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A National FA Community Charter Club

Founded - 1991  

First Team Review season 2005/2006

The season that got away

Club chairman Peter Steward looks at the ups and downs of a "nearly season."

A season that promised so much, sadly fizzled out near the end as it became a story of what might have been.

Nevertheless solid progress was made with the club finishing in its highest ever league placing and reaching the semi-finals of the league cup.

Despite this there was still a feeling of disappointment that the team had got within touching distance of a league and cup double, but achieved neither and suffered an ignominious defeat in the county cup.

But despite that the feeling at the end was one of reasonable achievement and a solid foundation for making a serious challenge for the league title next season.

The season was a mixture of excellent football, some stunning results and some huge disappointments. It is easy to see just where the chances of the league title slipped away with an opening day defeat at the hands of Poringland, a 7-1 defeat against bottom club St George, a farcical 5-5 draw on a mud heap at Coltishall and some bad defensive mistakes in matches against Acle being the main culprits.

Against that, however, were two excellent victories over Quebec, a demolition of a strong Delaneys side and a 5-3 win against champions elect Marlborough. Above all Athletic played some entertaining soccer and failed to score only once in the entire season - sadly in the match which put an end to their championship aspirations.

It took the team four matches to get into the groove and achieve their first victory and that was after a 2-1 opening day league defeat at the hands of Poringland and then two of the worst displays of the season in the first round of the county cup against lowly St George. The first match ended in a 2-2 draw after extra time and the replay was sadly looked on as just a formality. St George had other ideas and we were always chasing the game. With a couple of minutes to go Hethersett were 2-1 behind and, in an attempt to rescue the tie, defenders were taken off as we went gung ho in attack. The ploy worked as we equalised in the last minute, but then the plan backfired as we failed to defend in extra-time and lost 4-2.

The ridiculous nature of that result was perfectly illustrated the following week when we played St George yet again, this time in the league, and hammered them 7-0 with Mark Appleton scoring a hat-trick.

That result paved the way for four straight league victories including an excellent 3-0 win at Quebec along with slightly less emphatic wins at home to Deopham (2-1) and away to Delaneys (1-0).

Then the inconsistent nature of the season struck again with an inexplicable 4-1 defeat at home to The William and a disappointing 2-2 draw at Deopham after we were 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go. Indeed throwing away leads in the later stages of games was something that was to return later in the season.

Again the next two matches summed up the whole season with a good 5-3 win at The William giving away to a display that left everyone at the club speechless. The battles against St George seemed to drag-on!!!! To date nobody has been able to explain how we could visit them virtually with a full length team when we were in the top three and they were bottom of the league and somehow lose 7-1. Funny old game football Saint.

That result certainly made the next game against Division One side Eaton Beehive in the League Cup one for concern. Thankfully sense prevailed as we won 2-1, but were well in control throughout the game with Beehive scoring nothing more than a very late consolation goal.

A good team performance saw us take all three points from a thrilling 4-3 win at Horsford before the nerves set in again as we went down 3-2 at Acle to severely dent our title hopes. It was just one of those games. Hethersett missed chance after chance and Acle made the most of a handful of opportunities to score three times.

The double over Quebec was completed with another 3-0 victory at the Memorial Playing Field and then Taverham were comfortably dispatched 3-1 in the second round of the league cup.

This was followed by one of the more farcical games of the season. The match at Coltishall was played on a cabbage patch of a pitch which got muddier as the game progressed thanks to continuous rain. The whole thing became a lottery and defending was impossible. As a result there were four goals in the opening 12 minutes and with 10 minutes to go Hethersett were heading for three points with a 5-3 lead.

Then the late late show from the opposition again saw us concede two late goals (Deopham revisited) and we had to settle for a draw and two vital points thrown away. The stupidity of that result was shown the following week when we comfortably beat the same team 5-1 at home and then followed this up with a nervy 3-2 win at Poringland.

At this point our title aspirations were very much alive, although I felt that we had already lost too many matches to have any real chance of finishing top and some of our displays had been more erratic than emphatic.

