Match Of The Week: Lancing 4-2 Witham Town (AET)

Hove, Aldrington, Portslade, Fishersgate, Southwick, Shoreham-by-Sea, Lancing. The train rumbles westward along the coast from Brighton for an unexpected treat, an FA Vase Third Round match between Lancing, of the Sussex County League Division Two and Witham Town, of the Essex Senior League. The FA Vase, as many of you will be aware, was first competed for in 1975, following the FA’s abolition of the formal distinction between professional amateur players. While the FA Trophy (the competition that professional non-league clubs have been playing for since the late 1960s), however, has been suffering in recent years as the Football Conference sweeps all before it at the top end of the non-league game, the Vase, by comparison, feels healthy. These are clubs whose hopes of reaching the Football League are, broadly speaking, remote, to say the least. What, then, of Lancing? With a population of around 19,000, it’s a contender for the honour of being Britain’s largest village, and is probably best known as the home of Lancing College, amongst whose alumni we can count Evelyn Waugh, Tom Sharpe and Tim Rice. It’s also now the home of the Sussex County Football Association, and their decision to use Culver Road, the home of Lancing FC, as their base has reaped considerable dividends for the club. The old stand has been replaced by a new, smart replacement with an outstanding bar,...

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