Fareham equal best-ever FA Vase run with victory at Helston Athletic

Fareham Town boss Pete Stiles hailed the efforts of his players after equalling the club's best-ever run in the FA Vase.

Sunday, 13th December 2020, 1:59 pm
Archie Wilcox was on target as Fareham equalled the club's best-ever FA Vase run. Picture: Keith Woodland

Goals in either half from Charlie Cooper and Archie Wilcox ensured the Reds ran out 2-0 victors over 10-man Helston Athletic in Cornwall to reach the third round.

It was a rare loss for Helston - last season they won 25 of their 26 South West Peninsula Premier West games, losing just once and scoring 100 goals.

And this season they have suffered just one league defeat in 10 matches.

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It's just the third time that Fareham have progressed to the third round after runs to the last 64 in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Stiles conceded the triumph at Helston, who play a level lower in the non-league pyramid, was far from their 'prettiest performance', but that did not bother him.

‘It was a really, really heavy pitch,’ he said.

‘The grass was ridiculously long so playing any pretty football was out of the question. We just had to get the job done which we did.

'I watched us in the warm-up and it was probably one of the worst warm-ups I’d ever seen.

'Our first-half performance wasn’t great but we dug in, did what we had to do and we were worthy winners in the end.

‘It is (a great achievement).

‘I didn’t realise it until it was said the other day (equalling club’s best run in the Vase).

‘They enjoyed it (the players) and let their hair down a bit on the way back but, fair play to them, they deserved it.'

Cooper slotted the visitors ahead after six minutes before Wilcox's header from a corner made sure of the victory on the hour.

Frustrations began to boil over for the hosts as the tie slipped away from them and Oli Brokes was shown a straight red card following a reckless tackle on Ethan Jones.

Stiles is under no illusions of the task Fareham now face if they are to reach the fourth round for the first time.

He believes his team could not have been dealt a more 'difficult draw' than the trip to Western Premier League leaders Plymouth Parkway next weekend.

Parkway are unbeaten in league action in 2020/21, winning 11 of their 13 games.

Stiles added: 'Records are there to be bettered or equalled and we’ve done that, but we’ve got a very difficult task next.

‘Plymouth Parkway are a good side but we’re quite confident we can go there and win.

‘It would be good (making FA Vase history).

‘But I don’t think we could have been given a more difficult draw and to have to go all the way back down there again next weekend - but I suppose it will seem like a relatively short trip compared to Helston.'

Parkway are currently 10 points clear at top of the Western League Premier - the same level of the pyramid as the Wessex Premier.

They have already beaten third-placed Cribbs 5-0, fourth-placed Street 10-2 and fifth-placed Exmouth 2-0.