The season seemed to follow a strange pattern of playing the same team in successive weeks. This happened with three consecutive matches against St George, two against Coltishall and now two vital matches against Acle - the first in the semi-finals of the League Cup and the second in the league. The results of these two games saw our cup aspirations come to an end and put a big dent in our title chances.

Defensive frailties were at the fore in both matches. Both were at home and in the Cup we gifted Acle three goals and went down 3-1. In the league it was another defensive mix-up that consigned us to a 1-1 draw and arguable in retrospect cost us the runners-up position in the league which went to Acle.

With four games to go we were still in with a shout, however, but realised that nothing less than four consecutive victories - including two against top of the table Marlborough - would be good enough.

It turned out to be too much to ask despite a superb team performance at home to Delaneys where we produced arguably our best show of the season to win 5-1 and set-up a vital top of the table clash at Marlborough on April 9th.

In that match we had plenty of territorial play and plenty of chances but ultimately it was the experience of Marlborough which told as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. We didn't have to wait long for revenge, however, as the following week saw a fine 5-3 win over the same team at the Memorial. This time we did things slightly differently. At one point we were 3-1 up only to let Marlborough get back to 3-3 before we pulled away yet again. The team nature of the game was summed up by the fact that the goals were scored by five different players.

With the chance of the title now gone, we needed to win our final match at home to Horsford to stand a chance of finishing second and hope that Acle dropped points in their final two matches. Sadly once again we were out of sorts, although the 4-1 scoreline flattered our opponents as they scored twice in injury time as we pushed the entire team forward looking for an equaliser.

Third place in the league and the semi-finals of the League Cup overall made for a good season and possibly one of transition. Injuries to key players proved costly at times and we still have a very young squad of players who will mature and improve in the future. With skilful youngsters such as John Curtis, Mark Appleton, Sam Wenham and James Rice, the team is assured of a bright future and the feeling is that next season will see us transformed from an emerging team into a real force. To do that we need a nucleus of players committed to the club.

On the positive side we scored in every match, apart from the game at Marlborough. Mark Appleton scored three hat-tricks (home to St George, away to Coltishall and away to the William) and ended up as top scorer with 21 goals from 23 appearances. Mark Moseley also hit a hat-trick in the 5-1 home win over Delaneys.

Other individual landmarks included 200 club appearances for 'keeper Chris Bolderstone, 150 club appearances for midfielder Nick Appleton, 100 club goals for Matt Steward (despite the fact that he has been a defender for the past four seasons) and 50 club goals for Mark Appleton.

 

Fixtures, Teams, Goalscorers

Match No 1: Sunday 4th September, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division.  Hethersett Athletic 1, Poringland Wanderers 2. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - P. Gilding, S. Redhead, S. Wenham, R. Potter, M. Sutcliffe, D. Musson, M. Carver, N. Appleton, B. Thompson, D. Stevens, M. Appleton. Subs (both used) - C. Arnold and C. Garside. Scorer - Ben Thompson.

Match No 2: Sunday 11th September, 2005. Norfolk Senior Cup First Round. Hethersett Athletic 2, St George 2 (after extra-time). Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett: A. Wilkes, R. Potter, M. Steward, M. Sutcliffe, D. Gaskin, S. Wenham, N. Appleton, M. Barrett, M. Carver, D. Musson, M. Appleton. Sub (used) D. Ganley. Scorers: Mark Sutcliffe and Mark Appleton.

Match No 3: Sunday 18th September, 2005. Norfolk Senior Cup First Round Replay. St George 4, Hethersett Athletic 2 (after extra-time). Match played at Bayer Social Club, Norwich.

Hethersett: C. Bolderstone, D. Ganley, M. Steward, M. Sutcliffe, J. Curtis, M. Barrett, M. Carver, N. Appleton, S. Wenham, M. Appleton, C. Garside. Subs (both used) - D. Musson and D. Navarinna. Scorers: Mark Sutcliffe and john Curtis.

Match No 4: Sunday 25th September, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division: Hethersett Athletic 7, St George 0. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, M. Carver, M. Steward, R. Potter, D. Ganley, J. Curson, N. Appleton, C. Arnold, M. Appleton, D. Stevens, S. Wenham. Subs (both used) - J. Curtis and L. Mace. Scorers - Lewis Mace 2, Mark Appleton 3, Martin Carver 2.

