The FA Vase is a competition that is constantly writing new stories. With so many clubs spread across these lower levels of the English pyramid, the opportunity to appear at Wembley could be described as a huge even playing field. In North Warwickshire, there is a new side re-writing their own history books in the form of Coleshill Town. The Midland League side comfortably beat fellow league opposition Sporting Khalsa by a 2-0 scoreline to progress into the Semi-Finals, and they can begin to dream of a big day out at the National Stadium.
An eighth minute strike from Dean Rathbone and an unfortunate own goal from Bradley Lawley in the latter stages of the first half sealed Coleshill’s progress through to March’s two-legged Semi-Final tie against one of Bromsgove Sporting, Cleethorpes Town or South Shields. Coleshill controlled the majority of the contest, and it was in fact somewhat surprising they did not add to their lead in the second half.
Coleshill can be described as a relatively humble club at Step Five of the Non-League pyramid. They are clearly a club on the up as they lie in second in the Midland League, but with their average crowds hovering around the 100 mark, their FA Vase success is bring some much needed supporter attention into the club. The Quarter-Final gate was recorded as 939 at Pack Meadow, which highlights what an FA Vase run can do for the many small towns and communities that the competition represents. The bumper crowd will now be licking their lips at the prospect of an even more crucial home tie next month. The money generated from the cup run is a bonus of course, but hopefully it can also bolster supporter numbers going forward. Add to that a new 3G pitch at Pack Meadow and you can see the development the club wants to make as a whole.
The home crowd were not disappointed by Coleshill’s display especially when they took an early lead thanks to Rathbone’s clinical finish. A ball down the left flank from Jordan Nadat released Danny Tymon, who in turn delivered a pinpoint cross for Rathbone to guide the ball home past Tom Turner in the Khalsa goal. Rathbone was the hero in the last round with a hat-trick against Crowborough Athletic, and he has now found the net nineteen times this season which indicates why he is one of the most feared players at this level.
The rest of the half was a competitive encounter, but you could tell Coleshill had that extra edge to their play. Reece Leek had made a couple of dangerous runs down the right flank during the half, and it turned out to be the warning sign that Sporting Khalsa failed to neutralise, as helped create Coleshill’s second. He whipped in a tricky cross that dipped into the path of Lawley who could do nothing but divert the ball into his own net. Coleshill now had a two goal advantage going into half time, and you almost knew that was enough for them to see out the clash.
Coleshill should really have added to their tally in the second half where they controlled proceedings overall. Rathbone proved to be a constant thorn in Khalsa’s side as he demonstrated his skillful attributes on several occasions. The glaring opportunity of the half was of Rathbone’s creation as he played a ball across the edge of the six-yard box for Nadat who somehow fired over. Craig Milligan also went close for Coleshill, and Nadat was then foiled in a one-on-one opportunity up against Turner, who kept the scoreline down to a competitive one. David Meese dragged an effort narrowly wide late on for Khalsa, but it clearly wasn’t their day on this occasion.
Coleshill now have the luxury of looking forward to yet another two games that can be classed as the biggest in their history, and shows that the club has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Without the exposure of the FA Vase it may have been some time before myself like many others visited Pack Meadow, but that is the beauty of this competition in creating exposure for clubs like no other. I for one will certainly be back to see how the club progresses. Who knows, many more people may be seeing Coleshill Town under the arch at Wembley come May.
Coleshill: Hathaway, Gonzales, Quaynor, Weale, Fishwick (Race 70), Evans, Leek (Murphy, 90), Milligan, Nadat, Rathbone (Cobourne 90), Tymon.
Goals: Rathbone 8, Lawley (OG) 42.
Sporting Khalsa: Turner, Rogers, Jackson, Lawley, Robinson, Perks, Shearer (Townsend 46), Meese, Bannister (Kasiama 66), Nisbett (Martin 78), Ceesay.
Written by James Hunt