Clitheroe to cause cup upset?

Skipper David Lynch (right) battles for possession in the LFA Challenge Trophy semi-final against Atherton Collieroes at Leyland as Clitheroe earned a trip to the Macron Stadium
Skipper David Lynch (right) battles for possession in the LFA Challenge Trophy semi-final against Atherton Collieroes at Leyland as Clitheroe earned a trip to the Macron Stadium

After celebrating the birth of son Dexter, Blues boss Simon Garner is hoping to prolong the joy and jubilation by winning the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy.

The 32-year-old midfielder, who featured in the final of the competition five years ago, believes this is the biggest fixture for the club since his affiliation at Shawbridge started.

In the 1995/96 term, under the joint stewardship of Dennis Underwood and Gary Butcher, the Blues lost 3-0 in the FA Vase against Brigg Town at Wembley Stadium.

But Monday night, under the lights of the Macron Stadium against Chorley, will be Clitheroe’s biggest date since then according to Garner.

Having lost 4-0 to Southport on his last visit to Horwich, under Peter Smith’s reign, he said: “It’s a massive game for us. The Vase final at Wembley was obviously huge but this is definitely the biggest game since I’ve been involved at the club. It would be great to win it this time after losing the last time I was there.

“To play at a stadium like that which was made for the Premier League is incredible. It’s brilliant, everybody is buzzing but we’ve got to make sure we play the way we have been doing. We’re really looking forward to it and the atmosphere should be great.”

He added: “I was going to watch Chorley with my assitant Ryan Parr but Dexter was born at 7-07 p.m. He still went to see them play Leamington. Everyone is looking forward to it.

“We’ve got to get on with the league in-between but in the back of our minds we know how big this game is for the club. It’s a massive achievement just to get to the final but winning it would be the icing on the cake.”

Garner has goalkeeper Peter Collinge, Laquan Esdaille and Jay Hart cup tied for the final, but he’s still confident of upsetting the odds.

There’s 50 teams separating the two sides in the pyramid but, as Garner alluded to, there was a bigger gulf when Bradford City beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup.

“They’ve done superb,” he said. “They’ve come from where we are and they’ve kept on climbing. They are doing well at that level and are pushing for a play-off place.

“Chorley is a massive club and it’s a massive task for us to win. I’ve played with most of their players in the past and it’s just 11 versus 11 at the end of the day. There’s been bigger upsets in football than Clitheroe beating Chorley. There’s no reason why we can’t do it.”