Pope praying his golfing trip will change Sneyd's cup fortunes for the better
SELF-confessed jinx Rob Pope has promised to be out of the country when Sneyd take their place in the final of the Staffs FA Sunday Premier Cup.
The Premier Division title challengers made it through to the last two of the county competition by the skin of their teeth against 10-man Porthill Park.
Porthill were 2-1 up when their keeper Paul Greasley was dismissed for a disputed professional foul 15 minutes from time and Sneyd were awarded a penalty.
However, Darren Chadwick's spot-kick hit the post and Porthill, with centre-half Steve Elks taking over between the sticks, were still leading going into injury-time.
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Nine minutes over the 90 had been played when Ben Clarkson finally found a leveller to force extra-time.
Sneyd edged two goals clear, but then it was Porthill's turn to have a penalty and Marc Holmes could have made it 4-3 only to miss from 12 yards, too.
Sneyd eventually ran out 6-2 winners, with Chadwick completing his hat-trick and more goals coming from Mark Lawton and Delroy Fox.
Now Sneyd chairman Pope, who appointed Vale players Tom Pope and Adam Yates as joint managers last season, is one game away from adding an elusive trophy to an already crowded cabinet.
Sneyd, runners-up to Cobridge Community Centre 12 months ago, will take on Coors League powerhouse Chell Heath Knave in a showdown later this month.
Pope, the dad of Vale goal hero Tom, said: "I've been involved for 20 years and we have won a lot of cups, but this is the one that has got away.
"We've been in the final a few times, but never won it. Maybe it's me, perhaps I'm a bad omen. I'm not here this time, though, as I'll be playing golf in Benidorm. I'll be on the phone, but hundreds of miles away. Maybe that will prove the difference."
Sneyd, who were without captain Tom Winkle on Sunday, are also still fighting on four other fronts; the league, the Divisional Cup, the League Cup and the Sentinel Cup.
Pope added: "Tom and Adam are starting to enjoy it now after being a bit green when they started out last season.
"We are in pole position in the league, but we've got a lot of games to play. When you are in the latter stages of four cups as well you need a bit of luck with injuries."
Porthill, who scored through Holmes and Craig Lovatt, were without manager Jonny Evans for the match.
However, the Wolstanton Marsh-based side remain third with in the Premier with games in hand, and are also still in the running for divisional and league cup glory.
Secretary Pete Gray said: "It would take a mammoth effort to overhaul Baddeley Green and Sneyd in the league, but hopefully we can end the year with some silverware."
Baddeley Green now only trail Sneyd on goal difference in the league after beating Caverswall 3-0 thanks to goals from Joel Stair, Dorryl Proffitt and Rhys Swetnam.
Six Towns United are up to fifth after braces from Josh Walker and Chris Baker saw off Grapes Newchapel 4-0.
In the League Cup third round, Cheadle United Reserves stunned Cheadle United, their own first team, 3-1 when the teams met at Thorley Drive.
Division One Reserves found the net through Matt Woodward (2) and Jamie Tee to send the Premier Division strugglers out.
Division Two promotion chasers Milton Wanderers are also through to round four after two goals from Ashley Colclough helped beat Longton Ashwood 2-0.
Grange Park Rangers were back to winning ways in Division One, beating Chesterton YC 3-0 with goals from Edwin Ellis and Rais Mohammed (2) to climb to the top of the table.
Shamblers have all but clinched the Veterans Division title by moving 16 points clear following a 6-0 thrashing of Travellers Rest.