CHAPELTOWN Fforde Grene are two wins from being declared national champions – and boss Dave Harding thinks Fforde’s name is destined to be engraved on the 2015 FA Sunday Cup.
Fforde booked their place in next month’s semi-finals with Sunday’s 2-1 success against Merseyside men Allerton, cheered on by a travelling Leeds contingent of over 100 fans at Liverpool Soccer Centre.
Yet another Merseyside team await in the semi-finals with Fforde set to take on Campfield at a ‘neutral’ venue yet to be decided, but it is Chapeltown’s win in the last 16 that has Harding believing 2015 is finally his side’s year.
Grene have twice been beaten semi-finalists in the competition but signalled their turn was near when shocking five-time winners Hetton Lyons Cricket Club 7-3 after extra-time in their own back yard.
Fforde had amazingly been 3-0 down and Harding hopes that for the footballing gods, a first national triumph for Chapeltown is written in the stars.
“I said before that I don’t really pay heed to it until we get to the last 16,” said Harding.
“But the last-16 game was against Hetton Lyons and that comeback has convinced me that our name must be written on it. No-one else is going to do that to them and I was reading on their web page that it’s the first time in 12 years they haven’t got to the last eight. It’s some feat.
“Campfield are from the same league as Mayfair who we beat in an earlier round – Mayfield are fourth in that league and Campfield are third. I always say we will beat anyone on our day.”
Compared to the epic nature of their last 16 victory, Sunday’s success against Allerton was straight-forward with Fforde 2-0 up at half-time through Dan Sheriffe and Joel Hughes.
Allerton had also been reduced to 10 men after a player lashed out but the hosts set up a frantic finale by making it 2-1 from a corner with Chapeltown then needing all hands on deck to make the last four.
Harding was particularly keen to praise his assistant, 28-year-old nephew Adrian, who was formerly on the books at Leeds. Harding beamed: “He’s loving it and I want him to get a mention because he’s my right-hand man.”
Fforde must now await news of where the FA decide to stage their March 15 semi-final with both Marine and Guiseley mooted as possible venues. Ironically, Harding says another trip to Merseyside might suit his men even better.
“We don’t even call Liverpool away now, it’s like a home,” said the Grene boss. “And actually we have got a 100 per cent record in Liverpool so why break it?”