Boldon look to end 27-year wait with cup final victory
Boldon CA hope to end 27 years of hurt tonight when they take on Gateshead Leam Rangers in the Shipowners' Charity Cup Final (7pm).
The Villa side will start as favourites given they have home advantage and disposed of quadruple-chasing Stockton Town in the semi-final.
Leam Rangers, on the other hand, scraped into the final after Redcar Athletic were expelled from the competition for playing an ineligible player.
Redcar had beaten the Gateshead side in the semi-final, but Leam were reinstated after the offence came to light.
It should set up a good game between two sides who finished in mid-table in the Wearside League this season.
Boldon will end their first campaign under Paul Mossa in either 10th or 11th position, a pleasing return for the manager who joined from Horsley Hill in the summer, bringing a number of young players with him.
And they have fared well against Leam this season already. The two teams have met three times this season, with Boldon winning twice, 3-0 and 4-1, while the two teams shared a 3-3 draw in their most recent clash.
Despite those results, though, Mossa says his players must show their rivals the utmost respect.
He said: “We will go into the game full of confidence on the back of our superb semi-final win over Stockton Town.
“However, we will show Leam Rangers the utmost respect.
“We have had a great season in the Wearside League and winning the final would be fantastic.
“I hope we have a good crowd at the Villa to help cheer us on.”
The Boldon boss has virtually a full squad to choose from for the game, though striker Dominic Mossa (Achilles) and midfielder Shaun Graham (ankle) face late fitness tests.
He will be looking for the solid centre-half duo of Aaron Burn and Jonny Gage to continue their good form in defence, while at the other end, top goalscorer Adam Bell will be tasked with getting the goals that will bring the trophy back to Boldon for the first time since 1989.