Congratulations to Ely City on reaching the last 16 of the FA Vase after their 3-0 victory against Shepshed Dynamo on Saturday. The tie was watched by 386 spectators, the highest ever attendance for a competitive fixture at The Unwin Ground.
Ely’s reward is another home tie against Midland League opposition in the next round. Sporting Khalsa from Willenhall will be the visitors on January 28th.
Brantham Athletic V Newmarket Town (A)
Brantham host a rampant Newmarket side who hit Hadleigh for six on Monday to make it five straight league wins with 18 goals scored in that run and just four conceded, Monday’s win pushed the Jockeys up to 4th in the table and dependent on other results they could be 2nd in the table on Saturday night if they collect three points here. The home side start the day in 10th place having picked up just one point from the three games either side of Christmas and will see this as a real test against a very good side as they look to maintain a top ten spot.
Fakenham Town V Ipswich Wanderers (A)
Ipswich Wanderers, buoyant after beating the league leaders on Monday will travel to Clipbush Park full of confidence to face a Fakenham side who at best are unpredictable, picking up points from games they might be expected to lose or struggle in while dropping points against sides they would have down as winnable games.
Monday’s 2-1 win for Wanderers could be the result that really kick starts their season and manager Shane Wardley has enough experience to make sure his side stay focused.
Felixstowe & Walton United V Long Melford (H)
The Suffolk Seasiders face a tricky fixture with Long Melford the visitors, the sides have already met twice this season at Stoneylands with the Seasiders winning the league fixture 2-0 in September and then making Suffolk Premier Cup progress in October with a 4-0 win, both those games were comfortable victories for Kevin O’Donnell’s side and on paper this should be a home banker, but Melford ended a six match losing run with a 2-0 win over Wivenhoe on Monday and are fighting for Premier Division survival. They are currently hovering above the relegation zone in 18th place and battling for every point so will be putting up serious resistance.
Gt Yarmouth V Hadleigh United (H)
Hadleigh United are on their travels to The Wellesley, home of Gt Yarmouth who attracted over 800 for their Christmas game against Gorleston, It’s a tough match for the visitors although the hosts have picked up just one point from a possible 12, so will be nervous going into this game against a Hadleigh side who have scored and conceded 7 goals in their last two games, winning their Boxing Day game 6-1 but losing by the same score at Newmarket on Monday.
Haverhill Rovers V Thetford Town (D)
Haverhill Rovers play host to a Thetford Town side who are enjoying a good season by their own standards in recent years and this will be a tough encounter for Rovers who had a blank Christmas in terms of points losing both home and away, they have picked up just one point from their last five games, shipping 14 goals along the way and will be hoping to turn their fortunes around starting here.
Stanway Rovers V Saffron Walden (H)
Stanway Rovers start the day in second place and might well need a win over visitors Saffron Walden to ensure they stay second with the Jockey’s just two points behind, this will be Rovers first big test under the new management structure but they won’t find this an easy passage against a Walden side that have picked up seven points from nine over the Christmas period.
Swaffham Town V Mildenhall Town (A)
League leaders Mildenhall will be looking to make sure Monday’s defeat was just a blip as their 17 match winning run came to an end at Humber Doucy Lane, they remain odds on favourites to win the league but with Gorleston winning at home it gave the Greens a glimmer of light, the ‘Hall remain 16 points ahead of their most likely challengers but have played 5 more games so don’t have too much room to maneuver. They should be too strong for their hosts here and three points would again stretch their lead at the top with Gorleston involved with the FA Vase.
Walsham Le Willows V FC Clacton (D)
Summer Road could see the match of the day in the Premier Division with hosts Walsham Le Willows in 19th place hosting an FC Clacton side five points behind them in 20th place.
The Willows lost by the odd goal in nine on Monday at Ely, who climbed above Paul Smith’s side with that win while the Essex Seasiders picked up a massive three points with a 2-0 win over Haverhill Rovers. The Willows boss knows his side are capable of beating any side in the league on their day but too often fail to produce and consistency from one week to the next.
Wivenhoe Town V Kirkley & Pakefield (D)
Kirkley & Pakefield travel to Wivenhoe having lost just once in the league since mid-October and should be too strong for their hosts who will be looking for their first win since the beginning of October. The Dragons have taken on the mantle of draw specialists with ten from their 23 games played to date with the visitors themselves having shared the points in seven of their 23 games played.
Both clubs are at home to teams from the Midland Football League. Ely entertain Shepshed Dynamo while Gorleston’s visitors are Coleshill Town.
