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FA Trophy and FA Vase restarts for eight Suffolk clubs including post midweek lockdown derby between Needham Market and Leiston




The Football Association (FA) has handed eight Suffolk sides an early post lockdown restart in their prestigious national competitions as the governing body looks to catch up with the postponed FA Trophy and FA Vase fixtures.

The First Round Proper of the Buildbase FA Trophy, which was originally scheduled for last Saturday, will now have a midweek restart on Tuesday, December 8.

It means Pitching In Southern League Premier Central sides Leiston, Lowestoft Town and Needham Market, who were not required to resume divisional matches until December 12, though they were given permission to arrange earlier games if they wished, will have a guaranteed early restart.

Needham Market and Leiston are set to clash at Bloomfields in the Buildbase FA Trophy on Tuesday, December 8 (7.45pm)Picture: Ben Pooley
Needham Market and Leiston are set to clash at Bloomfields in the Buildbase FA Trophy on Tuesday, December 8 (7.45pm)Picture: Ben Pooley

One of the standout ties of the round is at Bloomfields (7.45pm) where Kevin Horlock's Needham Market – unbeaten in the league so far to sit in second – will host Darren Eadie and Chris Wigger's Leiston – who are second from bottom in the league but having had a good FA Cup run.

With no replays in this season's competition, club history will be made for one team on the night with neither having ever made it into the Wembley-ending competition's second round proper (last 104 teams).

Elsewhere, Lowestoft Town will host equivalent level Cheshunt while Pitching In Isthmian League North Division side Felixstowe & Walton United will look to knock out another higher-league side when they go to Surrey-based Leatherhead (both 7.45pm). Felixstowe's league were requiring them to restart from December 19, though clubs are able to arrange matches before that date, if they are their opponents agree to it.

The FA Trophy and FA Vase competition resumption dates have forced clubs into an early restart from the month-long non-elite football suspension Picture: Ady Kerry
The FA Trophy and FA Vase competition resumption dates have forced clubs into an early restart from the month-long non-elite football suspension Picture: Ady Kerry

The Buildbase FA Vase will restart on Saturday, December 5 (3pm), with two rounds running simultaneously; 12 outstanding first round proper ties and the first wave of second round proper matches not involving teams from the former.

In the second round proper, it will see four Suffolk sides in action bidding for a place in the last 64 of the competition.

Mildenhall Town host Leighton Town looking to get revenge for their FA Cup defeat while Walsham-le-Willows could make club history by winning through at west London-based North Greenford United.

Stowmarket Town will play their first game in this season's competition, having enjoyed a club record run to the last 16 last season, at home to Eynesbury Rovers, while Woodbridge Town travel to Wellingborough Town.

With the Thurlow Nunn League having already given clubs permission to arrange divisional fixtures for that date if clubs wanted an early restart, it means those fixtures involving the sides still left in the Vase have now had to be moved back in the calendar.

For instance, it leaves Haverhill Rovers, who were due to host Stowmarket Town on December 5, now hosting Whitton United on that day with their original restart fixture now appearing as a midweek game on February 23 (7.45pm).

Should the Suffolk sides get through in the FA Vase they would be due to play third round proper ties on Saturday, December 19, which would again take priority over any current league fixture for that date.

* All of the above is pending the required government approval being granted for non-elite sport to resume and crowds to be allowed to return to their games.

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