If you missed Globalising Gorleston FC – Introduction, Click Here
Welcome back to Globalising Gorleston, my attempt to take Gorleston FC to the top of world football! In the last episode, I took over the reigns of my boyhood club Gorleston FC, signed our team to actual contracts and we advanced through our pre-season schedule in which we managed to pick up just 1 win from 5 matches, the win coming against local side Lowestoft Town. Although we lost 3 of our friendlies and drew one, it was a good chance to get a good idea of how our starting side would line-up once the season started.
And the start of the season starts now…
We started off our competitive season with a 3 and a half hour coach journey to North Yorkshire to take on Selby Town Football Club in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup. At 3pm, the match kicked off with our men kicking off with 100% in their tanks.
After just two minutes, Selby’s left-midfielder Noah Tansey put the opponents up 1-0 with a well placed header from the edge of the six yard box. The boys didn’t get their heads down though and in the 50th minute, managed to pull one back through 19 year old striker Ryan Sharpin.
We then switched to five at the back as we looked to defend this 1-1 scoreline to force a replay match at home, and thats exactly what we did! The final whistle blew, and we were ecstatic. The replay will be played at Emerald Park in just 3 days!
Between matches, it was announced that if we made it through this next replay match, we would face either Diss Town or Ashington.
In the second match, it was more of the same. The game only amassed 2 goals, one to each side. 18 year old Ollie Hickey put us up 1-0 in the 72nd minute only, to be cancelled out by a 90th minute goal from Selby Town’s star striker Tom Chamberlain. We went into extra time with 5 at the back, hoping to drag the game out to penalties, and thats exactly where we went.
It required nerves of steel as our men came into this penalty shoot-out, and this is how it went.
Chamberlain-MISS, Richards-GOAL, Blankley-MISS, McClennan-SCORE
Conrad-GOAL, Silvestri-GOAL, Carroll-GOAL, Cook-GOAL
This meant that we were going through to the next round where we would face Ashington. We also won some prize money in the process.
In the lead-up to our next FA Cup fixture which was just one week away, we kicked off our Eastern Counties League Premier Division campaign with our first two matches in one week.
We started with an away trip to Essex to face Wivenhoe Town. Youngster Ollie Hickey managed to set a new team record as well as being the fastest goal in Eastern Counties League Premier Division history with a close range header in the first 15 seconds of the match. Wivenhoe striker Tommy Howe then equalised in the 85th minute meaning we could only take one point back to Norfolk with us.
We then faced Saffron Walden Town at home just three days later. Our team sheet stayed the same as the previous game, to make sure we weren’t disgruntling any of our first team players.
We were fortunate to beat Saffron Walden at home thanks to a 38th minute strike from young Ryan Sharpin. This win put us 10th on the table after just 2 games, with 42 games ahead of us.
At the end of the match, we announced that we had signed a new goalkeeper in the form of Russell Hoult. Russell is a 44 year old veteran of the game who was previously playing at Quorn in the Bostik League. Russell is statistically better at goalkeeping so will be taking over 18 year old Wayne Riches as the starting goalkeeper. We will also be asking Russell to offer some tutoring to Riches.
Next up we travelled to Northumberland for our FA Cup Preliminary Round match against Ashington.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the result we were looking for but we had already exceeded our FA Cup expectations by reaching the preliminary round. We ended up losing to Ashington, meaning we had been knocked out. It was disappointing to no longer be competing in the FA Cup, but at least now we can concentrate on our league.
This is where I’m going to leave it for today! I hope you enjoyed our start to non-league football. Next episode, we will be getting through a large chunk of our league season and starting our quest for the FA Vase as well!
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