Deal fly the flag for Kent in last 32 of FA Vase
DEAL TOWN fly the flag for the Go Travel Kent League as the sole survivors in the fourth round of the FA Carlsberg Vase and all eyes are on them as they travel to Albany Northern League division one strugglers Jarrow Roofing Boldon CA, writes Stephen McCartney.
The 2000 winners
started their journey in the second qualifying round where they defeated fellow
Kent League rivals Sevenoaks Town 2-1 at Greatness Park against a side that were
making their debut in the competition.
Victories over Petersfield (1-0) and Witney (3-1) followed but after knocking out Fareham Town in the last round - 1-0 after extra time - FA Vase fever has once again hit everyone at the Charles Sports Ground.
Can Derek Hares' side emulate the team that were managed by current Dartford boss Tommy Sampson and bring the silverware back to East Kent?
54-year-old boss, however, admitted he is looking forward to the game - and is
confident his side can come away with the victory - against the Northern League
Deal embark on their long journey at 11:00 on Friday morning by coach and will be staying at a Gateshead hotel on Friday and Saturday night before making the trip back down to Deal on Sunday - hopefully victorious and in the hat with fifteen other clubs.
Hares said: "We've had them watched. They are struggling in their league at the moment but their league is quite strong with sides like Beddlington Terriers and Tow Law Town.
"I feel on paper it's not a bad draw for us - the distance is a distraction."
Hares, however, admitted his side are rising to the challenge being the only Kent club left in the competition.
"Obviously when we beat Fareham it was a great performance by the side.
"Everyone at the club has been looking forward to this game for six weeks.
"If we can win, getting into the last sixteen will be a fantastic achievement."
Everyone in the county is wondering if this current Deal side can emulate Tommy Sampson's side of 2000, which beat Chippenham Town 1-0 at Wembley Stadium thanks to a late winner from Roly Graham.
"After beating Fareham everyone at the club started to think about things. On the day we played well and deserved to win," added Hares.
"Reaching the last 32 has got everyone excited at the club and in the town,"
Deal, however, have come through the bad times after Sampson's glory days but the club seems stronger after a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears.
Hares added: "This is the furthest Deal have been since they won it but the circumstances at the club are a lot different now as they were in 2000.
"Tommy Sampson had more money at his disposal - we've been through some bad times."
A good 2-1 win over Hythe Town in the Kent League last weekend has put Deal in good stead ahead of their fourth round clash
Spare a thought for Darren Wareing - who no doubt will be listening to BBC Radio Kent throughout Saturday afternoon - he cannot make the trip due to work commitments on the club's biggest day of the season. Alex Hossick - a recent signing from Herne Bay - is cup-tied.
With a full
coach load making the trip on Friday with more fans expected to travel by car
and plane on the morning of the game, Deal will be well supported by Kent
When asked if his side can lift the Vase at White Hart Lane, Hares added: "It's a big ask to win the competition - we are taking one game at a time.
"I am optimistic we can win on Saturday and get a home draw in the last sixteen.
"We've trained on Monday and Wednesday this week and everybody at the club is up for the whole game.
"All the players have waited since the last round to play this game - we won't need to motivate them for this one.
"It's the biggest game Deal have played since they got - and won - the final.
"The club have been very good and have given us the best preparation. Staying in Gateshead allows us to prepare the team.
"We are looking forward to it - everyone will give it their best shot and it will be a great result if we can do it - I am confident we might."
* If Saturday's game remains level after extra time, the replay will take place at the Charles Sports Ground, St Leonards Road, Deal seven days later on the 29th January.
* Unfortunately we cannot attend the game - please email us a match report and we shall publish it - but we will be interviewing Derek Hares on Sunday.
* You can still read "The Real Deal" by Tommy Sampson on the home page of this website.
Jarrow Roofing Boldon CA v Deal Town
FA Carlsberg Vase - Fourth Round
Saturday 22nd January 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm