FA Sunday Cup: Regular favourites are relishing underdog tag

Chapeltown Fforde Grene pictured with the Leeds Sunday League Barrass Trophy.
Chapeltown Fforde Grene pictured with the Leeds Sunday League Barrass Trophy.
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boss dAVE Harding hopes it’s Chapeltown Fforde Grene’s turn to spring a surprise in this weekend’s FA Sunday Cup last 16 tie at four-time winners Hetton Lyons Cricket Club (kick-off 1pm at Spennymoor Town).

Leeds Combination League champions Fforde suffered their first defeat of the season a week last Sunday when Castleford Sunday League outfit Ferrybridge Progressive dumped them out of the West Riding County FA Sunday Cup.

But a Chapeltown side that are favourites almost every week they play will be definite underdogs on Sunday at a team who are the most successful side in FA Sunday Cup history.

North-east outfit Hetton Lyons have won the competition four times and look well placed to land their fifth triumph with Liverpool powerhouses Oyster Martyrs and last year’s winners Humbledon Plains Farm already out.

But Harding hopes Fforde can thrive in the rare role as underdogs in a game originally set to take place last weekend at Spennymoor Town FC.

Hetton Lyons and Chapeltown will try again this Sunday and due to the competition’s odd rules the tie will be switched to hand Fforde home advantage should the weather again claim this weekend’s second attempt.

But Harding is refusing to rely on the elements, insisting his scorned side are more than capable of taming the Lyons even in their own back yard.

“If it’s bad weather and it’s off again then they reverse the fixture and we can beat anybody at home,” said Harding.

“But I’m not fussed either way and while it will be a hard game for us it will be a hard game for them as well.

“Make no bones about it, we are going there to win the game and we’ve got players where we don’t fear anybody. We’re like HT Sports and Halton Moor and we can beat anybody on our day.

“We were the favourites against Ferrybridge but we will be the underdogs this weekend. It’s a role reversal and we all know that shocks happen.

Fforde already have experience of playing at Spennymoor and Sunday’s tie will be a repeat of a clash in the competition five years ago that Hetton Lyons won 2-1 before going on to taste national glory.

Harding revealed: “We have been in four semi-finals and four times we have lost to the winners. We’re hoping that this year it’s our turn.”

Sunday’s clash is also Fforde’s third consecutive away trip in this year’s competition after away wins in Merseyside against Mayfair and Alder.

This time Fforde are travelling to the opposite side of the country – backed by a faithful support and all essential sat nav.

Harding laughed: “We always have a 52 seater and we’ll fill it with 20 players and staff and the rest of them supporters. But after the last two rounds we might find that we set off and realise that we are halfway to Liverpool. We want the Fog On The Tyne instead!”

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