CHESHAM United are one game from the Conference League after a come-from-behind play-off semi-final victory over Stourbridge last night.
They won 2-1 and it was appropriate that the goals came from the most deadly strike duo in the Southern Premier League this season, Drew Roberts and Chris Dillon.
In front of 728 fans at The Meadow, Stourbridge actually opened the scoring after 21 minutes and that goal might so easily have sucked the life out of Chesham.
Andy Leese’s men have more than a few semi-final heartbreaks in the memory banks and, furthermore, had been beaten 1-0 by the Glassboys on that very pitch less than a fortnight ago.
But the manager has often spoken about his team’s character this season and on Tuesday they showed it again with Roberts equalising after 31 minutes before Dillon settled it just past the hour.
Stourbridge threw everything at them in search of an equaliser, moving their big centre back forward to play with three up front in the closing stages.
But Darren Purse’s forehead met almost every cross and not even five minutes of added time could break Chesham’s resolve.
They will now host the winners of tonight’s semi-final between Cambridge City and St Albans in Monday’s final Leese said: “I’m absolutely delighted for the players.
“I was a bit worried when Stourbridge scored but this group are made of stern stuff.
“I know every manager says they’ve got a tight squad and good team spirit, but we really have and the players deserve it because of how hard they’ve worked.
“No one has a divine right to be there, but an awful lot of work has gone into it and we’ve steadily improved with a fourth place finish, a third place finish and now a second place finish.”
Chesham lost play-off semi-finals to Hemel Hempstead and AFC Totton in the last two seasons and a hat-trick was on the cards when Stourbridge broke the deadlock.
Leese said: “I went through the mill about. I said to the physio in the second half that my hamstrings were tight and my calves were tight and I’m not even playing.
“But you feel like you’re kicking every ball.
“Stourbridge shaded the first 20 minutes but when we equalised it gave us a lift and in the second half I felt we were the better side.
“We were probing a lot in the last third. Our attacking instinct was back and I wasn’t completely surprised when we scored because we’d been threatening for a while.
“But the job is only half done. We’ve got to deal with the euphoria of winning and then go again for Monday.”
Chesham have won three and drawn one of their four games home and away against Cambridge and St Albans this season.
Leese said: “We’ll be respectful but not fearful. It can’t be any harder than Stourbridge. I think every team will admit they’re very tough to play against.
“Cambridge and St Albans pose a different type of threat, but we’re at home and that’s a big plus.”