THE local football season reaches its climax tomorrow night when Chester Nomads take on Upton AA in the final of the Chester & District FA Senior Cup at Christleton FC’s Little Heath home (6.15pm).
The showdown between the West Cheshire League neighbours is a repeat of last year’s showpiece which lower-division Nomads won 3-0 thanks to two goals from man-of-the-match John Cadwallader.
Upton old boy Cadwallader is now player-manager of Nomads and after missing out on promotion to Division One by the narrowest of margins and then losing the Haworth & Gallagher Bowl final, he is desperate to end his debut season in charge with some silverware.
But he admits his former club will be favourites for the eagerly-anticipated clash.
“The lads have been brilliant and so consistent,” said Cadwallader, who spent 13 years at Upton, whom his father used to manage.
“I’ve called on the same 18 players throughout the season and the good news is they’ve committed themselves to the club for next year as well.
“They’re still a little bit disappointed at the way the season ended, but that’s football.
“It’s been a long, long season and Upton will be really up for it after losing last year’s final, so that’s why I would make us underdogs.”
Cadwallader will be without a number of first-team regulars including goalkeeper Kevin Scanlon and top goalscorer Mark Crossan. Defender Martin Gaulton and midfielder Andrew Fitzgibbon are also unavailable.
Upton, in contrast, will be at full strength.
The Cheshire County Sports Club outfit struggled early on in the campaign after a number of players who led them to second spot in Division One the season before departed.
But under the leadership of Dave Wright and Dave Ferneyhough, they recovered to seal their survival in the West Cheshire top flight.
Upton secretary Barry Gaulton said: “Everybody at the club is really looking forward to the final.
“It’s a cup we’ve won a number of times over the years and we’re determined to do it again this year.”