Lining up against Sutton Common Rovers this Saturday, AFC Uckfield Town will be one of just 64 teams remaining in this season’s FA Vase, and four left standing from Sussex.
After home qualifying wins against Hollands & Blair (2-0) and Southwick (5-0), and away victories against Tunbridge Wells (2-0) and AFC Croydon Athletic (2-1) in the past two rounds, the Uckers have exceeded all expectations in the competition. In doing so, they have far surpassed their previous best finish, at the First Round in 2006-07 as Wealden.
The club’s Second Round tie in South London drew widespread attention, as the Uckers were named Talksport’s Non-League Team of the Week. Prevailing with seven men in the final fifteen minutes of the game, a heroic team performance kept the score at 2-1 after four red cards followed goals from Ellis Cormack and Callum Smith – his sixth strike from three matches in the competition.
Two of the players that helped Uckfield to victory in the match will be hoping to emulate previous notable Vase runs, as Shaun Loft skippered Rye United in the Quarter-Finals in 2011, and also played for Eastbourne United in the 2014 Semi-Finals, where Matt Maclean scored.
Visitors Sutton Common Rovers were first promoted to the Combined Counties Premier Division in 2010, and returned to their town of origin in 2015, ground-sharing with Sutton United. In their first season at Gander Green Lane, they reached the Fourth Round of the Vase.
After finishing third last season, the Commoners are currently second in their division, with the league’s joint-best away record. They reached this stage of the competition after defeating Cobham (2-1), and Horley Town (6-1).
Uckfield’s record against Combined Counties sides in FA competitions is a mixed one – winning three and losing four. Last season, they suffered FA Cup replay defeat against Colliers Wood United, but emerged victorious over Raynes Park Vale in the Vase.
With the winners gaining £1,125 in prize money, the Uckers will have added motivation to reach yet another milestone in their club history in a highly successful season.
Kick off at The Oaks this Saturday is at 3.00pm.