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South Park next stop on road to Wembley for Diss

PUBLISHED: 14:46 22 November 2011

Norfolk’s only survivors in the FA Vase, Diss Town, have been given a potentially tough away tie in the third round after being drawn against Surrey-based South Park.

The Tangerines, who won the FA Vase at the old Wembley in 1994, kept alive their dream of emulating Ridgeons League rivals Wroxham’s 2010 appearance at the new one when they beat Buckingham Town on Saturday with a late goal from Stuart Garner.

Their next opponents South Park, who beat Fawley 3-0 in the second round, are currently in eighth place in the Combined Counties Premier League having been promoted last season.

South Park were formed in 1897 but for most of their history were overshadowed by near-neighbours Reigate Town.

Ten years ago Town moved in to share their Whitehall Lane home, prompting a change of name to South Park & Reigate Town FC which lasted just two years.

Park only entered the Vase for the first time in 2008 and played their first FA Cup tie in 2010 – covered by ITV as the start of that season’s ‘Road to Wembley’ coverage.

Wisbech Town were also drawn away, to Witham Town.

But Fenmen boss Steve Appleby believes all the pressure will be on Witham in front of their own fans, adding: “It would have been nice for the club and the supporters to have been drawn at home but it doesn’t bother me that we’re away. If anything I think being away can give you an advantage because it takes the pressure off you.

“You’re expected to win at home but when you’re away you can go and focus on doing a job.”

Witham, who count former Norwich City striker Cody McDonald and X- Factor runner-up Olly Murs among their alumni, also operate at Step 5 of the non league pyramid in the Essex Senior League, having been relegated from Ryman Division One North in the 2008/09 season.

And Appleby, whose side have now won their last nine games to establish themselves as championship challengers in the Ridgeons Premier League is confident the club’s supporters will be making plenty of noise during the tie, which will take place on Saturday, December 3.

“We did need them and I’ve always loved it when I was a player here, or as manager now, because the fans are never shy in supporting us,” he added.

“Wisbech is a big club and not too many teams at this standard get the level of support we do. We can always hear our fans and it’s nice to give them something to shout about.

“A lot of them might be even happier because Lynn are out but I’m only interested in what happens at Wisbech Town – it matters little to me whether Lynn are in the competition or not.”

Third round winners will pocket £1,500 and a place in the competition’s last 32, keeping alive their dream of playing in a Wembley final next year.

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