FA Vase/Thurlow Nunn League preview: Villagers Wisbech St Mary all set for their biggest day
- Credit: Archant
Diss Town's history is steeped in FA Vase tradition – but that will matter not a jot to the side they take on this afternoon.
The players, helpers and fans of Wisbech St Mary FC are preparing for their biggest day yet as the village side from the Fens enter the famous non-league competition – which Diss won at Wembley in 1994 – for the first time.
And they're feeling confident they can ruffle a few feathers when they host a well-known semi-professional team that play just one level above them.
St Mary boss Arran Duke said: 'It's a massive game. It's our first time in the FA Vase.
'We were looking at the rules and regulations to enter our youth side into the FA Cup and found that, with our facilities, we were eligible for the FA Vase.
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'We don't really know what to expect but we are confident in the way that we are playing. We respect Diss but we are not fearful of them.
'It's good that we have a couple of cup games, then a weekend off. There is absolutely no pressure on us against Diss. We are the underdogs, which suits us.'
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Kershaw (Cambs League) Premier, the same standard as the Anglian Combination's top-flight, side St Mary have made a fantastic start to the season – they have won seven of their eight league games and are one point off leaders Cambridge City Reserves, having played two games less.
Diss have also impressed in the Thurlow Nunn First Division and currently sit fourth going into the historic second qualifying round clash.
Elsewhere, Great Yarmouth Town host Deeping Rangers, Swaffham Town entertain Bourne Town, Gorleston welcome Walsham-le-Willows, Downham Town are at home to Sleaford Town and Fakenham Town travel to Eynesbury Rovers.
Robbie Harris' Fakenham sit bottom of the Thurlow Nunn Premier but did at least pick up their first win of the season, in his maiden game as a player-manager, last weekend at home to Whitton United.
In league action, Norwich United and Kirkley & Pakefield – exempt until later rounds in the Vase due to their fine runs in the illustrious knockout competition last season – will be looking to get more points on the board.
Champions United lead the way again and host Stanway Rovers while Kirkley, fresh off the back of a club record-equalling FA Cup run to the second qualifying round, visit struggling Thetford Town.
In the First Division, Dereham Town Reserves travel to their Braintree Town counterparts while King's Lynn Town's second string come up against their Team Bury equivalent.
In the United Counties League Premier Division, Wisbech Town – who, like Kirkley, will come into the Vase at the first round proper, one stage before Norwich United – welcome Desborough Town. The match provides Brett Whaley's men with a chance to get back on track after a disappointing run of form, injuries and player unavailability.
The Fenmen won their first four competitive matches under boss Dick Creasey's replacement but have since won only one in eight, dropping to 10th in the process.