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Bishop's Stortford manager Steve Smith targets promotion to National League South ahead of Isthmian Premier play-off semi-final against Cheshunt



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Steve Smith wants his Bishop’s Stortford players to write their names in the club’s history books by earning promotion back to National League South this week.

The Blues host Cheshunt in the Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division play-off semi-finals tonight (Wednesday), with manager Smith hoping for a 1,000-strong crowd.

And if they triumph over the Ambers they will be at home again on bank holiday Monday against either Enfield Town or Hornchurch in the final.

Bishop's Stortford's fans celebrate the 3-1 home win over Cray Wanderers. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (56261630)
Bishop's Stortford's fans celebrate the 3-1 home win over Cray Wanderers. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (56261630)

It promises to be the biggest occasion in the club’s history since their memorable double in 1981 when they won the Isthmian League Division One title and lifted the FA Trophy at Wembley.

Stortford were founder members of the Conference South following a restructure of the football pyramid in 2004, but were relegated in 2017 and have spent five seasons at this level.

“The boys are buzzing and I’m buzzing,” said Smith, whose side sealed second place and home advantage in the play-offs by beating Cray Wanderers 3-1 at the weekend. “We’ve got to make sure we’re not disappointed at 10 o’clock tonight.

Bishop's Stortford manager Steve Smith, left, and coach Luke Callander. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (56261642)
Bishop's Stortford manager Steve Smith, left, and coach Luke Callander. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (56261642)

“It’s all about getting over the line and getting promoted. We know it would be two seriously tough games to get through, but we’re capable of doing it.

“Whatever happens we’ve had a phenomenal season, but we want to go all the way and we’ll be giving it our all.

“It would be massive for the club, all the lads and me personally if we got promoted. I’ve been there [National League South] with Chelmsford and I’d love to have a crack at it with Stortford, but we can’t think about that yet.

“Everyone’s got a chance to be a part of Bishop’s Stortford’s history I suppose. It’s really exciting and the game can’t come quickly enough.”

Jonny Giles, who scored twice against Cray Wanderers, is congratulated by his Bishop's Stortford team-mates. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (56286925)
Jonny Giles, who scored twice against Cray Wanderers, is congratulated by his Bishop's Stortford team-mates. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (56286925)

The boss is hoping to have Chris Harris and Frankie Merrifield available for selection against Cheshunt while Johnville Renee, who is fasting for Ramadan, should also be in contention, but Anthony Church is an injury doubt.

Smith said his squad have been practising penalties as the matches will go to extra time and potentially spot kicks if they are level after 90 minutes.

Ticket sales are going well for tonight’s tie, which kicks off at 7.45pm, and supporters are urged to buy them in advance. See here for details.



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