, near Aylsham, and brother-in-law Seb Blair have so far paid for all their tickets, petrol, programmes and pies on their FA cup odyssey.

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But with United and Chelsea serving up the “dream final” at the first showdown in the new Wembley stadium, tickets for the showpiece finale are likely to be even harder to come by than usual this year.

So she is appealing to anyone from the football world with tickets to spare to help her money-spinning team leap its final hurdle.

They have followed the winner of each tie into the next round, which meant that despite being among the Watford fans at the weekend's semi-final, they would be “supporting” United in the final.

It comes hard for a dyed-in-the-wool West Ham fan, who would not normally cheer either United or Chelsea, but is happy to make an exception for her charity cause.

“We will approach Man United as we will be following them into the final, and if they cannot help we will contact competition sponsors Eon,” said Kirsty, who would also be grateful for tickets from any other sources to help them fulfil their charity mission.

Norfolk FA administration officer Richard King said the venue and teams for this year's final meant tickets were going to be “like gold dust”. He suggested Kirsty could contact local football officials or leagues who got a small allocation of tickets.

The funds raised by Kirsty and Seb will go towards the learning disability charity Mencap, which has helped her uncle, who has Down's Syndrome, with 24-hour care.

They had hoped to get £20,000, but had so far only netted £4,000 through donations on their travels and on-line.

Kirsty admitted the original target may have been over optimistic, but hoped that pledges of signed shirts and other items along the way could be auctioned off at the end to boost funds even further.

The 32-year-old former fitness manager, who is re-training as an ambulance technician, said they were pleased the new Wembley stadium had been completed in time to host the final, as it was the whole point of starting their journey at the nearby non-league club ground.

The path between the two had been laced with good football, drama - when Bury won a tie but were expelled for having an ineligible player - and long journeys, topped by a haul to a Sunday teatime televised game at Plymouth which saw her return home at 2am.

Other statistics include a tally of 19 cheeseburgers, 12 chicken balti pies, five Cornish pasties, 10 coffees and 14 Bovrils.

Kirsty said that despite having visited a string of league clubs, the best hospitality they received along the way had been from Ryman League club AFC Hornchurch where they were treated like VIPs, including being invited into the directors' box.

As a thank-you she aims to wear a Hornchurch scarf to the final, providing she scores with her search for tickets.

Anyone who can help with FA Cup final tickets should contact Seb Blair on 07960 942929 or e-mail sebastian.blair@exp-twenty20.com

To make donations to Kirsty and Seb's cause visit www.justgiving.com/ everyroundofthecup