Battle target national final

Action from Battle Baptists' win over FC Cornerstone in the last 16 of the National Christian Cup during January
Action from Battle Baptists' win over FC Cornerstone in the last 16 of the National Christian Cup during January

Battle Baptists are 90 minutes away from reaching the final of a national football competition for the second year running.

Last season’s National Christian Trophy runners-up are away to Liverpool-based Bethel in the semi-finals of the National Christian Cup tomorrow (Saturday).

Battle manager Gary Walsh said: “It’s just wonderful because you don’t know what you’re in for. It’s a wild adventure. For some of these guys it’s like a day in the life of a professional footballer. We’re going to try and conduct ourselves in a way a professional club would, and see what comes of it.

“To reach a second final in two seasons would just be unbelievable. It’s a measure of our club where we are at the moment. The club itself is growing more and more. Players keep being attracted to us and we just seem to be going from success to success.”

Walsh admits he knows little about a Bethel side which edged out Kirkby Christian Fellowship (Liverpool) 1-0 in the quarter-finals having previously seen off Morley BSC (Leeds) 8-1 and Grassendale St Marys (Liverpool) 5-2.

“In the National Christian Cup you just never know what you’re going to get,” continued Walsh. “It’s not particularly helpful I don’t think to concentrate too much on the opposition.

“We’re playing really well at the moment. The last two games we’ve had some really good form. My biggest concern, if there is a concern, is we’re not taking enough of the chances we’re creating.”

Although Battle face a trip of more than 280 miles to Merseyside, the ADA East Sussex Football League Division One high-flyers expect to be at full strength.

“Everyone’s fit, healthy and raring to go,” Walsh went on. “I have my strongest squad available and the mood’s really high. There’s a relaxed confidence because we’ve been there before.

“In my life I’ve had a lot of big matches, but for some of these guys it’s a massive game and they’re all looking forward to it. We will take this trip as a cup final and try to win it.”

Battle will stay overnight tonight in Crewe and in central Liverpool tomorrow night before making the long journey back to 1066 Country on Sunday.

“It’s going to be fantastic,” Walsh added. “It’s costing a lot of money to take the team up there, but we don’t want the players to incur loads of charges. The church have given us a donation and the football club is sticking a lot into it.”

Battle have achieved 4-2 wins over Community Solutions Burnley and FC Cornerstone (Stevenage) in the last two rounds following an opening 3-1 success against St Thomas More ARYPT (Coventry). The final is likely to be held at a Football League ground.