This season’s FA Vase involved 618 clubs from Step 5 and Step 6 of the Football Pyramid all with as much chance as each other of competing for a place in the showpiece final at Wembley on 22nd May.
Twenty-four clubs were participating in the competition for the first time including the re-formed Macclesfield FC and two clubs that made it as far as the 3rd Round in their debut campaigns, Berks County and Buckhurst Hill. Lee Sackey of Berks County even scored a hat-trick in successive ties.
Reece Bucket of Eversley and California scored the first goal of this year’s competition in their 3-0 victory over Virginia Water, but it was Hinckley AFC who made the biggest impact in this season’s 1st Qualifying Round by setting a new biggest victory in FA Vase history when winning 18-0 at St Martins. Charlie Evans scored a hat-trick whilst Kai Gibbs and Joel Heely netted four times each.
A goal-scoring feat of a different kind happened after Bishop Auckland and Ryton and Crawcrook Albion shared four goals in their 1st Qualifying round tie. Bishop Auckland eventually won the match 15-14 on penalties.
And Epsom and Ewell were two-nil down at Larkfield and New Hythe Wanderers as the clock ticked into the 90th minute, but the Salts still won the match by scoring three goals before the final whistle.
In the 2nd Qualifying Round Chris Blunden of Tring Athletic netted after just 22 seconds in their 4-1 win at FC Deportivo Galicia.
FC Isle of Man became the first club from that island to reach the 1st Round of the FA Vase since Douglas High School Old Boys achieved the feat back in 1990.
Coventry Sphinx ended up as the overall top-scorers in the competition netting 22 times in all with Callum Stewart contributing nine of them.
Raynes Park Vale equalled their biggest ever FA Vase margin of victories three times during their campaign with 4-0 wins over Welling Town and Crawley Down Gatwick and a 6-2 victory against Blackfield and Langley.
Carlisle City had their best run in the Vase for 42 years by reaching the 2nd Round but this was only their 8th campaign since then. Brockenhurst surpassed this by equalling their best Vase run to the 5th Round, achieved just once before in the very first competition in 1974/75 despite participating in all 47 campaigns since then.
Overall 92 clubs equalled or set their best FA Vase runs this season including the two clubs that have reached the Final, Littlehampton Town and Newport Pagnell Town.
Littlehampton Town are the first club from the Southern Combination League / Sussex League to reach the Final and did so after starting in the 1st Round and after benefitting from an opponent being disqualified for fielding an ineligible player.
Newport Pagnell Town began their campaign in the 2nd Qualifying Round and have won through eight ties to reach the Final.
It is the seventh successive season that both clubs are appearing in the Final for the first time, and keeps up the tradition of at least one club being a first-time finalist in all 48 FA Vase Finals to date.