FA Vase veteran Shane Wardley eyes better luck with Ipswich Wanderers
Â© Stephen Waller
FA Vase stalwart Shane Wardley believes Ipswich Wanderers should be targeting at least a semi-final place in this season's competition, ahead of tomorrow's fifth round clash with Bowers & Pitsea, at Humber Doucy Lane.
The 35-year-old left-back twice reached the final of the competition in the last decade with AFC Sudbury, against Winchester and Didcot – the west Suffolk side falling at the final hurdle in three consecutive seasons.
Now, the defender has his eyes on another prolonged stay in the competition and, with a home tie against Kidlington the prize should they overcome their Essex visitors tomorrow, the former Hadleigh United man thinks his side have a chance.
Asked if his side can go all the way, Wardley said: “Can we win it? That is a good question.
“I would like to think we can progress a bit further.
“We have got a home draw against Bowers & Pitsea and then we play Kidlington at home if we progress.
“Getting a home draw is always an advantage and I think we should be looking at the semi-finals at least.
“At our level this is probably the biggest competition as realistically, you are not going to go far in the FA Cup.
“I got to two Vase finals with Sudbury which was superb and it would be nice if I could get there with Wanderers.”
Wardley actually scored at both ends in Sudbury’s 2005 defeat to Didcot at White Hart Lane and while that run ultimately ended in disappointment, Wanderers’ progression has brought a lot of good memories flooding back.
“Playing at Bodmin reminded me of some of the games we played at Sudbury, playing in gale force winds.
“We dug in as a team,” added Wardley, who admits his experience, along with the nous of former Sudbury team-mate David Head and ex-Leiston man Mark Goldfinch, could prove crucial.
“We are constantly talking to the young lads in the team and telling them not to let the occasion spoil the game for them.
“But everyone is buzzing at the club, we have a real good team spirit and everyone has stuck together throughout the season.”
n Tomorrow’s opponents Bowers & Pitsea, are currently sixth from top of the Essex Senior League, 10 points off leaders, Basildon United.
They have reached the fifth round stage, having defeated Hanworth Villa and Flackwell Heath, both 3-2 at home, Broxbourne Borough (3-1 away) and Sutton Common Rovers (3-0 home).
Tomorrow’s other fifth round games see Berkhamsted host Morpeth Town, Hartley Wintney host Hereford and Ashford United travel to Dunston UTS.
Wanderers will receive £2,500 if they progress, while winning the whole competition will be worth another £52,500.