Five-star Magpies enjoy debut in FA Vase

Heacham players enjoyed every single second of their debut in the FA Vase as the Magpies ran out convincing 5-1 winners over Kirkley and Pakefield.

Fletcher Toll notched a hat-trick for the hosts with Owen Gilbert and Luke Gray also on target as David Griggs’ side put a tough couple of weeks behind them in the club’s first-ever appearance in the competition.

Heacham’s reward is a home tie against Dussindale and Hellesdon Rovers in the next round.

Fletcher Toll
Fletcher Toll

Magpies boss Griggs said: “It’s a lovely day for everyone involved with the club and the players needed it.

“They needed the boost. We’ve had a few depressing weeks you could say. We’re not used to losing but even when we have lost, the lads have remained in the right frame of mind.

“They’re not doom and gloom. We just think about the next game it’s always the next game. It was only a matter of time before we got going and you’ve seen today what we’re about.

“This was us from last season, so hopefully we will kick on from here. We’ve got Hadleigh next week at home, Norwich United away and then the next round of the FA Vase and they’re all winnable, so it would be nice to go on a little run now.”

The Heacham boss was delighted to see striker Toll back to his very best.

“He’s been running off scratches the last few weeks but today we played better, the service was better and we created lots of good chances which he put into the back of the net.

“He obviously started pre-season with us and did well, but then went away with Lynn for three weeks, didn’t play a lot of football and wasn’t scoring goals.

“When he returned to us, it was kind of like a reset so to speak because in our opinion he was a bit behind.

“He probably wasn’t as sharp as we wanted him to be but today he has shown what he is all about when he gets the service. His movement is excellent and he is so good in the air.”

Three of Heacham’s goals came from Lewis Gibson deliveries and Griggs said: “His delivery is quality and I think before the first goal went in there were two corners which were right on the mark.

“His set-pieces are such a weapon. Last weekend we put it in against Thetford and came away with nothing. Today we did the same and created lots of chances through good service.”

Heacham looked a shadow of the side that succumbed 2-1 to the Royals in the league a fortnight ago as they finally got their season back up and running.

A goal from Luke Gray in the second minute settled any early nerves before Gibson sent in a corner from the left for Gilbert to head home Heacham’s second ten minutes later.

Gibson was again the provider as Toll made it 3-0 coming to the midway point of the first half.

Kirley replied through Liam Storey-Smith early in the second period but any hopes of a comeback were dashed in the 52nd minute as Toll’s trademark finish restored the home side’s three-goal advantage.

Four soon became five as Gibson swung in another corner and Toll emphatically headed home his third to make sure of the match ball.