BY RICHARD CAWLEY
FA Cup hero Danny Bassett reckons Tooting & Mitcham will head into their third qualifying round tie against Poole Town with total belief they can cause another upset.
The Terrors are unbeaten this season and dumped National League South outfit Dorking Wanderers – who play two divisions above – out of the famous old competition on Saturday.
Striker Bassett scored the winner for Tooting, who have won five of their first six Isthmian South Central Division matches this season.
They can bank FA prize money of £11,250 if they can beat the Dolphins, who compete in the Southern League Premier Division South, on October 5.
Streatham-raised Bassett said: “We have already knocked a team out who play two leagues above us, so why not do it to a team who play one league above?
“If we play to our strengths we can do it. We haven’t lost in our first 10 matches this season and we have a winners mentality, we don’t think we are going to be beaten in any game we go into.
“We had our captain Sol [Patterson-Bohner] sent off with about 30 minutes to go but I never thought for one second we would lose it. I’ve never played in the first round proper of the FA Cup. The first time I had a chance I was 17 and injured at the time. The manager said I couldn’t play, I was really upset at the time.
“So this run is a very big thing for me and for the club. It is definitely a big ambition – we want to go as far as we can.”
Bassett joined Concord Rangers in the summer but he got fed up with the travelling to Essex.
“It was National South but it was three hours there and the same back – it just didn’t work for me,” he said.
“Once I knew that then coming back to Tooting was never in doubt. It is where I feel most comfortable and where I have scored most goals in my career.
“I know the management here will push me, they always want you to do better.”
Bassett has previously had a trial with Portsmouth but it was around the time that the South Coast club scrapped some of their junior set up. He has given up his job installing security alarms.
“This is my final year – if I can score enough goals it can push me into the pro game,” said Bassett.
“I’ve stopped what I was doing elsewhere and completely focused everything on my football. If it doesn’t happen by Christmas then I’ll go and work again.
“Last season I played some of it at right wing-back. This season I’m fully playing up front and I want 20 goals by Christmas, that will also help the team out.”
Bassett was part of the Tooting side which won promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2017. But he had broken his right leg in January.
“I couldn’t play and had to watch the team finish the job – I was out until pre-season,” he said. “I really want us to win the league again, I know what a good feeling it is. It gives you so much confidence – that’s hugely helpful for the younger players as well.”
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD