Skipper Dugdale wants Horsham YMCA to write in FA Vase record books

Horsham YMCA captain Ash Dugdale wants his side to write themselves in the Sussex record books - with the ultimate dream of walking out at Wembley.

The Gorings Mead outfit host Western League Premier Division Buckland Athletic in the third round of the FA Vase on Saturday.

YM are bidding to first match their own record in the competition with a fourth-round appearance - something they achieved in 1999 when they were knocked out by AFC Totton.

To do that they must progress into the last 32 from the battle of the Bucks - as Peter Buckland’s side takes on his namesakes from Devon.

Dugdale, 28, who is skippering the club for the fifth season, admitted the Vase is a special competition for players at this level.

He said: “I think for most of the lads it’s the furthest they have been in the competition. A couple have been a little further with previous clubs, but for most this is the furthest.

“We’ll take it one game at a time, but obviously the end game is Wembley. No-one from Sussex has ever made the final. Eastbourne United made the semi-final a couple of years ago, so we’d like to be able to match that and put ourselves in the record books in Sussex. You never know, sometimes it is down to a stroke of luck on the day as well as playing well, and then you are not far from playing at Wembley.

“You watch the FA Cup and for teams in that the end goal is Wembley. We are obviously in that as well, but this is a lot more achievable - it’s 20-odd ties to get there in the FA Cup.

“The Vase is different just because you are playing somebody different. We are always playing the same teams across and similar sides get promoted and relegated each year.

“This is just a bit different. While we are at home, you also have the chance of a nice away day again if we get through and we are optimistic.

“We have done a bit of homework and are really expecting them to be a big physical side. Personally, when I was at university, I played a few sides down that way, they always put a foot in and they were fast-paced games.”

YM go into Saturday having ended a two-game losing run on Tuesday night with a creditable 1-1 draw at Eastbourne United.

Dugdale added: “It was a good performance on Tuesday night after the previous two results which were very unlike ourselves. We did not do ourselves justice in them or keep the ball well, so it was good to get it out of our system before Saturday - it was needed.

Buckland sit fourth in the league. They hit back from a goal down to win 3-1 against ten-man second-bottom side Bridport on Saturday.

YM boss Buckland said: “It’s the big one for us. We are going to have a little get together Thursday night more of an in-depth talk and discussion than training.

“It’ll just be to prepare as well as we can. We sent Julian Miller (coach) down to Devon on Saturday to watch them and he has done a dossier on them.

“We can’t shout from the mountain tops about the form we are in at the moment, but he said if we play to our capabilities and the levels we can, we should progress.”

After a number of injury problems in the last week, YM expect to be only two or three players off full strength. It’s hoped that both striker Phil Johnson and centre-half Tom Gilbert will return.

Chesworth Rovers under-sevens will be match day mascots for the game Kick-off at Gorings Mead is 3pm.

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