A place in the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Vase awaits Hinckley AFC or Berkhamsted when they meet at St John’s Park tomorrow, kick off 3pm.
The last 32 is new territory for Carl Abbott’s side, and they will want to extend their furthest ever run in the competition against The Comrades who, by contrast, will want to reach the last 16 for the second consecutive year.
Last term, Berko were narrowly beaten 2-1 by eventual winners Morpeth Town in the fifth round, with the Northumberland side going on to beat Hereford in the final at Wembley.
Those exploits meant Berkhamsted didn’t enter this year’s competition until the second round, and they comfortably advanced to the last 32 with wins over Hullbridge Sports (5-2) and league rivals St Margaretsbury (3-1).
By contrast, AFC have had to win five games to get here, having entered at the very start of the competition in the first qualifying round. Wins over Holbrook Sports, Greenwood Meadows, Wolves Sporting, Paget Rangers and Quorn have ensured Abbo’s men are still alive and kicking in the Vase.
Berkhamsted currently occupy eighth place in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier – at step five of the non-league pyramid. They endured a rotten December in which they finished 2016 with four straight defeats, but returned to form with a 3-0 success over Sun Sports on Monday, in which an Ashley Lewis brace and one from Steve Hawes gave them victory.
Their main threat in front of goal this season, though, has been Ashton Campbell with 14, while Adam Mead has also reached double figures.
AFC, meanwhile, finished 2016 well with four straight wins, including a League Cup victory over Midland League Premier outfit Boldmere St Michaels, and one that knocked Leicester Road off the top of Division One.
Should the game be level at the end of normal time, 30 minutes of extra time will be played. If the sides still can’t be separated by the end of extra time, the replay will be played at Berkhamsted’s Broadwater ground next Saturday.
The winners of the tie will progress to the last 16 and receive £1,500 from the FA, with the losers getting £500. The draw for the fifth round takes place on Monday.
Under 16s: £2