FA Vase previews: Symes puts faith in youngsters for Vase

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CORNARD United manager Chris Symes is hoping the youngest team he has presided over in his 18 years at the club can pull off one of the stand-out upsets of the FA Vase on Saturday.

The side who have only managed a combined 17 league points from the last two seasons in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division host Premier Division outfit Haverhill Rovers on Saturday (3pm) with the incentive of a £500 prize fund cheque for the winners.

The Blackhouse Lane outfit have lost all four of their opening First Division games and gone through the equivalent of three teams of players already. But Symes believes they can take heart from their narrowest defeat of the season on Saturday, a 2-1 loss at March Town United.

“We defended doggedly and it was quite a good performance and got a bit of pride back,” he said.

He bemoaned his players’ late call-offs on Friday night, leading to an estimated 100 phone calls and to him making two last-minute signings from Halstead’s youth set-up.

“I am hoping the players will come out of the woodwork as it is a home game,” he said, before adding of the chances of an upset: “Hopefully we will catch them by surprise and they believe all the publicity we are rubbish.”

Cornard United Under-18s, more accustomed to winning than their senior side, continued their good form with a 5-1 thrashing of neighbours AFC Sudbury on Sunday and play in the FA Youth Cup against Norwich United a week today (September 6) at Blackhouse Lane (7.45pm) with admission £2.

Halstead Town manager Jimmy Holder is looking for a reaction from his side in Saturday’s home tie with Basildon United, following their 4-1 league defeat at Swaffham Town last Saturday.

The Essex Senior League Premier Division side visit Rosemary Lane fresh from knocking Haverhill Rovers out of the FA Cup on Saturday with an 87th-minute winner.

“We want to try and progress but it is another tough opponent in Basildon and the lads will do what they can,” Holder said.

“We will get information about them and take that into account.”

Apart from Marcus Warren, who trained for the first time this week from an ankle injury, Halstead will be at full strength as they look to use home advantage to set up a tie at Diss Town in the next round.

Long Melford host Essex Senior League Premier Division side Bowers and Pitsea with manager Robbie Benson looking for some cup tonic after his side’s comprehensive 5-2 defeat at early pacesetters Cambridge University Press in the league on Saturday.

Should Melford beat the side who play one rung higher than them on the football ladder, they would face Woodbridge Town away in the next round.

The Villagers’ were in league action at home to Ipswich Wanderers last night looking to pick up their first league win of the season.

Hadleigh United, without a game until their next FA Cup tie at Aveley a week Saturday, have a bye into the second qualifying round of the competition, where they will travel to play the winners of the Stanway Rovers and Debenham LC tie on September 15.