Traco Athletic vs Sandhurst Sports
ADFA Cup Final
Ahead of a match, that butterfly nerve-wracking feeling settling in is never nice. Traco Athletic are set for their Aldershot Divisional FA Cup final at Aldershot Town FC’s EBB Stadium on Thursday night. After a very successful second season under their current guise, they will play host to a very competitive, strong and physical Sandhurst Sports side. And so, it all boils down to this…
With four neutral officials and a pristine surface to play on, Traco will look to make it a fourth successful meeting between the two sides in 2017-18, last coming out on top on the 28 April when they recorded a 5-2 away win to seal the title.
Traco Athletic’s scheduled season finale game at home to Wey Valley Reserves was recorded as a home walkover, due to the visitors not being able to field a team, meaning Traco received the points but not any contribution to their goal difference.
Kyran Fenton, a product of Leatherhead Youth, landed a five-game suspension for dissent and his subsequent second bookable offence back in March will see him serve his third game, this time from the stands.
Despite being registered, management duo Nick Brown and Tom Palmer will not be able to wear the green and white striped jersey on Thursday night. The duo will, therefore, be restricted to dugout duties due to not having played in the competition to date. I am sure they will be gutted.
While Traco occupied fifth in Division One of the Aldershot & District League, Sandhurst finished just two places below them in seventh position in a nine-team league. Last season, Traco slashed their own hopes in a promotion push after a string of draws in the penultimate games of 2016-17. Sandhurst, meanwhile, in 2016-17, held Fleet Spurs ‘A’ to a 0-0 stalemate until half-time before they conceded four in the second half to exit the ADFL Supplementary Cup at Hartley Wintney’s ground.
From 25-yard screamers to those lucky deflected ones to somewhere in between, Traco have notched up a total of 113 goals in all competitions in 2017-18, with 82 of them coming in Division One league action. The team have gelled well and even after winning the league, the gaffer Nick will be fully focussed on the task in hand, but should be very happy with both his side and how the season has panned out.
Should they win in their final game, when they welcome Hindhead on Saturday, Sandhurst would join Traco Athletic in playing Senior Division football next season. In Division One, it is two up and two down for promotion and relegation, respectively.
The last time the two sides met was just over three weeks back when Sandhurst moved the game to be played in Aldershot at Alderwood School’s 3G pitch. After cruising 5-0 in front, Traco had a little wobble towards the end in conceding two but saw out the win and subsequently secured the title. That was courtesy of one a piece from the rapid Ryan Welsh, tall Will Toal and joyful Tom Joy, as well as a brace from George Christie.
Cameron Gittoes kept a clean sheet when Sandhurst arrived at the Traco earlier that month. Sandhurst left disappointed as goals from Kyran Fenton, Joe Chuter and Connor Burley guided the home side to a 3-0 win.
In October 2017, in the group stages of the competition, Traco Athletic were on their travels and recorded a 1-0 win against Sandhurst when Kyran Fenton came on as a substitute to strike and score.
So, will Traco make it four out of four?
Come the final whistle, which side will be gracing those Wembley steps as winners and who will be runners-up? Keep track of the action by keeping your eyes glued to our Twitter page, @TracoAthleticFC and for a selection of photos following this.
Admission is as follows:
Children under 5 go free
Kick-off is 7:45pm at the home of Aldershot Town FC.
The EBB Stadium