The Tavistock goal threats aiming to shatter US Portsmouth’s FA Vase Wembley dream
US Portsmouth must tame a triple goal threat if they want to extend their record-breaking FA Vase run.
Glenn Turnbull takes his history-makers to west Devon this Saturday for a last 16 tie with Western League Premier Division Tavistock.
The Lambs boast a formidable record in recent years, and have won an astonishing 78.5 per cent of their league games in the last five seasons.
Tavistock were top of their table in 2019/20 before it was null and voided due to the pandemic, though Plymouth Parkway were only three points adrift with three games in hand.
They lay second this season before it was curtailed in February, again due to coronavirus. The only team above them were Parkway, who the winners of this weekend’s tie could meet in the quarter-finals.
USP have consistent scorers in James Franklyn, whose goal against Christchurch in last weekend’s Vase tie against Christchurch was his 17th of 2020/21, to go alongside the 21 he scored last season.
Striker Dec Seiden struck 14 times last term and has nine this season.
Tavistock, though, have three big threats in their squad.
Jack Crago bagged 27 goals in just 28 starts in 2019/20, plus five as a sub, while ex-Plymouth Argyle youngster Josh Grant scored 17 times in 29 appearances.
Liam Prynn, meanwhile, struck 12 goals.
Those three are again prolific in 2020/21 - Crago netting 14 goals in 18 games, Prynn 12 in 18 and Grant 11 in 17.
They are second, third and fourth in the Western League Premier goal charts - a division higher than Wessex League Division 1 USP. Only Parkway’s Ryan Richards - who scored twice in a Vase win against Fareham Town earlier this month - has more (18).
Crago and Prynn were on target when the Lambs dumped Wessex Premier side Lymington out of the Vase in October.
Lymo, who only conceded four goals in 12 league games prior to curtailment, were beaten 2-1 in the New Forest - another indication, if one was needed, as to the task facing USP in west Devon.
Prynn hit a hat-trick in a 6-1 Vase thrashing of Cheddar and was also on target in a 4-0 third round win at Buckland in December.
Another striker, Jordan Annear, scored at Buckland and also grabbed the goal when Tavistock won 1-0 at league rivals Bridgwater last Friday to reach the fifth round for the first time in the club’s history.
With former Plymouth Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton occupying a similar role at Langsford Park, the Devonians are certainly upwardly mobile.
The Lambs won the South West Peninsula League title in 2016/17 and 2018/19 (Grant winning the league’s Golden Boot with 32 goals) before entering the Western League.
There they have won 28 of their 37 Premier games since the start of 2019/20, rattling up 108 goals in the process.
USP’s record is equally as impressive – 27 wins in their last 38 league matches in the same period, scoring 116 goals (albeit at a rung lower on the non-league ladder).
Stuart Henderson’s Lambs welcome USP having won their last eight games in all competitions.
Turnbull’s men can better that, though - the penalty shoot-out victory over Christchurch was their ninth in a row!