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Rec look to avoid first trophyless season since 2001 ahead of Wednesday semi-final

By Doug O'Kane, Sports Editor Wednesday 5th March 2014
Action from Athersley Recreation's loss to Basford.

Athersley Recreation will be looking to make the final of the Saturday Senior Cup on Wednesday as they bid to avoid their first trophyless season in 13 campaigns.


The last time Rec failed to win a trophy in Saturday or Sunday football was the 2001-02 season and the time before that was the 1988-89 campaign.


The Penguins – who bounced back from a 4-0 loss at home to Basford United on Saturday with a 2-0 win at Long Eaton on Wednesday night – are having an impressive debut season in the North East Counties Premier, the highest level they have ever reached. After two consecutive promotions they are comfortably in mid-table despite being one of the only sides in the division who do not pay players. But, after pulling out of the Barnsley Sunday League and cups – which regularly brought them as many as four trophies a season – to focus on Saturday football and being knocked out of the League Cup and FA Vase, their only chance of silverware this term is the Sheffield Senior Cup.


They will start as favourites at home to County Senior League leaders Oughtibridge – who play two tiers below them – and will be bidding to make their first final, which is likely to be at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium on May 8.


"It's been a long time since we didn't win a trophy and it would be nice but our priorities have changed as a club," said Athersley manager Pete Goodlad.


"We have moved up to a different standard and we are competing with a lot of teams that pay their players. The atmosphere and grounds and quality of players we play against are so much better. This is what I dreamed of when I set the club up. To finish in the top ten will be a big achievement because people tipped us to go down at the start of the season."