The stats which underline just how tough Fareham’s FA Vase trip to Plymouth Parkway is ...

Fareham Town this weekend go in search of what would arguably be the best result in the club’s history for many decades.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 1:22 pm
Craig Veal, left, netted twice in Plymouth Parkway's 10-2 drubbing of fellow Western League high-fliers Street. Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images.

The Reds travel to the west country for the second time in eight days bidding to reach the last 32 of the FA Vase for the first time in their history.

Last Saturday they journeyed into deepest Cornwall to beat lower tier Helston 2-0.

This time, their task is far, far harder - a trip to current Western League Premier Division leaders Plymouth Parkway.

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The Devonians are 10 points clear at the top of their table, which is at the same step 5 level on non-league football as the Wessex Premier League.

Parkway have won 11 and drawn two of their 13 games, and just before the November lockdown hammered fourth-placed Street 10-2.

That was despite having a player sent off after 40 minutes!

Parkway’s recent record is incredible - they have won 94 of their last 114 league games, losing just eight times since the start of 2017/18.

That was the season they romped to the South West Peninsula West title, winning 34 of their 38 games and scoring 147 goals.

In their first season at step 5 level, in the Western League, they were runners-up by just two points to Willand Rovers.

Last season, they won 19 of their 23 league games and were second in the table - three points behind Tavistock but with three matches in hand - when 2019/20 was halted by the pandemic.

Had last season been completed, it is quite likely Parkway would be in the Southern League by now.

Main goal threat to Fareham appears to be Ryan Richards.

The striker belted 45 goals at step 6 level - the same as the Wessex Division 1 - for Saltash last season, and has netted 16 times for Parkway this term, including a hat-trick in the hammering of Street.

The Devonians also boast Levi Landricombe, who scored over 110 goals in four Southern League seasons for Tiverton Town including 44 in 2016/17.

Two other strikers, Matt Wright and Craig Veal, started out at Swansea City and Exeter City respectively and both were signed from two divisions higher Taunton Town in the summer.

Wright, Taunton’s skipper in the Southern League Premier South in 2019/20, struck twice in Parkway’s 3-1 second round Vase win on December 5.

That is their only outing since thrashing Street on November 4 due to Western League games having remained suspended following the lifting of lockdown restrictions. Fareham, in contrast, have played three times and had a fourth postponed on Tuesday due to a waterlogged Cams Alders pitch.

One-time Gosport Borough loanee River Allen, who has spent the last two seasons at Truro and Tiverton, is another attacking threat to Fareham’s hopes of pulling off a memorable victory.

Parkway reached the quarter-finals of the Vase last season before losing 2-0 at Hebburn - a round trip of over 800 miles! - in the quarter-finals in front of a crowd of over 1,700.

Hebburn went on to reach the final against Consett, a game that has yet to be played due to the pandemic.