Melton Town and Holwell Sports gear up for FA Vase home ties

Holwell Sports reached the first round proper of the FA Vase last season where they were beaten by higher league side AFC Mansfield EMN-170920-125707002
Holwell Sports reached the first round proper of the FA Vase last season where they were beaten by higher league side AFC Mansfield EMN-170920-125707002
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Town football supporters will be spoilt for choice on Saturday when both Holwell Sports and Melton Town host FA Vase action.

Melton Town are in the national knockout competition for the first time, and entertain FC Bolsover in the second qualifying round, while Holwell welcome East Midlands Counties League rivals Dunkirk to Welby Road.

Melton Town will be hoping to fill their new stand for the visit of FC Bolsover in the FA Vase on Saturday EMN-170920-125656002

Melton Town will be hoping to fill their new stand for the visit of FC Bolsover in the FA Vase on Saturday EMN-170920-125656002

Town booked their place in the draw after edging out South Normanton earlier this month, while Holwell were handed a bye to this stage.

Melton will face something of an unknown quantity in their Derbyshire opponents who were launched just last season and were Central Midlands League at the first attempt.

They are currently 10th in Division One of the Northern Counties East League with 12 points from 10 games.

Town co-manager Shane Jarram said: “It’s massive for the club. It’s the biggest competition we play in and we are privileged to be in it.

“For many of the players it’s new and exciting, and from a financial point of view it’s huge.”

Town received £550 for their first qualifying round win, with £725 up for grabs for those who clear the next hurdle, and £250 for those who don’t.

Jarram and co-manager Steve Hendey are likely to be without forward Tom Byrne, while Joe Cooper will be a long-term absentee after a recurrence of his hamstring injury on Saturday’s home defeat to Burton Park, and the newly-returned Jack Baker is cup-tied.

There are also question marks over the fitness of keeper Jamie Witham after pulling up oat the weekend, with the club in discussions with a higher league club over the loan of a keeper as cover.

But Jarram has been impressed with the impact of the club’s development squad players, as well as newcomer Josh Clarke who came off the bench to net the winner at South Normanton in the previous round.

He is also encouraged by the numbers of fans beginning to come through the gate at Digital Deadline Park, the self-titled Pork Pie Army.

Both Town and Holwell will be hoping for bumper crowds to provide much-needed revenue for the rest of the season.

“There seems to be more and more every week which is really nice and hopefully it will be moreso for the Vase match on Saturday,” Jarram added.

Holwell’s opponents Dunkirk dropped back down to the EMCL last season and finished fifth on their return.

Yet they only took a point off John Webster’s team who had one of their best results of last season against the Nottingham side, winning 3-1 away last December thanks to goals from Kieran Foster, David Hazeldine and Brad Smith.

The sides then played out a 2-2 draw at Welby Road in April when Ian Bitmead and Mark Tinsley were on target.

Holwell have enjoyed success in the Vase in recent seasons, going all the way to the third round for the first time in their history four years ago.

Last season they reached the first round proper and pushed higher league AFC Mansfield all the way before succumbing 2-0.

And Holwell will be hoping for another good run in the Vase to provide relief from a tough start to the new season.

Sports are second-bottom in the league with just one win in nine games, and go into the tie on the back of four straight defeats.

But they were much improved in Saturday’s reverse at Teversal, and were strengthened in midweek by the signing of Tyler Sibson who goes straight into the squad for Saturday.

Both ties will kick off at 3pm.