Ford: My experienced side will not freeze

Friday 20th January 2006
Kent football followers had hoped for a derby in the fourth round of the FA Vase tomorrow, but Maidstone United’s hopes were dashed when they lost at Broxbourne Borough in a penalty shoot out, thus denying them a visit to league rivals, VCD Athletic, writes Stephen McCartney.

Long-serving VCD Athletic manager, Martin Ford is, however, relishing their tie against the Spartan League side, as he enjoys his longest ever run in the competition.

He told
“I have been lucky enough to be involved in some very special occasions as manager of VCD since I have been at the club for the last thirteen years.

”This Saturday, weather and pitch permitting, I take our side into the last 32 of the FA Vase, a competition that this club has never been so far in.

”It has been very hard to concentrate on any form of work this week due to the publicity and press coverage our “little club” are enjoying.

”Yes, it is a massive match but thankfully I have a changing room full of experienced players and characters that will not freeze on the day.”

Phil Turner and Ricky Bennett tasted FA Vase success when they helped Deal Town defeat Chippenham Town in the 2000 final – the last one played underneath the Twin Towers at Wembley Stadium.

Turner, however, will miss tomorrow’s game as he isn’t fit, but will surely pass his experiences onto his team-mates.

”I have been asked on numerous occasions what this has done for our club and to be honest until this week I was not sure.” said Ford.

”But I know that this competition is way above anything we have experienced since we broke into the Kent League nine seasons ago.

”We have tried to approach the game the same as any other match we have played this season with the lads enjoying two valuable training sessions this week. It is now my job to get the balance and team right ahead of Saturday.

”I have known my side virtually since I walked off the pitch at Arundel in the last round and injuries permitting it should have a familiar look about it if all the lads are fit.

”What will happen on the day I do not know, whatever team are up for it, will win . Although I have watched them myself and have had them watched twice, sometimes tactics and formations go out of the window on the day.  We will concentrate all our efforts on ourselves  give it our best shot and try our best to get through , that's all we can do!”

Vickers’ lost their 18 match unbeaten run last Saturday, losing 2-0 at home to Beckenham Town, and Ford admitted he was “a little bit disappointed” to lose.  “If I’m honest we should have won on the chances we created alone,” he admitted.  “Full credit to Beckenham.  They rode their luck and got the breaks when they came.  It was a match we expected to win but sadly for us it did not happen.”

Ford will be a proud man when he leads his side out at their Oakwood ground in Crayford next season.  “It was nice to be hold this week that work starts on our ground on the 13th February for our return home next season,” he said.  “A lot of people have worked very hard to enable this to happen.  The best we can do is to win tomorrow.  If we play well I’m very confident that we will be in the hat come Monday morning.”

VCD Athletic v Broxbourne Borough
FA Vase Fourth Round
Saturday 21st January 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Greenwich Borough FC, Harrow Meadow, Eltham Green Road, Eltham