GARFORTH TOWN’S association with the West Riding County Cup has been a pretty enduring one in recent years.
The Miners are seeking their fifth victory in the competition since 1998 in this evening’s clash with Bradford Park Avenue at Valley Parade – with supporters mindful of a delicious spot of recent history.
It came in 2009 when Garforth beat Avenue 5-4 on penalties after their final ended 1-1.
The following year, they backed up with a dramatic triumph over plucky minnows Barnoldswick Town, having also lifted the trophy in 2000 and 1998.
You have to go back to 1991 for Avenue’s last success, while final defeats have arrived in 2012, 2009 and 2008.
Past finals may not paint a rosy picture, but John Deacey’s side will be strong favourites tonight, with Nicholas not reading too much into the history.
The Miners boss said: “We have got to the final four times before and won it four times and we beat them in 2009.
“But I don’t like to look into history too much and who has done what. This is a different squad we have got now.
“We will go into the game with a game plan and hopefully it might work on the night.
“I think we have sacrificed our league form a bit for a good run in the cup and to get in the final is going to be a privilege leading them out.
“The league won’t also be on their (Avenue’s) minds now and they will be saying, pretty much like us, that if they can finish mid-table and say we have won a trophy at the end of the season, it will be a good season.”
Garforth showed giant-killing spirit to down Harrogate Town 2-0 in the semi-finals, thanks to second-half goals from Mark Simpson and Tewanda Rupere.
That followed a thrilling 3-2 win in the previous round over Silsden – courtesy of strikes from Sinmi Oyebanji (2) and Luke Mangham – and victories over Armthorpe Welfare and Knaresborough Town.
For Nicholas, who took over the Miners in July 2013, it would represent the pinnacle of his career if his side can triumph over Avenue and despite their underdog status, he believes that if they play to their potential, they have every chance of pulling off a shock.
He added: “It is fantastic to be in the final and we just hope we can do the club proud.
“I believe in the squad and think it is good enough and we just have to go out and prove it as we did against Harrogate Town.
“Hopefully, we can do the same on the night.
“When we drew Harrogate in the semis, I was fairly confident, even though their budget is far better than ours.
“To beat a team like Harrogate was one of my best moments in football.
“But from the start of the season, I have always said I believe in my players and that on our day, we can beat anyone.
“The Silsden game was a bit special when we beat them at home after losing to them. We played really well and I started to think then that maybe we had a chance of getting to the final.
“We have young lads who are hunger and full of appetite and you never know if we go there and give a good account of ourselves.
“We have plenty of support and it should hopefully be a good night.”
Kick-off tonight is at 7.45pm.