Match No 5: Sunday October 2nd, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division: Quebec Rovers 0, Hethersett Athletic 3. Match played at Britannia Barracks, Norwich

Hethersett: C. Bolderstone, M. Carver, M. Appleton, R. Potter, D. Ganley, M. Steward, J. Curson, M. Barrett, C. Garside, D. Stevens, J. Curtis. Sub (used) - M. Sutcliffe. Scorers: Mark Appleton, Daniel Ganley and Martin Carver.

Match No 6: Sunday October 16th, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division: Hethersett Athletic 2, Deopham 1. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, M. Carver, N. Appleton, R. Potter, D. Ganley, M. Steward, M. Barrett, J. Curson, M. Appleton, D. Stevens, J. Curtis. Subs (both used): S. Wenham, M. Sutcliffe. Scorers - Mark Appleton and John Curtis

Match No 7: Sunday October 23rd, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division: Delaneys 0, Hethersett Athletic 1. Match played at Delaneys.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, R. Potter, M. Steward, D. Ganley, M. Carver, M. Barrett, D. Self, D. Stevens, J. Curtis, C. Arnold, M. Appleton, S. Wenham, M. Sutcliffe. Scorer - own goal

Match No 8: Sunday October 30th, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division: Hethersett Athletic 1, The William 4. Match played on Memorial Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, M. Carver, M. Appleton, M. Sutcliffe, D. Ganley, M. Steward, M. Barrett, J. Curson, C. Garside, J. Curtis, S. Wenham. Subs (both used) - N. Appleton and D. Gaskin. Scorer Mark Appleton.

Match No 9: Sunday November 6th, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division: Deopham 2, Hethersett Athletic 2. Match played at Deopham.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, M. Carver, M. Appleton, M. Sutcliffe, D. Ganley, M. Steward, M. Barrett, N. Appleton, C. Garside, D. Stevens, J. Curtis. Subs - D. Gaskin (not used), S. Wenham (used). Scorers - Carl Garside, Mark Appleton.

Match No 10: Sunday November 13th, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division: The William 3, Hethersett Athletic 5. Match played at Rackheath.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Appleton, M. Carver, D. Ganley, M. Steward, M. Barrett, M. Sutcliffe, C. Garside, D. Stevens, S. Wenham. Scorers: Mark Appleton 3, John Curtis, Carl Garside.

Match No 11: Sunday November 20th, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division: St George 7, Hethersett Athletic 1. Match played at Bayer Social Club.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Appleton, M. Sutcliffe, D. Ganley, M. Steward, M. Barrett, M. Carver, C. Garside, D. Stevens, S. Wenham. Sub (used) N. Appleton. Scorer - Mark Appleton

Match No 12: Sunday December 4th, 2005: League Cup First Round: Hethersett Athletic 2, Eaton Beehive 1. Match played on the Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Appleton, M. Carver, M. Steward, D. Ganley, M. Barrett, J. Rice, C. Arnold, D. Stevens, S. Wenham. Subs C. Brownbridge (used), M. Sutcliffe (not used). Scorers: Mark Appleton and James Rice.

Match No 13:  Sunday December 11th, 2005. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Horsford 3, Hethersett Athletic 4. Match played at Horsford.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Rice, M. Appleton, M. Carver, N. Appleton, M. Steward, J. Curson, M. Barrett, C. Garside, D. Stevens, S. Wenham. Sub (not used) - S. Redhead. Scorers: Dave Stevens, Carl Garside, Nick Appleton and Matt Steward

Match No 14: Sunday January 15th, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Acle 3, Hethersett Athletic 2. Match played at Acle.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, M. Carver, M. Barrett, M. Steward, J. Curtis, J. Rice, J. Curson, D. Stevens, M. Appleton, C. Garside, S. Wenham. Subs (both used) - R. Potter, D. Ganley. Scorers James Curson and Matt Steward.

Match No 15: Sunday January 22nd, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Hethersett Athletic 3, Quebec Rovers 0. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, R. Potter, M. Barrett, M. Steward, D. Ganley, J. Rice, J. Curtis, C. Garside, M. Appleton, D. Stevens, S. Wenham. Sub (not used) - M. Carver. Scorers - John Curtis, Dave Stevens, Mark Appleton.

