FA Vase Semi Finals: Ascot United 90 minutes from Wembley date

Brendan Matthew. Photo: Robert Mack.
Brendan Matthew. Photo: Robert Mack.

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The 2022/23 Isuzu FA Vase Semi-Finals are upon us with no less than three sides from the South of England – and two from the Berks & Bucks FA region – in the final four.

Ascot United, Congleton Town, Corsham Town and holders Newport Pagnell Town are the sides that sit 90 minutes from a date at Wembley Stadium on the 21st May.

Here, Football in Berkshire takes an overview of both FA Vase semi-final fixtures. They’re likely to be incredibly tight games, decided in one moment of magic – or as all four Quarter Finals were – the dreaded penalty shootout.

A reminder for these ties, the semi-finals are no longer two-legged, and go straight to penalties if the match is tied at full-time.

Corsham Town vs Ascot United

It’s Hellenic League vs Combined Counties League in the first semi-final of the 2022/23 Isuzu FA Vase with – at least according to the bookies – Ascot United as the favourites.

We all know Ascot’s title challenge at the top of the CCL Premier Division North, but Corsham are fourth in the Hellenic League Premier Division and look likely to miss out on that crucial second place and a inter-league play-off this season despite having games in hand.

James Rusby at Hungerford Town. Photo: Jeff Youd.
James Rusby at Hungerford Town. Photo: Jeff Youd.

That could well help the side – who number former Wokingham & Emmbrook and Hungerford Town midfielder James Rusby in their squad – focus on the small matter of seeing off the Yellas at home.

Ascot though will be confident but these games will be confident going in with top scorer Brendan Matthew up-front and top-stopper Rhys Forster in goal – that’s to say nothing of the rest of the impressive squad Jamie Tompkins as assembled at the Racecourse Ground.

Tickets Corsham Town vs Ascot United on sale here.

Congleton Town vs Newport Pagnell Town

Writing a preview about two sides you know nothing about. What could possibly go wrong? Well.

Newport Pagnell left Wembley and headed home with the Vase last season after defeating Littlehampton Town 3-0. If they reached and won the final they’d become the first side to retain the trophy since Whitley Bay went three-in-a-row between 2009 and 2011.

Wembley Stadium home of the FA. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com
A nice picture of Wembley Stadium to illustrate we have no images of either side in this fixture. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

Were that to happen, there is every chance the Swans will be back in the competition next season with the United Counties League Premier Division South side short of points in the title race.

They are of course now experienced knockout football campaigners and beat one of the competition’s favourites, Jersey Bulls, in the last 16 while Atherstone Town were dispatched on penalties in the Quarters.

Their opponents Congleton Town, from Cheshire, are in the same North West Counties League Premier Division as West Didsbury & Chorlton, the side that pushed Ascot all the way last round, and are seventh in the table with a defeat to Litherland REMYCA on Saturday to bounce back from.

Tickets for Congleton Town vs Newport Pagnell Town on sale here.

Ascot United vs Newport Pagnell Town FA Vase final?

It’s the one that fully biased and very much non-objective Football in Berkshire wants to see. Congleton and Corsham will both have a huge say in that of course but a juicy Berkshire vs Buckinghamshire final would be a great occasion for an area that – we feel – has really woken up to the delights of grassroots football over the last decade or so.

What FA Vase Factfiles Phil Annets says

Read Phil’s FULL and way more objective stat-fuelled FA Vase Semi Final preview here.

Representatives of the Hellenic League, the Combined Counties League, the North West Counties League and the United Counties League contest the two semi-finals to determine the clubs in this year’s FA Vase Final on 21st May. Four of the last five Finals have been won by a club from those four leagues.

If the quarter-finals are anything to go by, where every single tie went to penalties, it is impossible to predict.

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