While three Thurlow Nunn League sides are gearing up for FA Vase fourth-round ties, runaway leaders Hadleigh United are already through.
Without even kicking a ball, Stuart Crawford’s side will pocket the £2,000 in prize money next week.
It comes after a Football Association hearing decided to expel both of their possible fourth-round opponents, Moneyfields and Bitton AFC, for a brawl that saw their third round tie abandoned on December 7.
Hadleigh had been due to travel to the winners of the tie on Saturday in the last 32 of the national competition.
An FA spokesman told the Free Press, as a result of Thursday’s hearing, Hadleigh will get a walkover into the next round.
It had been subject to either side launching an appeal by 1pm last Friday, but neither decided to.
He added it had been decided expulsion from the competition for both sides was deemed punishment enough, without having to fine either of them.
It was confirmed Hadleigh will receive the £2,000 of prize fund money for each of the winners of all the fourth-round ties, after the round is completed.
Crawford’s side are set to find out their fifth round opponents on Monday, for ties schedule to be played on Saturday, February 15.
After exiting the competition at the quarter-final (sixth round) stage, a club record run, at Tunbridge Wells last season, the club would only require two more wins to rewrite the history books and set up a two-legged semi-final, to be played on Saturday, March 29 and Saturday, April 5.
The final itself will be a one-off match at Wembley on Saturday, May 10.
Hadleigh, who received a bye to the second round proper of the competition due to last year’s impressive run, have only had to play two games so far out of a possible six, including the fourth round.
Brightlingsea Regent (home against Bodmin Town), Norwich United (away against Ampthill Town) and Brantham Athletic (away at East Preston) are the league’s only other representatives left in the FA Vase.
Due to their bye, Hadleigh will be focused on the visit of former AFC Sudbury manager Christ Tracey’s strugglers Diss Town to the Millfield on Saturday (3pm).
The league fixture gives the Brettsiders the opportunity to rack up their ninth straight win.
Hadleigh currently hold a 16-point lead over their nearest challengers, Haverhill Rovers, who have played a game less, but lost five games more than the leader’s solitary defeat.
Saturday’s opponents Diss (15th) have not played a league match since their 11-0 thrashing at home to Walsham-le-Willows on Boxing Day.