Deal Town fly the flag for Kent football
Go Travel Kent League side remains in the FA Vase, as three of our sides were
knocked out in Saturday's third round matches, writes Stephen McCartney.
Deal Town, winners in 2000 under Tommy Sampson, are our sole survivors, after seeing off Fareham Town 1-0 after extra time.
Lee Bosson's 108th minute goal settled the tie but manager Derek Hares' played down his side's chances of emulating Sampson's achievements when Roly Graham's goal was enough to beat Chippenham Town 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.
After their glorious day, the club have since struggled but Hares was delighted his side came through against Wessex League opposition.
The 54-year-old, who lives just outside Deal in Finglesham, said: "Obviously very pleased with it, it's a great boost for the club.
"There's a lot been going on at the club over the last few years and we've worked well off the pitch and we're going forward on it.
"It's been a struggle keeping the club going in the last couple of seasons."
Hares', however, is hoping for a home draw in the fourth round.
"We know all sides left in it now will be good sides and all we can hope for is a home draw.
"If we can carry on playing like we have in the last few weeks - which included beating Maidstone United - we have a chance of progressing in the competition.
"However, I am not looking to win it."
Hares' recalled: "I thought in the first half we should have been two or three goals up.
"We had some good chances in the first half.
"However, I thought the second half was an even game.
"Both teams had chances, but it always looked one goal would decide it.
"And then, when it went into extra time, they had a lot of the ball, but didn't create a lot with it.
"Lee Bosson scored with 12 minutes to go - I thought from that point on we controlled the game, defended quite well and we deserved to win."
Bosson's goal, however, has created another record for the club. This is the furthest the club have gone in the FA Vase competition, other than Sampson's heroes in 2000.
What's the betting Hares' side can repeat that achievement?
Current holders Winchester City were given a fright at Bayliss Avenue against Thamesmead Town.
In our Match of the Day, 'Mead were without their manager Paul Blade, who was away, so the team were looked after by assistant manager's Keith McMahon and Steve Wait.
Thamesmead, however, set their stall out from the very first whistle, battling for every ball, and were a credit to themselves and to Kent League football for the way they played against the Wessex League leaders and Vase holders.
Dean Burns' 13th goal of the season gave the Bayliss Avenue club a deserved lead after 37 minutes and had goalkeeper Dominic Moore to thank of preserving the lead with two good saves just before the interval.
However, Thamesmead, ran themselves into the ground, and ran out of fuel in their engines, and Winchester came through, thanks to three good strikes from Ian Mancey (56 minutes), a Mark Blake header twelve minutes later and an stoppage time strike from Jamie Laidlaw, whose 25-yard shot sailed into the net.
McMahon, however, admitted after the game he was proud of his players.
"For the first 45 minutes, I think we showed, maybe, we were the better side.," he said.
"We said before the game we were going to have a right go at them.
"Winchester are a very good side, as we expected, but for the first 45 minutes we looked like we were the cup holders and they didn't."
McMahon admitted his players were inspired to perform, after Winchester sat the trophy in front of the 'Mead players as everyone watched the first half of Everton's 1-0 win over Liverpool inside the clubhouse before the game.
When asked what he said to his players about the trophy incident, McMahon added: "We didn't really have to.
"We read in a report that's what they've done. I think, to be fair to them, we found out afterwards Carlsberg asked them to do that.
"Maybe, yes, it's a little bit harsh but I think it just spurred the players on and I think if helped us to be honest."
And on the game, the 31-year-old said: "First half we worked really well. Our game plan was to not left them play and to be honest they kept the ball really well.
"Second half we said to play the same way again, if they can.
"They scored a goal, I think we could have hit them with a few challenges but the sucker punch, with 20 minutes to go was the free header - we just switched off.
"Their third goal flattered them a little bit - we were pushing forward in the last couple of minutes.
"I think it's a tremendous performance from the club."
McMahon, however, was pleased his players listened to his pre-match motivational team talk.
He said: "We gave them a right good game and I think the lads should be proud.
"I said to them at the beginning, there's not much of a difference in class as long as we perform the way we can.
"I asked for 110% and everyone gave it," he beamed.
He revealed the players were left drained and hugely disappointed in the dressing room after the game but he is looking for the same passion for the rest of their Kent League season to rise up the table, which they should do after this performance.
"They can't move, they are physically drained," McMahon said.
"Winchester are a good side but I thought we matched them apart from the 15-20 minutes when they got their noses in front."
Ramsgate manager Jim Ward, admitted their game at Bitton, which they lost 2-0, was dour.
The manager, whose side reached the last eight in 2000, when rivals Deal went on to win it, said: "Well, it was one of those games, where both sides had three chances each.
"We had a few chances early from Mo Takaloo and Stuart Vahid, but unfortunately we missed two gilt edged chances.
"And to be fair, it was always going to be about who scored the first goal first.
"And they did and that was it!
"We chased the game after that, and again, my goalkeeper Danny Twyman made one double save and another two times he picked the ball out of the net.
"He didn't have to make a save during the whole game.
"And to be fair, their goalkeeper didn't make any saves either.
"It was a very dour game. We knew exactly what they were like - big and strong - we knew everything about them, and that was it in a nutshell.
"I was disappointed until I heard all the Kent League results. Before yesterday's results we could have ended up fourth in the league.
"Whitstable, VCD, Herne Bay and Hythe all had chances to go above us and nobody took advantage of that - we are still top of the table.
"So that cheered me up a bit."
A poor referee put paid to Tunbridge Wells' run, going down 1-0 at Bury Town - a side that were happy to shut up shop after taking an eight minute lead through Andy Eady, who headed home Daniel Cornwel's free kick.
Wells' manager Kevin Metcalf admitted: "We were robbed!
"The referee was dreadful.
"The whole of the second half I don't think he gave us one free kick."
Looking at the first half, he added: "We played really well, the team played excellent even though they scored from a free kick in the 8th minute.
"Basically after they scored it was all Tunbridge Wells."
He admitted: "But without creating - we didn't look like scoring in the first half, even though we were the better team."
Recalling the second half, he added: "The game got a bit more livelier, basically Bury tried to rough us up a little bit because of our football and the referee was on their side as well.
"We had 2-3 good chances in the second half, their goalkeeper made two excellent saves from Buster Beaney and Danny Barham.
"And then in the 86th minute, Steve Ward went on one of his driving runs and put the ball past the goalkeeper but he brought him down - no penalty."
The Culverden Stadium outfit have fully enjoyed their FA Vase campaign which saw them knock out Camberley Town (3-1),Cobham (3-1 after extra time), Pagham (3-1), Erith Town (4-3) before Bury Town, second in the Ridgeons Eastern League ended their run, which started in the first qualifying round in September.
Metcalf added: "To be honest, going out is a low but we are a young side.
"As we walked off the pitch a couple of my players came up to me and said we'll take this into next year and learn from it.
"Basically, at the start of the season we set our stall out for a little run in the FA Cup and FA Vase and we've done really well, I think."