Battle of Bakers Park: Barton fought out a 2-2 draw at Newton Rovers earlier in the season. (c)MiraclePR.com
Newton Rovers manager Steve Down will bring 12 bottles of champagne with him to tonight’s Les Bishop cup final at Coach Road (7.15 KO). They are the same bottles he brought to last year’s final when Rovers lost to Broadmeadow and he is determined not to have to take them back home again. But their in-form opponents Barton Athletic have good reason to be bullish about their chances so the game should be a competitive one.
“I paid £4.95 for the champagne and no one touched it so it’s now vintage,” Down quipped. “I’ve still got it in the shed from last year. After the final I took them into the dressing room and said, ‘go on, have a drink, you did well to get here,’ but not one person opened them, that’s how disappointed they were.
“We beat good teams on the way to the final, teams like Watcombe who were top of the league, but we let ourselves down in the final.
“We’re looking forward to it and hoping to make amends. We drew 2-2 at our place and lost 1-0 in the last minute down there so it should be close. Our only injury doubt is Sirin Guloglu. He dislocated his shoulder a few weeks ago and though he’s played since he doesn’t look right. It’s a confidence thing.”
Barton Athletic will be a tough test though as they are on an excellent run of form. “We go into the cup final full of confidence on the back of 15 wins on the bounce,” said player-manager John Fleet. “We have beaten the other top teams in league to get here so fear nobody.”
One of their victims was highly-fancied Ashburton Reserves who were sent out by a Lee Henriques wonder goal in the semi-final. But Fleet is not underestimating the challenge posed by Rovers.
“Newton Rovers have always been tough opposition for us and I expect nothing else in the final,” he said. “We will be prepared and are looking forward to a good game.
“Our success has been built on our strong defence which has conceded the fewest goals in the league. Along with that we have match winners all over the pitch and a forward combination of Tye Hawken and Anthony Jones that teams have struggled to deal with this season.
“This along with our great team spirit within not just the first team but whole club will hopefully be enough to lift the cup.”
Road to the final:
Barton Ath: R1) A v Kingsbridge & Kellaton (5-2), QF) A v Newton 66 Res (4-0), SF) A v Ashburton Res (1-0)
Newton Rov: R1) Bye, QF) A v Broadhempston (3-2), SF) H v Torquay Town (3-2)