IT’S been more than a month since Liam Flanaghan’s stoppage time goal prevented Badshot Lea from crashing out of this season’s FA Cup at the first hurdle.
Flanaghan’s late goal salvaged a 2-2 draw against Ascot United in the extra preliminary round back on August 10, and Lea went on to win the replay.
Now the club who moved into their shiny new Westfield Lane ground in Wrecclesham, near Farnham, in the summer stand on the cusp of a £20,000-plus windfall.
The battling Baggies, who ply their trade in step five of the non-league pyramid, are already guaranteed £11,890 in prize money alone for their heroic run to the second qualifying round – and they can virtually double that figure with victory over step three side Hayes & Yeading on September 21.
But it’s not all about the cash for Lea chairman Mark Broad, who said: “As much as the money is there, and we can’t not talk about the money, for me it is all about getting the name of Badshot Lea promoted, getting the brand promoted, particularly in the local community.”
Battling through three rounds and four ties, culminating in Saturday’s pulsating 3-1 win at step four South Park, will certainly help to achieve that.
“That can only be positive for the club, and regardless of what happens on September 21 when we face Hayes & Yeading, I think what we have done so far in the FA Cup in particular is only going to enhance the club and everything going forward. These are exciting times,” said Broad.
“For a step five side to still be in the FA Cup once the Premier League starts is a real bonus.
“You look through your Non-League Paper and you start to visualise teams that you would like to draw, games that you would like to have and there’s two schools of thought – one where you look at it and say you want a winnable game. Nothing’s guaranteed in football, of course, but if you can it would be good to get a home fixture against a side at the level that you are at, or lower, and there are still a number of them left in, including two others from our league.
“If you don’t get that you still want a home tie, which realistically means you are probably not going to get through, but you end up getting quite a big crowd.”
Hayes & Yeading currently play alongside Farnborough and Hartley Wintney in the BetVictor Premier Division South, having won the Isthmian League South Central title last season.
“We’ve got a home tie and that’s fantastic,” said Broad, “and we haven’t got to book a coach to go to Truro, which potentially could have happened.
“Hayes have just been promoted, they are up to step three, and they are in Farnborough and Hartley Wintney’s league. They’ve had an okayish start but so have we.
“We’ll do our promoting of the game and try to get as many people as we can through the gate.”
Lea’s fairytale run to the second qualifying round of the world’s oldest knockout cup competition, coupled with reaching the second qualifying round of the FA Vase, means the Baggies will be out of league action for a month before they take on Banstead Athletic in the Premier Division of the Combined Counties League.
But Broad wouldn’t swap it.
“Not at all. We proudly take our position in the FA Cup and during our groundshare years we have had some fantastic adventures.”
And those adventures show no signs of stopping just yet.