Helston Athletic manager Steve Massey has called his side’s upcoming Les Phillips Cup semi-final the biggest match in team history.
The Blues travel to Somerset to take on Bridgwater United in the draw which will see the winner face Cadbury Heath in Wells in the final on Saturday May 14.
Helston haven’t beaten Bridgwater in two tight games this season. Only one goal was scored in the 180 minutes of football played in the game this campaign. It was a 1-0 win for Bridgwater in January where Jack Taylor’s eighth minute stole the day‘s points, the other game ending a scoreless encounter.
Asked if he thought this match would be another hard fought affair, Steve Massey said: “Absolutely I expect there will be only one goal because after 90 minutes he’ll go straight to the penalty shootout It might even go so close, I really expect it, it might be as close as decided on a mistake, a free kick.
“They always say where you end up at the end of the season is where you deserve to be. I think we were a bit unlucky on that, we had a lot of draws.
“There are only the top three who have lost fewer games than us, but we have drawn way too many. That’s our problem, certainly since December, it’s our inability to score goals.”
Helston have not had an easy run in the competition so far and beat fellow Cornish sides Millbrook and Mousehole before beating Tavistock and then Exmouth in the quarter-finals.
The bottom three have finished in the top spots of the standings this season, showing just how impressive Athletic’s run has been. Remarking on the race, Massey said: “If someone was really honest, they would look at our race if we got to the final and think, ‘Fair play! They played four of the top five on the way to the final.’
“We did it the hard way, we knew who we were going to play against every time we headed for a tie.”
Athletic were in the top two just before Christmas with just one defeat at that time. However, a winter slump that saw them winless in six dealt a blow to their first two hopes.
The Kellaway Park side have since failed to find the flying form of their early season days to eventually finish ninth in the table.
A cup win would add money to what has been a rollercoaster campaign in their first season at tier five: “It’s hugely important.” Massey started. “I don’t want to settle down and we lose on penalties or something like that, but we have our goals, our plans and our ambitions and we’re already moving forward with those for next season and beyond. .
“There’s no such thing, that’s what I told the players, and I’ll stress that again tomorrow.
“It doesn’t matter who the opponent is, there are 40 teams entering the competition and there are three left. None of those teams or players who are playing in the competition would say ‘no, I don’t want the chance to play. in the final”, none of them would refuse that. We have this opportunity, we have this chance to go to the final.
“I had the privilege of going to the semi-finals and finals with Piran Films. I remember saying ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could bring our Helston team here?’ The atmosphere is great, there’s silverware at the end.”
Massey has seen other teams claim cup glory in recent times. Helston’s women’s side were recently crowned Cornwall Women’s Cup winners with a 4-0 win over Saltash United, and Helston’s men’s third side also sealed the Combination League and Cup double, which has been a source of excitement Massey to lift this trophy even more: “We have just seen our third team do the league and cup double. It was the first time they did that.
“It was the first time the ladies had won the Cornwall Women’s Cup and I was watching with envy. The chairman once told me ‘no pressure Steve, everyone has won trophies now!’
“That endorsement is ringing in my ears and I know how to talk to the boys this morning, how important it is. It’s the biggest game in Helston’s history, and then I want another one in a fortnight.”
The game kicks off at 3pm at Fairfax Park, if the game is equal at full time the match will be decided by a penalty shootout.