Match No 16: Sunday January 29th, 2006. League Cup Second Round. Taverham 1, Hethersett Athletic 3. Match played at Taverham.

Hethersett: C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Barrett, M. Steward, R. Potter, D. Ganley, J. Rice, J. Curson, M. Appleton, D. Stevens, S. Wenham. Sub (used) - M. Carver. Scorers - James Curson, Ross Potter and Mark Appleton.

Match No 17: Sunday February 12th, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Coltishall 5, Hethersett Athletic 5. Match played at Coltishall.

Hethersett: C. Bolderstone, J. Curson, M. Barrett, D. Ganley, R. Potter, J. Rice, D. Stevens, C. Garside, M. Appleton, D. Self, S. Wenham. Subs (both used)- S. Beck and S. Redhead. Scorers: Mark Appleton 3, C. Garside, D. Ganley

Match No 18: Sunday February 19th, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Hethersett Athletic 5, Coltishall 1. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett: C. Bolderstone, S. Redhead, M. Barrett, D. Holman, R. Potter, D. Ganley, J. Curtis, J. Rice, C. Garside, D. Self, S. Wenham. Subs - S. Beck (used), J. Millson (used), M. Steward (not used). Scorers: Carl Garside 2, Danny Self 2, John Curtis

Match No 19: Sunday February 26th, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Poringland 2, Hethersett Athletic 3. Match played at Poringland.

Hethersett: C. Bolderstone, D. Ganley, M. Barrett, M. Steward, J. Rice, J. Curson, D. Self, C. Garside, M. Appleton, D. Stevens, J. Curtis. Subs (used) - S. Beck, N. Appleton. Scorers - Carl Garside (2) and Mark Appleton.

Match No 20: Sunday March 19th, 2006. League Cup Semi-Final. Hethersett Athletic 1, Acle 3. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, S. Wenham, M. Steward, M. Barrett, D. Self, N. Appleton, M. Appleton, C. Garside, J. Curson, B. Thompson. Subs (all used) - S. Beck, M. Moseley, M. Carver. Scorer Danny Self

Match No 21: Sunday March 26th, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Hethersett Athletic 1, Acle 1. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Barrett, R. Potter, M. Carver, M. Steward, M. Moseley, C. Garside, M. Appleton, D. Self, S. Wenham. Subs S. Beck (used), J. Rice (not used). Scorer John Curtis

Match No 22: Sunday April 2nd, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Hethersett Athletic 5, Delaneys 1. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Barrett, R. Potter, M. Carver, M. Steward, M. Moseley, C. Garside, M. Appleton, D. Self, S. Wenham. Subs - J. Rice (used), S. Beck (used), N. Appleton (not used). Scorers: Mark Moseley (3), Mark Appleton and Carl Garside.

Match No 23: Sunday April 9th, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Marlborough 3, Hethersett Athletic 0. Match played at Eaton Park, Norwich.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Barrett, D. Stevens, M. Steward, C. Steward, M. Carver, C. Garside, M. Appleton, D. Self, S. Wenham. Subs (both used) - C. Arnold, J. Rice.

Match No 24: Sunday April 16th, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Hethersett Athletic 5, Marlborough 3. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett - C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Barrett, M. Steward, R. Potter, I. Mills, M. Moseley, J. Rice, C. Garside, D. Self, S. Wenham. Sub - D. Ganley. Scorers - Matt Steward, Carl Garside, James Rice, Ian Mills and Danny Self.

Match No 25: Sunday April 23rd, 2006. Norwich Sunday League Premier Division. Hethersett Athletic 1, Horsford 4. Match played on Memorial Playing Field.

Hethersett: C. Bolderstone, J. Curtis, M. Barrett, D. Holman, R. Potter, J. Rice, M. Dye, C. Garside, M. Appleton, N. Appleton, S. Wenham. Subs (not used) - P. Anderson and S. Beck. Scorer - Mark Appleton.

For appearances, the final league table and a tabulated review of the season click here.