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Last-four torment for West Norfolk's Anglian Combination representatives




Anglian Combination outfits Gayton United and Heacham both suffered semi-final heartache in the Norfolk Junior Cup at the weekend.

Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395503)
Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395503)

Division Two Gayton lost 2-0 after extra-time against Sprowston Athletic at Lime Kiln Road, while Heacham endured the lottery of penalties to decide their tie with Gorleston Reserves after the game had finished 1-1 after an extra 30 minutes.

Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395508)
Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395508)

The results extinguished the dream of an all-West Norfolk final at Norwich City’s Carrow Road later in the season.

Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395514)
Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395514)

A huge crowd of 371 watched Heacham, who hit the woodwork four times, bow out of the competition against their Division Two visitors.

Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395519)
Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395519)

Gorleston Reserves shaded the first half to take an interval lead before Andrew Wood equalised for Heacham, who dominated the second period.

Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395536)
Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395536)

Joint Heacham manager Ross McNeil said: “We gave a great account of ourselves and we couldn’t have asked for any more from the players.

Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395538)
Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395538)

“We’re all bitterly disappointed as we absolutely battered them in the second half of the game.

Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395539)
Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395539)

“We’ve got to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down quickly because we’ve got a League Cup semi-final coming up and our main aim is still to win promotion.

Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395539)
Football Action at Heacham Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Gorleston Reserves. (7395539)

“It was a great day for the club and there was a fantastic crowd. We’d like to wish Gorleston Reserves all the best for the final as they are a good side.

“If we can get it right at Heacham, we know we’ve got the chance to continue the club’s progression into senior football over the next few years.”

Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395560)
Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395560)

Reflecting on Gayton United’s exit, manager Nick Malby, who has been at the helm for a number of years, said: “It is very difficult to take as we got so close.

Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395551)
Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395551)

“It wasn’t a particularly pretty game to watch, but the effort and commitment was there from both sides.

Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395552)
Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395552)

“There are four or five players who have been with the club since its days in the North West Norfolk League and I feel for them as it might have been their last chance of reaching and playing in a cup final.

Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395555)
Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395555)

“The only positive I can take out of the defeat is that I haven’t got to decide which players to leave out of the starting line-up in the final.

Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395556)
Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395556)

“We’ve still had a good season and the club have shown that Division Two of the Anglian Combination is where they belong.”

Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395558)
Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395558)

It wasn’t all doom and gloom on the cup front across the region, though, with Gayton United’s Reserve side winning their Norfolk Primary Cup last-four clash against Dussindale Rovers Reserves 3-1.

Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395559)
Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395559)

The victory sets up a repeat of last year’s final against Celt Rangers, with the final due to take place at the Bowthorpe-based Football Development Centre on Friday, March 29.

Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395561)
Football Action at Gayton United Football Club's Norfolk Junior Cup Semi-Final game against Sprowston Athletic. (7395561)


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