If you’re a follower of the FA Cup, then like all football fans, you’ll love some giant-killing. When Marine AFC made their way to Essex last weekend, to take on Colchester United, not many gave them a chance.
However, with the game going to penalties, it was the Northern Premier League Division One North West side who triumphed, as the Football League Two team exited the competition at their first hurdle.
On loan from The New Saints FC, it was an ideal opportunity to chat with Adam Hughes this week, about the game. In the past, all our interviews have been on video, this time round it’s a written one.
The lead image is courtesy of Marine AFC and in particular, thanks to Secretary, Richard Cross, who sent me the shot of Adam.
The interview also appears on the TNS FC website.
Adam, before we look at last Saturday’s game, how’s it going generally for you at Marine?
I’ve loved every minute of it so far and all the lads have been brilliant with me. It’s been nice to go back and see everyone from the first time I was there.
There’s most definitely a Welsh football feel to the squad at Marine. Not just Josh Hmami but several others as well. How much do the lads talk about their time from across the border?
Yes, there’s a few of us who’ve played in Wales, and I was only talking to Anthony Miley about when he was at Bala Town, just the other day. Then, obviously, I know Josh (Hmami) well from being at TNS. It’s good to see how well he’s doing this year.
To get to the first round proper of the FA cup is an achievement in itself for any non-league team. What were the thoughts of the players in general, ahead of the draw? Did you want an ‘easier’ tie at home, or did you fancy an away-day at a league side?
As soon as that draw was made we were all buzzing. We knew it was going to be a very tough game, but the way the management sets us up, and the confidence they’re instilling in the lads at the moment, we believed we could get something from the game.
You’ve been part of TNS trips to Europe, did that experience have a positive bearing when you were looking ahead to the game against Colchester?
Yes, going away in Europe did have a positive impact on me regarding Saturday, because you’re used to it being away from home, and you have to prepare right for those sort of games.
Come the final whistle of open play it was 1-1, how did the game go for you generally?
I had picked up a knock a few weeks previously, so on Saturday I was still coming back from injury, and I started on the bench. I think I was more nervous being on the bench, having to watch the lads, but I just wanted to get out on the pitch and do what I could to help.
When I came on, I felt like I did okay, seeing out the game and trying to take it to penalties, which luckily we did.
The tie was ultimately decided by the dreaded penalty shoot-out, which is heartbreak for one but ecstasy for the other. Fortunately for you, it was the latter. You even scored one of the penalties as well!
Yes, Rev, I also scored one in a previous round. I’ve always been confident when stepping up in a shoot-out. I always put my name down, and we did win, which was one of the best days I’ve had in football.
As well as progress in the FA Cup, the victory against Colchester United also had another benefit!
Yes! If we had been knocked out on Saturday, then we wouldn’t have been able to play or train for a month, due to government restrictions. Now though, as we have special dispensation, we can carry on.
It’s a home tie against Havant & Waterlooville next. The confidence will be high, do you feel that game is winnable?
Confidence is very high at the moment in the group. We believe we can win any game but we do know this will be another tough test for us. They will be more direct than Colchester and not just passing it from side to side.
Potentially you are 90 minutes away from a trip to one of the English Premier League giants!
That’s obviously something to look forward to but we need to focus on this game first. However, as a Liverpool fan, Liverpool at Anfield would be a dream come true.
Adam, as always, it’s been great to chat, albeit via the internet, on this occasion. Everyone at The New Saints wishes you all the very best in the second round later in the month.
Thank you, Rev.