Senior Cup Final victory the start of Gorleston resurgence

Gorleston senior cup

Gorleston were crowned victors of the 2021 Norfolk Senior Cup. - Credit: Norfolk FA/Matthew Usher

As the rain lashed down at the FDC and Gorleston had just been reduced to ten men, you could have forgiven joint-managers Ricci and Scott Butler for fearing the worst. 

The pendulum was swinging back and forth between the two sides and control became a difficult thing to gain throughout the Norfolk Senior Cup Final.

In terms of performances, this was one the pair wouldn't be keen to reflect upon after the event, but the trophy may end up offering a much-needed springboard as they continue with their rebuild.

Post-match, the smiles on their face painted the full picture. This was countless hours of hard work and turbulence caused by the worst health crisis in 100 years rewarded. For an evening or perhaps even longer, the struggles of the last year had evaporated. 

The Butler brothers have overseen just 51 matches in charge of the Emerald Park side despite two seasons of football passing since their appointment in 2019. 

Gorleston appointed the duo having fallen to one of their lowest ebbs having just been beaten 8-0 by Norwich United and having played 12 matches without recording a single victory that stretched back into the previous campaign. 

Whilst the curtailment of two seasons have halted their progress, the club still hold ambitions of rising up the non-league structure in the same manner as Lowestoft Town, Leiston and Needham have done in recent years.

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Signings like Chris Henderson, formerly of King's Lynn Town and instrumental in their promotion to the National League, graphically illustrates their ambition as a club moving forward. The creative midfielder has the capability to win matches almost singlehandedly and was drawn to the club by the ambition of their plans. 

The Ingram brothers - Connor and Kyle - are both talented operators. Connor, a striker, had trials with Ipswich Town and it was his goal after four minutes that put the Greens ahead. 

Although the Senior Cup victory is an important step, Scott Butler can't help but feel this cup win is merely the start. 

"When we became first-team managers, I don't feel that the club was in the position where many of the supporters and committee members wanted," Scott admitted. 

"We said there was never going to be an overnight fix and it was going to take time. The first season was about establishing in the Prem and then try to start building our own squad to put own our stamp of things. 

"It was very stop-start but last season we went on a run and won ten on the bounce but lost in the Vase then it all came to a halt. This is where we show what we're about. This win is the springboard for us to show what we are about."

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Gorleston beat Mulbarton Wanderers 3-2 in an excellent Senior Cup final. - Credit: Norfolk FA/Matthew Usher

Throughout the course of the Senior Cup final, there were flags behind the goal Gorleston were attacking and a drum provided the backing track for various chants. Among the host of supporters were youngsters, taking in the game and dreaming of replicating those in green shirts one day. 

After the Butler brothers were appointed, chairman Alan Gordon said in the statement that he hoped they could ' bring back the passion and a new vitality to the club', whilst the pair don't see one Senior Cup victory as job done, it does serve as an important brick in the road. 

"We've said to the lads, if you think that's enough, this probably isn't the club for you," Butler said. "This is where we show what we're about."

You get the sense that Gorleston are building something sustainable, that's not only reflected in the final victory, but also by the people following the club and look of the team on the pitch. 

It was something intangible that lingered throughout the course of the evening. Their performance may not have met the standards of their bosses, but the character to come through and produce a moment of quality courtesy of Kyle Ingram showed their bouncebackability, something that was lacking prior to the Butler's arrival.

Mulbarton may have been unable to cap off a memorable week after their promotion to step five, where they will face Gorleston on a regular basis, was confirmed but the pride from those connected to the club was palpable. 

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The Greens are on the rise. - Credit: Norfolk FA/Matt Usher

They fought their way back into the final and deserve a huge amount of credit for their achievements. On another day, they would have found the winner during a relentless spell of second half pressure. 

The ultimate victory for Ben Thompson and his side is promotion for the first time in their history. On the evidence of this display, they have the quality to compete in the Thurlow Nunn Premier next season.