Tiverton pick of Vase bunch

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The Independent Online
The road to Wembley in the FA Carlsberg Vase is long and arduous, as all but two of the 16 teams that have reached tomorrow's fifth round are about to discover.

Only the Kent club, Herne Bay, who travel to Surrey to take on Banstead, are excused hours of coach travel. Bedlington Terriers make the long haul down the A1 from Northumberland to Essex to play Collier Row & Romford, Whitstable head the other way as they trek from the Kent coast to Humberside for a tie against North Ferriby, and the Middlesex men from Northwood also go north to tackle Durham City.

The longest journey, though, takes Tiverton Town all the way from Devon to the North Yorkshire coast to play Whitby. "Tivvy" are the only team in the non-League pyramid with a 100 per-cent league record, and last weekend they set a new club record by beating Chippenham 4-1 for their 16th successive win since the start of the Screwfix Direct Western League season.

The Western League has had a good record in the Vase this decade: Mangotsfield reached the semi-finals last term, Tiverton were losing finalists in 1993, while Taunton also reached the final the following year. Taunton entertain the Lincolnshire side, Spalding, tomorrow.

Two Wembley losers from 1980 are hoping to go one better this year. Wisbech travel from Cambridgeshire to meet another North Yorkshire side, Guisborough, who lost the Vase final in 1980. That year saw Mossley beaten in the FA Trophy final, but the Lancashire club have now dropped down to the Vase and they play host to Barking tomorrow.

West Country fans are already dreaming of Taunton v Tiverton at Wembley, but there is only one final which will satisfy media jokers: Bedlington Terriers against Barking.

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