Cleethorpes Town and Grimsby Borough poised for top Trophy battle
FORM goes out the window when amateur rivals Grimsby Borough and Cleethorpes Town clash in the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy tonight.
That's the view of Owls boss Andy Liddle as the two Baris Northern Counties East League Division One clubs prepare for battle at the Bradley Community Stadium (7.45pm kick-off).
Borough, managed by Nigel Fanthorpe and Steve Newby, are gunning for revenge after Andy Liddle's men triumphed 2-0 in the season's first league derby last month.
The Wilderness Boys have pedigree in the cup after winning the Wilkinson Sword Trophy in style last season, while the Owls, on the back of a Lincolnshire League and Challenge Cup double, have made a flying start to the campaign – they are on a four-game winning streak and lie five places above Borough in third.
Liddle knows, however, that the Wilderness Boys are hungry for a revenge victory after back-to-back defeats on the road – and will be eager to earn a home tie against NCEL Premier Division club Barton Town, who knocked them out of the competition on penalties last season.
"It's a cup game and a home game for both teams," said Liddle. "Form goes out of the window.
"It will be hard against Borough but we are looking forward to it.
"They will cause us more problems than the last game between us, I'm sure, but we will cause them more problems too.
"In a cup game it's just about getting through – it can be a debateable penalty or a deflected goal that decides things.
"This is the only cup we are playing in now so we want to progress – but we'll have to be on our game tonight."
Joint boss Nigel Fanthorpe said: "Cup runs are a great way to keep your season alive.
"The quarter-finals and semi-finals take place around February and March, so it gives you something to look forward to later in the season.
"We hope it's a good game for the supporters – it's good to have two teams in the area battling for something.
"We want to get back on track now we're back at home and it's a nice game to have.
"A win would earn us a tie against Barton and set us up for a home game against Bottesford in the league on Saturday that we need to win."
Borough were missing players for Saturday's 3-0 defeat at league leaders Athersley Recreation that are set to return tonight – top-scorer Andy Taylor and fellow former Mariner Josh Fuller are available, along with Luke Fanthorpe and defender Ricky Forrest.
The Owls have former Borough striker Lee Stephenson in their ranks and he hit a brace in their 6-2 home win against Hallam on Saturday.
Luke Mascall, another former Wilderness Boy, can feature in the cup despite currently serving a suspension in the league.
Recent signing Lawrence Heward, a former Grimsby Town Youth player, is available but Jack Debnam, another new arrival, will miss out as his signing came to close to the cup tie.
Fanthorpe felt a 3-0 defeat was harsh on his team at Athersley.
He said: "There's a way to lose games and we lost in the right way – we didn't cave in and never gave up battling.
"The score didn't tell the full story.
"They had a bit of a soft penalty just before half-time when we were comfortable.
"A cross brushed one of our players' hands a few yards away and the linesman gave it.
"Then we made a mistake just after half-time which put them 2-0 up.
"We created some good chances in the second half but didn't take them – and they scored their third late on.
"It's pleasing that we kept battling – we've come on a lot in that sense."