Preview | Shildon vs West, FA Vase, Saturday 12 October, 3pm
⚽️ vs Shildon AFC
📅 Saturday 12 October
📍 Dean Street, Shildon, DL4 1EZ
🏆 FA Vase
💷 £7 adults / £5 concessions / £2 under 16s / Under 5s free
West travel to County Durham for a tough cup tie which should also act as a litmus test for the strength of this side.
A brilliant performance almost counted for nothing in the last round for West, who needed the help of a divot on Runcorn Town’s pitch to get the only goal of the game and progress. They’ll need a similarly strong showing against Shildon, who are rated as the fourth favourites to win the competition outright by one bookmaker. Betting is a pernicious and regrettable presence in modern football, but the odds on our particular game illustrate the task ahead – a ten-pound bet on the hosts would return you £12 including stake: the same amount of money on a West win would bring back £80, meaning the oddsmakers are fairly confident in the home side.
However, Brad Cooke has every reason to be confident in his own team, who have begun to get a taste for giant-killing: that Runcorn Town win was similarly unfancied, whereas it took Stalybridge Celtic – a side two leagues above the level of Shildon – a replay and a questionable goal to see off his West side. Shildon’s Dean Street holds happy memories for the manager, having played in a 4-1 win there during his Atherton Collieries days, while he was only a penalty shoot-out away from ending his playing career at Wembley last season, getting to the semi-finals with Northwich Victoria.
Shildon, for their part, despatched Northern League Division Two (the equivalent level to West) Tow Law Town in the last round to get to this stage, and site fourth in the Northern League – perhaps the strongest league that is eligible to enter the FA Vase. 7 of the last decade’s winners have come from that division alone: Whitley Bay (2009/10, 11), Dunston UTS (12), Spennymoor (13), North Shields (15), Morpeth (16, where they beat West 5-4 en route), and South Shields (17). The North West Counties, by comparison, have only managed to supply a losing finalist in that time, when future West player Tom Bailey scored in Glossop North End’s loss to North Shields.
Shildon’s league form of late has been patchy – they’ve Won 2, Lost 2, Drawn 1 of their last 5, and could drop down to 7th if those below win their games in hand – but their most recent fixture saw them beat Carlisle City 5 – 0 in a cup competition. West will be hoping to avoid a similar fate, and to be bringing a landmark result back to Chorlton with them on the coach home.
Rob McKay is the guest in a look forward to the game