Nantwich on course to make history

Steve Davis, now Crewe Alexandra boss, was the Nantwich Town player-manager in 2006, the day they beat Hillingdon Borough to lift the FA Vase at St Andrew’s, Birmingham

Nantwich Town have the chance to make history if they can continue their FA Trophy run at home to Northern Premier League rivals Stourbridge.

Of the 13 sides left in a delayed third round, Woking (three times) and Macclesfield (twice) are ex-winners.

But Nantwich and Guiseley are both former winners of the FA Vase, for lower-ranked non-league sides.

And, if the Dabbers can go all the way to win at Wembley, they would become the first side to win both trophies.

After having the original tie with Stourbridge postponed on Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch, Nantwich now hope to play on Tuesday night.

And, following Monday’s quarter-final draw, the incentive for Nantwich is the chance of another home tie against Yorkshire side Guiseley, now in the National League top flight, but the only other side left in who have won the Vase.

Guiseley, who face a home third round replay after drawing 2-2 at Dover on Saturday, won the Vase way back in 1991, an achievement emulated by Nantwich in 2006, under player-manager Steve Davis.

Both are flourishing non-league clubs who have grown sufficiently within the English non-league pyramid to now be considered for the FA Trophy, rather than the FA Vase.

But, in the 41 years since the Vase was first competed for, no side has gone on to claim the greater Trophy prize, Forest Green Rovers (twice) and Tamworth having come closest as beaten finalists.

Tony Davison talks up the Dabbers

“All I ask is that we give 100%, play well, then see what happens,” said Nantwich chairman Tony Davison. “But this is the furthest we’ve been in the Trophy and it’s certainly raising our profile. We’re getting more involved in the town. People are phoning up and asking about us now.

“We want to play in the National League and we’re not that far away. We’ve already beaten two National League sides. We outplayed Stockport County at Edgeley Park and demonstrated what we can do both home and away against Bradford Park Avenue.

The 3,500 capacity, £4m Weaver Stadium has been Nantwich’s home since 2007

“Our manager Phil Parkinson is doing a marvellous job. We’re a much better club than we were a year ago.”

The meeting of Nantwich and Stourbridge at the Weaver Stadium, eighth v seventh in the Northern Premier League, is one of two ties not involving a National League team.

Along with National League South side Sutton United’s replay at Isthmian League high fliers Bognor Regis Town (following (Saturday’s 0-0 draw), that guarantees at least two teams from outside the non-league top flight making it into the quarter-finals on 27 February.

Nantwich’s 2006 FA Vase victory

When the two teams met in the league in October, Nantwich won 1-0. And, having already come though six games, which also included the removal of BBC television documentary stars Salford City, they now quite fancy their chances of emulating the Dabbers’ class of 2006.

Danny Griggs (left) and Phil Parkinson, now the club’s management team, were part of Nantwich’s winning Vase team in 2006

It was May 2006, at St Andrew’s, home of Birmingham City (one of the seven temporary venues used while Wembley was being rebuilt), when Nantwich won the Vase, beating Hillingdon Town 3-1 in the final.

All they can hope is that the ultimate outcome does not prove quite so much a contrast in pain and pleasure as it was for the man who scored twice that day, Andy Kinsey, who dislocated his shoulder, celebrating his second goal.

FA Trophy fixtures

Third round: Tuesday 9 February – Nantwich Town v Stourbridge, Torquay v Macclesfield, Bognor Regis Town v Sutton United (replay), Guiseley v Dover Athletic (replay); Wednesday 10 FebruaryHalifax v Chester.

Quarter-final draw: Nantwich or Stourbridge v Dover or Guiseley, Halifax or Chester v Gateshead, Grimsby Town v Woking, Sutton United or Bognor Regis Town v Torquay United or Macclesfield Town. Ties scheduled to be played on Saturday 27 February (15:00 GMT).

National League sides in bold.

Sixth tier sides left in: National League South: Sutton (3rd)

Seventh tier sides left in : Northern Premier: Stourbridge (7th), Nantwich (8th); Isthmian Premier – Bognor Regis (4th).

Previous success in the Trophy: Winners – Woking (three times), Macclesfield Town (twice); Runners-up: Sutton United (1981), Torquay United (2008), Grimsby Town (2013).

Previous Vase winners to reach Trophy final: Forest Green (1999 and 2001), Tamworth (2003).

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