Stourport Swifts head north in search of a history-making win
Stourport Swifts will aim to make history tomorrow by booking a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase, writes Sam Tonks.
Swifts make the long trip to the north east to face Northern League outfit Stockton Town having equalled their best run in the competition and with their sights set on moving two games away from Wembley.
Two coach loads of fans are making the journey north, leaving at 8am and not expecting to return till around 11pm.
“It’ll be a long day, we might not even have time for a drink after but hopefully it’s worth it,” said committee member Ian Johnson.
However, Swifts’ build-up to the tie had been disrupted by the weather with five games having been cancelled since December.
“The team is out of match practice but on a good day we fancy ourselves,” said Johnson. “For two or three years, teams from the Northern League have won the Vase, so it’ll be tough. But they play on an all-weather pitch and we’re good on that surface.”
The last time Stourport reached this round was in 2001 and Johnson feels the excitement around the team rising with Wembley three games away.
“It’s exciting around here, the bookies only have us at 11-2 to win, they’re not normally wrong but we fancy ourselves,” he said.
Manager Mark Phillips has been boosted with Matt Fulloway, Alex Perry, Joel Caines and Jim Hanson returning from injuries in time for tomorrow.
Stockton are in ninth in the Northern League Division One, but Johnson believes Swifts are up for the challenge.
“They’ve had successive promotions and get good crowds, it was 250 last game, but on a good day we can win.” he said.
Already equalling their best ever run in the Vase, Jim, Joe and Matt Hanson will try and make history as they travel away to Stockton Town.
“Jim has been a great player for us, he’s the oldest, Joe just broke into the first team two months ago,” said committee member Ian Johnson.
“Matt has just returned from a second broken leg, he’s only 21, so they love playing with each other, it’s great to have that in the team.”