No.15 - Sat 24th October 2015; Norfolk Junior Cup Round 3;                                      1.30pm at Lynn Grove Academy; Lynn Grove; Gorleston-on-Sea; Norfolk; NR31 8AR


Matchday images (50)

AC Mill Lane (0) 0  Thetford Rovers (0) 0

0-0AET (3-0pens)

'Hero Hemp to the Rescue...'

'After playing for many years in the Great Yarmouth & District Football League AC Mill Lane Football Club is now plying its trade in a new competition this season. Disillusioned by the increasing number of clubs that were dropping out of the GY&DL and with the resultant lack of regularly weekly fixtures, it has since been successful in its application to join the Lowestoft and District Football League.


Out of the thirty two clubs still left in the Norfolk Junior Cup AC Mill Lane FC is in fact the only one representing the L&DL in this the third round stage. On a cold and overcast afternoon the club welcomes Anglian Combination League Division Two side Thetford Rovers to the new Lynn Gove Academy where the cup tie is being held on a purpose built 4G artificial surface at the multi use games area found behind the school.


The hosts, playing their third consecutive home match in the competition, had already disposed of other ACL sides with victories over Harleston Town reserves (4-1 in round 1) and Loddon United Reserves (10-2 in round 2). In the previous rounds high scoring Rovers had won 7-4 at Hingham Athletic (ACL) and beaten Narborough (C&SNL) at home in a contest decided 5-4 on penalties after the game ended 3-3 to get here.


With all of this in mind I fully expected that it would be a game with plenty of goals and the visitors, given their higher position in the pyramid, would come out on top. Not a bit of it. With both defences holding firm throughout chances to score were very much at a premium. Unsurprisingly then the game ended goalless both at full time and after extra-time but not without controversy. Home fans were left incensed when young forward Kelsey McCarrick was put through and scored only for the goal to be ruled out when the club linesman on the far side raised his flag (incorrectly in my opinion) for offside with just seconds to go. Justice was finally served though when the hosts netted three times without reply in the concluding penalty shoot out. Hero of the day was goalkeeper Stephen Hemp who mobbed by his team mates had just pulled off three cracking saves to ensure his side had reached to the fourth round draw.     


The game played in cold and at times drizzly conditions attracted twenty spectators, many of whom stood at pitch side (within the cage). Despite some dodgy white line markings (see the album pictures) I found the crumb surface conducive to watching a decent football match. By coincidence I was lucky to be able to chat to the Rovers manager Ed Sheridan whom I had taught PE at Middle School (in Newmarket) some twenty five years ago. An injury forced him into early retirement before taking up management. How time flies? Also standing close by was the ever enthusiastic Ted Zipfel who, for those who may not know, has been secretary (amongst other things) with the club for the last sixty five years. Indeed he has received a long service award from the county FA for this terrific achievement. As expected neither a programme nor refreshments were made available to spectators.


The ground is located on the outskirts of Gorleston (the coastal town centre is a couple of miles away). By car travellers approaching from either the A47 (north and west) or A12 (south) can turn right off the A143 (Beccles Road) into Lynn Grove where the school entrance is found on the left. Parking is available at the school sports centre (sign posted) around the back which is much closer to the changing rooms, playing fields and 4G pitch. Indeed the club often uses the adjacent grass pitch so check before setting out (today ground-sharers Bohemians FC was playing Filby in a GYDL match on the grass pitch!).


Although I only really tend to watch matches played on artificial pitches as a last resort (usually as a back-up game when the weather is bad), I must admit that I enjoyed my trip here today. I found the club to be extremely welcoming and would recommend a visit here to all travellers, particularly for a Norfolk Junior Cup game (one of my favourite local cup competitions). If you would like more details then check out the links shown below. Interestingly if you look at the latest L&DL table you will notice that Southwold Town (formers members of the SIL) are another side that has moved across leagues in recent times to play in this competition. The joys of hopping at remote outposts on pretend grass continues. Have fun wherever you go'. 

FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) M Banyard(p1), J Currell(p2) and K McCarrick(p3) and (A) N/A   

Attendance: 20; Admission: Free; Programme: None; Match rating: 3/5; Ground rating: 3/5.



edited on 25/10/15