Isuzu FA Vase Fifth Round Draw

Mon 16th January 2023 | FA Challenge Vase
By Martin Fallon

The draw has been made for the Fifth Round Proper of the Isuzu FA Vase.

Only four Vase ties were played on Saturday with the bad weather sweeping the country. As a result, despite it being the last 16 stage of the competition, there are still 28 sides involved!

Of these FIVE teams remain from the North West Counties Football League, although AFC Liverpool, Bury AFC and Holker Old Boys still have to navigate their way through their Fourth Round ties. AFC Liverpool travel to Eccleshill United on Saturday whilst Bury AFC and Holker Old Boys will face off on Tuesday night, that tie being played at Darwen FC.

With Congleton Town and West Didsbury & Chorlton already through, it means that we will have a record breaking four team remaining at this stage which would be the best we have ever done. 


The draw was made live this afternoon on TalkSport Radio. Unfortunately the last 16 is again a regionalised draw, with four ties in the North section and four in the South section.

Despite us having four sides in our tie, gladly all our sides did avoid each other in the draw (which is what we like to see!).

AFC Wulfrunians v Congleton Town

Congleton Town will travel to AFC Wulfrunians in the Fifth Round. The Bears have reached this stage in two out of the last three seasons, and for the third time in their history, but they have never progressed past this stage in the past. 

Wulfrunians are based just outside Wolverhampton and play in the Midland Football League. They are currently 10th in the league table. This will be the third time that they have played a NWCFL side and they are unbeaten so far, with a 2-0 win at Alsager Town in 2015 followed by a 3-0 win at home to Brocton earlier this season.

This is the best that Wulfrunians have ever done in the Vase, with the Fourth Round being their previous best back in 2015/16.

Biggleswade United or Coventry Sphinx v West Didsbury & Chorlton

West Didsbury & Chorlton are used to making FA Vase history. This season they have been doing round by round, having never gotten past the First Round Proper before in the Vase. They are of course also the holder of the highest score in FA Vase history after recording a 15-1 win over Dinnington Town back in 2015/16.

They face an away trip in the Fifth Round against Biggleswade United or Coventry Sphinx.

The Sphinx are no strangers to facing NWCFL teams having done so once in the FA Cup in the past and nine times in the FA Vase. Their most recent encounter was this season when they won 3-0 at Eccleshall in the Second Round.

They play in the Premier Division South of the United Counties League, and have a good recent Vase history having reached the last 16 of last seasons competition. Their best thought came in 2007/08 when they reached the Quarter Finals only to be beaten by Kirkham & Wesham. Remember them? They won the competition that season before renaming themselves AFC Flyde!

Biggleswade United have never faced a NWCFL side in the past. They play in the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League and are currently in seventh place in the table. Like West Didsbury & Chorlton they are making history as they go as they have never previously been past the Second Round in the FA Vase.

The Chairman of Biggleswade may be known to many people though. He is the respected football journalist and pundit Guillem Balagué, who has been involved with the football club since 2014 when he became their Director of Football.

Tring Athletic or Walsall Wood v Bury AFC or Holker Old Boys

We are guaranteed one more side in the next round with Bury AFC and Holker Old Boys facing each other on Tuesday night in the Fourth Round, that tie being played at Darwen FC for anybody who wants to go. The winners of that tie will travel to Tring Athletic or Walsall Wood in the Fifth Round.

Tring Athletic play in the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League, the same as Biggleswade. They are currenly in fifth place in the league table. They have a decent FA Vase record in recent years, and their best is reaching the Fifth Round in 2017/18 when they lost to Melksham Town.

Tring is a market town in Hertfordshire about 30 miles from Central London. You pass through Tring on the West Coast Mainline if travelling by rail to London from the North West. They have never faced any of our sides in a competitive match.

Walsall on the other hand certainly have! They are based in Walsall in the West Midlands, and as a result are often paired with our teams. They have faced NWCFL four times in the FA Cup, five times in the FA Vase and twice in the Staffordshire FA Cups.

Walsall Wood are currently top of the Midland League Premier Division and they have only lost three times this season. They reached the Quarter Final of the Vase in 2012/13 after beating Eccleshall, Wigan Robin Park and Runcorn Town en-route. Their best though was knocking on the door of Wembley in 2020/21 only for Warrington Rylands to deny them at the Semi Final stage. Can they go one better this season?

Eccleshill United or AFC Liverpool v Atherstone Town or Hartpury University

Should AFC Liverpool beat Eccleshill United next Saturday, they will have a home tie against either Atherstone Town or Hartpury University in the Fifth Round.

Atherstone Town play in the Midland Football League and they are currently 14th in the Premier Division. They play in Atherstone in North Warwickshire, but they are less than five miles from the Staffordshire border. As a result they are often in the same group as our southerly teams in the FA Competitions and have faced NWCFL sides four times previous in the FA Cup and four times previous in the FA Vase. Their last meeting saw them beat Abbey Hulton United in last season's Vase.

Atherstone is most well known for its tradition of holding an annual Shrove Tuesday Ball Game in the main street of the town, Long Street. The two hour event sees a giant ball launched at 3.00pm and whoever has possession when the final whistle goes at 5.00pm wins! There are few rules, one being that play must be in Long Street and another that participants are not allowed to kill anyone! The game was first played in the year 1199, and has been played every year since apart from 2021 when Covid-19 restrictions were in place!

Back to football, and Hartpury University could await AFC Liverpool. They are an interesting story. Hartpury University, which is a 360-hectare estate located in Hartpury near Gloucester, offer sports related degrees. Think Edge Hill University near Ormskirk. In 2020 they decided to start their own football club aimed at providing students with further opportunities to become professional footballers, and they are in their first season in the National League System in the Hellenic League and their first ever season in the FA Vase.

Their success has been instant. They are currently second in the Division One North of the Hellenic League and are through to the last 16 of the Vase. Could we ever see something from similar from Edge Hill University in the coming years? You never know! Obviously with this being their first season, they have never played anyone from the NWCFL in the past!


Eccleshill United or AFC Liverpool v Atherstone Town or Hartpury University
AFC Wulfrunians v Congleton Town
Tring Athletic or Walsall Wood v Bury AFC or Holker Old Boys
Biggleswade United or Coventry Sphinx v West Didsbury & Chorlton
Newport Pagnell Town or Leighton Town v Jersey Bulls
Clevedon Town or Harefield United v Egham Town or Raynes Park Vale
Bridgwater United or Erith Town v Buckland Athletic or Ascot United

Ties to be played on Saturday 11th February. Winners will pick up £2,250 from the FA Prize Fund, with losers picking up a consolation of £725.

Our Sponsors & Partners

Our Sponsors & Partners