Newark Flowserve's joint-manager Stephen Kirkham reacts to pulling AFC Mansfield in round three of the FA Vase
A record-breaking journey continued on Saturday, when Newark Flowserve wrote another chapter of the town’s football history with a 3-0 win against Rugby in the FA Vase.
But there is no time to rest for The Highwaymen, who now face a trip to NCEL Premier Division side AFC Mansfield on November 30.
“We all wanted a home game, so with not getting that, this draw was as local as it gets,” said joint-manager Stephen Kirkham.
“They’ve recently had back-to-back promotions, and all though they aren’t doing as well now, it is round three of the Vase, so nothing is going to be easy.
“The league table will tell you that they are going in to it as underdogs, but it is a game that we won’t be taking for granted, we know we can’t take anything for granted at this stage — we are heading into uncharted territory every round now.
“And, as we seem to keep on doing, it is another chance for us to make history.”
Reflecting on the performance on Saturday, Kirkham looks back with a feeling of good fortunes.
“We were really good when you look at the game as a whole,” he said.
“To go 2-0 up as early as we did flattered us at the time, and it wasn’t as comfortable as the scoreline suggested, but we had more than enough chances to win.”
Flowserve took the lead on 11 minutes through Gregg Smith’s towering header, and Danny Meadows made it 2-0 six minutes later, side-footing home from close range.
In the 68th minute the midfielder doubled his tally, sealing the win with another effort from close range.
Kirkham said the 400-strong home crowd played its part in pushing the team over the line, and hopes the fans will follow them to Mansfield.
“With it being only 30 minutes away, I’m hopeful that we will have a good following behind us,” he said.
“It makes a real difference and the results show that.
“We have had gates of around 400 in the Vase twice now and the town has really got behind us.
“It is (the support) something that has had a big impact on the team.
“The lads love playing in front of the big crowds.”
One player who may miss the trip to AFC Mansfield and, more urgently, Saturday’s trip to league leaders Walsall Wood, is experienced striker Ben Hutchinson, who was replaced after 66 minutes after suffering an injury.
But Kirkham said his absence may see the debut of 19-year-old striker Zak Goodson, who has joined on loan from Basford United.
“We have just got Zak over the line — he is someone we have been chasing for a while now,” said Kirkham.
“He’s a young lad, has scored goals in the Evo-Stik and he is different to what we have already got.
“He’s little, has a lot of pace, and is the opposite to the likes of Hutchinson and Gregg (Smith), who are all around 6ft 3ins.
“Paulo (Piliero) is getting 20-minute bursts too, so he is close to being back.
“Even with the injuries that we have, the squad is in good shape.”
More by this authorConnor Thompson