Gym United cruise through to the last eight of the national FA Sunday Cup
FA SUNDAY CUP
Gym United 4
White Hart FC 0
After his side cantered through to the quarter-finals of the FA Sunday Cup at a snowy Thetford Town, Matt Morton believes there is no reason why they cannot make history by becoming the first Suffolk side to lift the trophy.
The Bury & District Sunday League outfit showed what they are made of after adapting far better to the testing conditions than their Sussex opponents, with unanswered goals in each half — two from Andrew Wood and one apiece from Tanner Call and Sam Bond — putting White Hart firmly to the sword.
A waterlogged pitch at Bury Town’s Ram Meadow had seen a late change of venue to Thetford’s Mundford Road, which was familiar surroundings for the six Brecklanders in the side.
But it was only after the efforts of Gym and Thetford volunteers, including the substitutes, who swept the lines on the pitch at half-time following a meeting about whether the game should resume, that the tie was able to be completed.
Player-manager and club chairman Morton praised those involved and now hopes his side can go all the way in the prestigious national competition.
“If you said to me at the start of the season would we take it (reaching quarter-finals) I would probably have said no, as I have belief in what this team can achieve.
“I do not think it is a big ask to go on and win it now, although it will be difficult, with every round we get hungrier and hungrier for more.”
A crowd of 50 who braved the blizzard conditions saw Gym pass up four good chances before Thetford striker Wood fired them into the lead from the penalty spot before the half-an-hour mark, after Max Melanson was brought down by the goalkeeper.
It took just five minutes for their advantage to be doubled, with ex-Team Bury forward Call heading in.
An under strength White Hart were effectively out of the tie when the third goal went in around a quarter-of-an-hour into the second half with Wood despatching his second, having also bagged a brace in the previous round.
Melanson missed a sitter before a fourth arrived around 20 minutes from time with defender Bond showing great composure to fool the on-rushing goalkeeper before applying a neat finish, following a cute one-two with Wood.
“I do not usually like to say thing like this, but it was the weakest challenge we have had in this competition,” said Morton.
“It was very one-sided and could have been more.
“In fairness their players were saying in the second half they did have six of their starting 11 missing, and that probably went in our favour.
“Having said that I do not want to take anything away from the lads and our performance.
“It was 50 per cent they didn’t put much fight in, but 50 per cent we played very well on a difficult surface — it was top drawer stuff.”
The Wembley draw last week had pitted the winners of the tie against Middlesex side FC Bengals, but Gym’s opposition were this week removed from the competition after being found to have fielded an ineligible player in the previous round’s 3-0 win at Lebeq Tavern Courage FC, who have now been reinstated.
It means Gym will now have to travel further afield, to Bristol, for the February 11 quarter-final (2pm).