‘Tis a tough ask, but we can always hope… Tavi look to make history again by being in the hat on Monday

TAVISTOCK manager Stuart Henderson says it would be a huge shock if the Lambs were to win their FA Trophy second round clash with Hungerford Town on Saturday to be in the hat for Monday’s draw. 

Hungerford are two leagues above Tavi and play in the National South and given the rise of the Lambs under Henderson’s management, this is arguably the biggest game that has ever been played at Langsford Park. Certainly, in terms of opposition, if not the occasion.  

The hope is that a big crowd will gather to cheer on Tavi and there is no denying there is plenty of excitement at Langsford Park ahead of the game.  

“It’s the first time we have been in the competition, and we are the lowest ranked side left in it” Henderson said. “It’s massive. We are under no illusions, they are a good side and I have spoken to a couple of managers from their league, and both have said they are in a false position, but even the position they are in is a couple of leagues higher than us.”

“It will be a difficult game, but you never know in a Cup game. It’s that old cliché that anything can happen, you know? They are similar to us in many ways as they are punching above their weight at that level. They have a manager there who won the FA Trophy at his previous club, I am told he’s a nice bloke, and I am looking forward to meeting him on Saturday.”  

Tavi have had a nomadic run in the competition so far which started against Kidlington. After the initial game was postponed, Tavi were forced to travel at short-notice to the Oxfordshire-based side but their efforts were rewarded with a penalty shoot-out win.  

Didcot Town were then beaten 1-0, followed by Melksham 3-1, and then the Lambs overcame Binfield 2-1 – all three games on home soil – before they were then paired with Hungerford.  

“It just goes to show, but it all started with that penalty shoot-out win at Kidlington when we were supposed to play on the Saturday, but it was postponed and then we had to go up there at short notice on the Tuesday with a scratch squad really” Henderson said.  “The lads didn’t have any notice to get time off work and, don’t get me wrong, it was a good team we took, but we were just short on numbers. We should have won in 90 minutes really and the boys that came in on the night performed really well.”

“I think that evening when we won against adversity really got the momentum going in the competition and we have gone on to win three home games since in the competition and look forward to Saturday now.” 

If Tavi can pull off the unthinkable and create a shock, then they will be in a draw on Monday against teams from the National League, who will enter the competition. There is no denying that a lucrative away tie at Wrexham, Notts County or even Torquay United, would be most welcome to the coffers at Langsford Park.  

“Yes, that’s when the big boys come in and all we need is an away game against one of those teams, you get half the gate money and for a club the size of ours, it would secure our financial position for a few years, which would be welcome by all involved at the club” Henderson said.  

“We aren’t expected to win, so I don’t think that is a distraction. I hope the club will benefit anyway from a large gate; people turn out in force to watch us; the weather is kind over the next couple of days; and we get the game on.” 

The Lambs, who saw Wednesday’s clash with Bashley postponed due to the torrential rain that has lashed the region in recent days, are boosted by the return of Warren Daw for the game, but goalkeeper Josh Oak is still unavailable due to a shoulder injury.  Sam Borthwick keeps the shirt and Henderson said: “Sam has done well in the games, and he gets the shirt for Saturday. When Josh is fit, those two will compete against each other for the shirt, but Josh is the only player who’s injured.”