IN-FORM Badshot Lea face their biggest game for seven years on Saturday as they aim to emulate the Class of 2012 when they host Hayes & Yeading in the FA Cup.
A place in the third qualifying round is up for grabs – a feat the club has achieved only once before, by that side seven years ago.
Back then, Lea had a dream run as they beat Mole Valley, Egham Town, Folkestone Invicta and Isthmian Premier side Leiston before gallantly bowing out 3-1 at Chippenham Town.
This time round they have made it through three rounds by seeing off Ascot United 2-1 in a replay, Christchurch 2-1 in Dorset and a richly-deserved 3-1 win at higher-ranked South Park.
Now Southern League Premier Division South side Hayes & Yeading stand in the way of Lea adding an exciting new chapter to the history books.
“The FA Cup is a very special competition,” said chairman Mark Broad, who was instrumental in the club’s move to their new home at Westfield Lane in Wrecclesham in the summer after ten years of groundsharing.
“Teams at our level are never going to win the FA Cup but what you can do is create history, historic moments, memories and legacies, and I believe in this group of players and I think they have the capabilities of creating legacies with the football that we play.
“We don’t play with fear and we will be respectful, which you have to be when you are playing a team from two levels higher, but I believe we’ve got the players for the big stage and the big occasion. Come 4.45pm on Saturday, whether we’re still in the hat or not, I think we’ll certainly have given a good account of ourselves and Hayes & Yeading will know they’ve been in a game.”
Broad cites momentum in a parallel between today’s team and its 2012 version, and he hopes that a decent crowd will help Lea extend their fairtyale cup run.
He said: “Without doubt there is a fantastic togetherness and the management team have got to be applauded for that. We’ve got a good team spirit and you can see that in games that there’s a lot of belief. Momentum creates that belief and that never-say-die attitude has been apparent in a lot of the games.
“I would urge anyone who hasn’t been down to Westfield Lane yet to come and have a look. You will certainly be entertained.”