Posted: 03.03.20 at 10:44 by Nick Hudson
FA Vase underdogs Atherstone Town now know the road to Wembley has to be navigated through a “mad March” dash with five games in the space of 12 days.
For the first time in their history, the Town CFC has its name in the draw for the Buildbase-sponsored cup semis.
Their opponents will be ninth tier Toolstation Western League Premier Division side Bitton in a two-legged tie – with the small matter of overcoming Consett AFC in the rearranged quarter-final at Sheepy Road this Saturday.
If they beat their Northern Football League Division One side at the weekend, the Town will travel to WDS Associates Legal Services Stadium for the first leg on Saturday. March 21 and back to the Mark Webster Community Stadium a week later.
Bitton currently lie eighth in a division which covers the south western counties of Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire and are on an impressive unbeaten run of form in their last five games ¬– having won four of them.
Adders, the lowest-placed side left in the competition in the 10th tier of English football, have at least avoided the FA Vase favourites Hebburn Town in the draw.
Hebburn, in the seventh-tier Northern Premier League, will play the winners of Saturday’s game between Corinthian or Leighton Town.
The “massive week” for the Adders kicks off tomorrow night with a Midland Football League Division game at 14th-placed Ashby Ivanhoe.
The five-in-12 pile-up continues with the FA Vase quarter final on Saturday followed by four league games – at home to 18th-placed Chelmsley Town on Wednesday, March 11; away to 14th-placed Kirby Muxloe on Saturday, March 14; and a six-pointer visit to sixth-placed Lichfield City on Monday, March 16.
And if the Bates’s Butchers-sponsored Consett clash is successful – then it will be off to Bitton for the first of the FA Vase semi-final matches on Saturday, March 21.
Amazingly, Atherstone still have 16 league fixtures between now and the end of the season and currently are 22 points behind leaders Leicester Road (70 points) with seven games in hand.
If the Sheepy Road outfit have thoughts of a championship and FA Vase double then they face the prospect of playing 20 league and cup games – not including the midweek floodlit – while Leicester Road only have nine league fixtures left.
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