NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: History-making Wisbech St Mary progress in FA Vase

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke. PHOTO: Ian Carter

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke. PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant

Arran Duke says there is a real buzz at Wisbech St Mary after the Saints made FA Vase history on Saturday.

Duke’s men progressed into the second round of the competition for the first time in the club’s history by beating Whitton United 2-1 and the St Mary boss says their progress was well deserved after another top performance.

“I’m delighted with the win and our current run of form,” he said.

“It was a real hard working performance, every player put in a shift. The atmosphere around the group is brilliant at the moment and we hope we can continue this run.”

The Saints took an early lead through Dale Parnell but the hosts were pegged back at half time. Jack Friend notched the decisive goal in the second period from the spot after he was hauled down and Saints’ goalkeeper Adam Wright made two stunning late saves to secure St Mary’s passage into the second round. Whitton finished the game with nine men following two off the ball incidents late on.

“We took an early lead through Dale who has very impressive all game but we went into the break level,” Duke added.

“We came out and battled hard in the second half and I’m delighted for the lads and we go into the hat for the next round.”

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St Mary will face fellow Thurlow Nunn First Division side Norwich CBS in the next round – and the two sides will size one another up at the ABC Meats Stadium on Saturday when they meet in the league (3pm).

The city side are currently sixth in the league standings – five points above the Saints – and were 4-2 victors when the sides met back on October 6. Jack Friend struck twice in that game.