BARNOLDSWICK Town will make history tomorrow when they host AFC Emley of the Baris Northern Counties East League Division One in the FA Vase.
The tie, in the third round of a national competition in which the final is played at Wembley next May, is uncharted territory for Barlick, and while they will be happy with a home draw, they will face opponents who are likely to be backed by a good travelling contingent of supporters, with their base just outside Huddersfield being less than 50 miles from the Silentnight Stadium.
Like Barnoldswick, this is the first time AFC Emley have progressed as far in the competition, and their club website suggests it is arguably the biggest game in the club’s short seven-year history.
Although AFC Emley are a league below Barnoldswick, there will be no room for complacency in the home camp, as the visitors knocked out North West Counties League promotion chasers Congleton Town in the first round of this season’s competition, and in the last round knocked out their fellow NCEL rivals Bottesford Town, who knocked out Colne in an earlier round.
In addition, Emley’s league form coming into the game has been good, and in the past few weeks they have had an impressive 7-0 win over Selby Town and an 8-1 away win at Yorkshire Amateur.
Both victories were inspired in no small way by striker Ashley Flynn, who scored four goals in each game to propel him to the top of the NCEL Division One goalscorers charts.
But Barnoldswick are in good form themselves, and despite struggling with injuries this season, come into the game on the back of a run that has seen them lose just one of their last five games.
However joint manager Ben Hall says that they will not be underestimating their opponents: “We are all looking forward to the game, although it will be an extremely difficult match against a side who are doing well in their league.
“With our game being off on Saturday, we watched them at the weekend in their game against Louth Town, and we know that we are going to have to be at our best to progress.”
The game at the Silentnight Stadium kicks off at 3 p.m.