The runaway Premier Division leaders, Mildenhall Town, will be seeking their 18th consecutive league victory at unpredictable Ipswich Wanderers, while First Division leaders Coggeshall Town are at home to bottom side Leiston Reserves
There are several local derbies, including Diss Town v. Debenham LC, March Town United v. King’s Lynn Town Reserves and the all-Norfolk Thetford Town v. Fakenham Town. There is also the East Coast clash between Kirkley & Pakefield and Great Yarmouth Town. Over 800 fans flocked to The Wellesley on Boxing Day for Yarmouth v. Gorleston.
Gorleston themselves take part in what may well be key the match of the day. Gorleston sit third in the Premier Division, still unbeaten, with visitors Felixstowe & Walton United just one point behind. The First Division sees two important fixtures between teams in or around the promotion places with Stowmarket Town entertaining Holland FC and Halstead Town at home to Framlingham Town.
There are also key matches involving teams at the wrong end of the tables. FC Clacton moved off the bottom of the Premier Division for the first time this season after gaining a point at Wivenhoe on Tuesday and will be looking for further progress at home to Haverhill Rovers, a team with just one win in their 8 starts. Like FC Clacton, Dereham Town Reserves moved off the bottom of the their division for the first time this season with a 3-1 Christmas success at Downham Town. Dereham entertain an improved Team Bury on Monday.
Long Melford have now slipped into the relegation places following 6 straight defeats but their opponents, Wivenhoe Town, have only won 1 in their last 11. Just outside the drop zone are Ely City, still in the FA Vase, and Walsham le Willows, who meet at The Unwin Ground.
All matches on Monday kick-off at 3.00pm, except Needham Market Reserves v. in form Woodbridge Town, which starts at 1.00pm.
The full list is:-
Ely City v. Walsham le Willows
FC Clacton v. Haverhill Rovers
Gorleston v. Felixstowe & Walton United
Ipswich Wanderers v. Mildenhall Town
Kirkley & Pakefield v. Great Yarmouth Town
Long Melford v. Wivenhoe Town
Newmarket Town v. Hadleigh United
Saffron Walden Town v. Brantham Athletic
Swaffham Town v. Godmanchester Rovers
Thetford Town v. Fakenham Town
Coggeshall Town v. Leiston Res
Dereham Town Res v. Team Bury
Diss Town v. Debenham LC
Halstead Town v. Framlingham Town
Haverhill Borough v. Wisbech St Mary
March Town United v. King’s Lynn Town Res
Needham Market Res v. Woodbridge Town
Stowmarket Town v. Holland FC
Whitton United v. Cornard United
Monday 26 December (ko 11am)
Felixstowe & Walton United v. Ipswich Wanderers
Great Yarmouth Town v. Gorleston
Haverhill Rovers v. Saffron Walden Town
Walsham le Willows v. Swaffham Town
Coggeshall Town v. Halstead Town
Tuesday 27 December (ko 3.00pm, except where stated)
Brnatham Athletic v. Stanway Rovers
Godmenachester Rovers v. Ely City
Hadleigh United v. Long Melford
Mildenhall Town v. Thetford Town
Wivenhoe Town v. FC Clacton
Braintree Town Res v. Needham Market Res
Cornard United v. AFC Sudbury Res
Debenham LC v. Stowmarket Town
Downham Town v. Derham Town Res
Framlingham Town v. Diss Town
Haverhill Borough v. Team Bury (ko 1.00pm)
Holland FC v. Whitton United
Wisbech St Mary v. March Town United
Woodbridge Town v. Leiston Res
Wednesday 28 December (ko 7.45pm)
Fakenham Town v. Kirkley & Pakefield
The draw for the quarter finals of the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup has been made:-
Coggeshall Town v. Newmarket Town
Kirkley & Pakefield v. Mildenhall Town or Downham Town
Swaffham Town v. Gorleston
Walsham le Willows or Haverhill Rovers v. Stanway Rovers
Ties at Coggeshall and Swaffham to be played on Tuesday 31 January.
The tie at Kirkley to be played on Wednesday 1 February
The fourth tie will be 31 January if Haverhill and 1 February if Walsham
With many clubs around the half way point in their season it may, or may not, be interesting to note that only 32% of Premier Division matches have resulted in home wins. 33% have been draws and 35% have been away victories.
Nine Premier Division teams have had more away wins than home wins while only six have had more home than away wins.
The First Division does not mirror the statistics with 41% home wins, 30% draws and 29% away wins.