McGavin ready to grasp last Vase chance

STEVE McGavin has one last chance to make up for the frustration of missing out on a FA Vase final appearance.

STEVE McGavin has one last chance to make up for the frustration of missing out on a FA Vase final appearance, writes Elvin King.

McGavin was forced to watch from the sidelines when Sudbury Town drew 1-1 with Tamworth at Wembley Stadium in 1989. He had played in a preliminary round game for Thetford Town and was cup-tied.

Now playing for Bury Town the former Ipswich Town apprentice will be lining up against fellow Ridgeons League Premier Division AFC Sudbury in the fifth round at Kings Marsh Stadium tomorrow.

This is his last season as a player.

Last season McGavin, who played over 300 games as a professional for Colchester United, Birmingham and Wycombe, scored when Bury lost in the Vase quarter-final to eventual winners Didcot.

With a game in hand, Bury are two points behind leaders AFC Sudbury, and tomorrow's all-Suffolk tie has all the makings of a close encounter.

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And with his knack for finding the back of the net at crucial times, 37-year-old McGavin can prove to be the Bury trump card.

He said: “This is definitely my last season playing and if it hadn't been for the quality of youngsters at Bury, I would have quit last year.

“There is so much potential at the club and if I can help them for a few more months I will be happy.”

McGavin can look back on a career that included an FA Trophy winner's medal at Wembley and Conference double with Colchester United in 1992.

He is just as excited about the prospects of more silverware - and a Vase final - in his final campaign.

“With Sudbury, Needham Market, Lowestoft and ourselves heavily involved I am convinced the league title race will go to the final day.

“Tomorrow's game will be a great advert for Suffolk football and there should be a big crowd to see who goes into the last eight of the Vase.”

While AFC Sudbury, who are looking to reach the final for the fourth season, have the benefit of lucrative sponsorship, Bury are gaining success with the help of youngsters from the West Suffolk College Football School.

Bury manager Richard Wilkins said: “As two clubs we are miles apart, especially on the financial side, but this is part and parcel of football.”

Both teams have agreed admission prices at £6 and £3, and should a replay be necessary it will be staged Saturday February 18 at 3pm.

Mildenhall, who beat Didcot in an earlier round, travel to Spartan South Midland Premier League Hillingdon Borough, who have never reached this stage of the Vase.

Striker Stuart Jopling is set to sign for Mildenhall but he is cup-tied having played for Needham in the Vase. Former Long Melford manager Richard Carter is now part of manager Trevor Munns' off the field team.

In 1970/71 Hillingdon lost to Telford 3-2 in the FA Trophy final at Wembley and were previously known as .

An FA protest sub-committee allowed Newmarket Town back in the Vase after Welwyn Garden City were found to have used an ineligible player in their fourth round replay win. The reprieved Jockeys now face Vase favourites Winchester City.

In the Ridgeons League, Needham can make up ground on the leaders with a win over a Soham side that beat them 3-0 last Saturday. Front player Michael Brothers has moved from Needham to Maldon Town.

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