Cousins’ fury as Wisbech Town face FA Vase headache following Spalding United’s expulsion

Paul Cousins may not be able to help Wisbech on or off the pitch on Saturday. Picture: Justin Steven

Paul Cousins may not be able to help Wisbech on or off the pitch on Saturday. Picture: Justin Stevens. - Credit: Archant

Furious joint-boss Paul Cousins feels Wisbech Town are being made to pay for Spalding United's FA Vase downfall.

The Fenmen have been robbed of a high-profile derby clash on Saturday after Spalding were thrown out of the competition yesterday for fielding an ineligible player in the last round. Now, with just four days' notice, Wisbech are being made to travel to reinstated Walsall Wood in this weekend's third round.

Cousins, who himself may not be able to make the fixture, now faces a desperate search to find a keeper because number one Lea Jordan is cup tied and 'loanee' shot-stopper Ricky Lovelace – who played in their last Vase match – is likely to be working.

'I'm really disappointed about it,' said the player-manager who runs Wisbech with team-mate Scott Johnson.

'I feel we are being punished for Spalding's mistake. We've got two or three players, including me, who had agreed to work Saturday morning as we were only playing 20 minutes down the road. At our level if players are offered the chance to work they are going to take it.

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'I haven't even got enough time to get a keeper in, or put in seven days for someone. Playing Walsall maybe has given us a better chance of getting through on paper but we're not going to be going there with a full squad so it's going to be very difficult. We'd have rather just played Spalding.'

Cousins said he would be contacting the FA in the hope of delaying the hastily rearranged fixture, even though Fenmen hierarchy have already been told they must fulfil the tie. Spalding, top of the United Counties League Premier Division having won a record 17 games on the bounce, are still said to be considering an appeal regarding their expulsion. They 'strenously deny' 'knowingly fielding' Garfield Robinson against Wood.

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But the FA hearing concluded: 'Garfield Robinson was not eligible to play in the tie for Spalding United, as it was established that he was under suspension under an assumed name with the Northamptonshire FA.'

Cousins said he felt 'very sorry' for the Tulips' other players over the matter as his club prepare to make a total journey of almost 200 miles longer than they had planned to.

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