Yaxley pose a big FA Vase challenge for Fakenham Town

Ashley Jarvis heads towards goal during Fakenham's draw with Walsham-le-Willows. Picture: TONY MILES

Ashley Jarvis heads towards goal during Fakenham's draw with Walsham-le-Willows. Picture: TONY MILES - Credit: Archant

Boss Wayne Anderson is backing his Fakenham Town players to “rise to the occasion” at Yaxley on Saturday as they bid to reach the third round of the FA Vase, writes Gareth Davis.

The Ghosts will head to the United Counties League Premier Division high-fliers knowing that the outside expectation will be on the Cuckoos to continue the form that has seen them climb up to third in the table with eight wins from their nine home league games so far.

But Fakenham have been in good form themselves to sit 10th in their first season back in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division – at Step Five, the same as the UCL’s top flight – with some good results on the road.

Manager Anderson said: “Yaxley have got a lot of experience, they have a few former St Ives and King’s Lynn lads, so it is a tough task for us, but if we get our heads down and do things right we will stand a chance.

“There might be a good crowd and I know that the lads can rise to the occasion so if we apply ourselves there’s no reason why we can’t go through or bring them back for a replay.”

Yaxley earned their place in the second round with a replay victory at home to Godmanchester Rovers, who are second in the Thurlow Nunn Premier – but who lost at home to Fakenham back in October.

The Ghosts have also twice drawn at Newmarket Town (including the FA Cup), who are currently third.

Most Read

“We have adapted back in the Premier Division very well and know we’re going into a Vase game knowing Yaxley are one of the sides to watch out for,” said Anderson.

“But if you want to make progress in the Vase you’ve got to beat teams like Yaxley so we have got to go out there and make sure we do our jobs right.”

Fakenham will welcome back to the squad Lee Day, Alex Walpole and Dion Frary, who all missed last Saturday’s 2-2 Premier Division draw at home to Walsham-le-Willows.

Andrew Wood put Walsham in front on 49 minutes, Josh Youngs equalised eight minutes later, Lee Sim restored the visitors’ lead on 64 but Ashley Jarvis quickly levelled it up again.

Prize money of £1,200 is up for grabs while a replay, if required, will take place at Fakenham on Wednesday November 26 (7.45pm).

The Ghosts are scheduled to be in Norfolk Senior Cup fourth round action at Norwich United on November 25 (7.45pm) but that game will be rearranged if they draw at Yaxley, or if Norwich’s Vase tie with AFC Kempston Rovers goes to a replay.

This Saturday, Fakenham’s reserves host Mattishall Reserves in Division Three of the Anglian Combination (2pm).

They won 3-2 at Norwich CEYMS Reserves last Saturday with Ricky Claxton and Ollie Bamforth (two) scoring.