NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Bad traffic can’t stop Lloyd Groves from arriving in time to lead to Soham Town Rangers to glory
- Credit: Archant
He might have been late to the party last Saturday, but Soham Town Rangers player-coach Lloyd Groves still seized the limelight!
The Greens man didn't arrive at Canvey Island for their BetVictor North Division clash until 3.20pm after being held up in a trek of more than 100 miles from a morning match in Peterborough for the St Ives Town Under 18 side he manages.
But that still gave him ample time to make a big impact at both ends of the pitch after being sent on as a substitute, following an injury to Lee Chaffey, just after half-time.
Groves headed the only goal midway through the second half and helped the Rangers rearguard keep a clean sheet as they triumphed 1-0 to record a third consecutive victory.
Groves said: "I didn't get away from my game in Peterborough until 12.30pm and the sat nav said it would take two hours, 15 minutes to get to Canvey.
"Unfortunately I got stuck in traffic and it was closer to three hours by the time I made it.
"I got a phone call while I was on the way to say Ryan Auger had been sick the night before and was feeling rough.
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"The plan was for me to go on at half-time but Ryan was playing well and keen to stay on.
"But 'Chaff' then pulled up early in the second half so I ended up going on anyway and managed to rise like a salmon to finish off a set-piece!
"It was a really good result for us. We controlled the game and moved the ball really nicely on a pitch in excellent condition.
"We were very strong defensively during the spells where Canvey were on top and it was a very professional performance to keep the good run going.
"It was definitely a stressful Saturday for me - but a successful one too. My St Ives lads won their cup semi-final in the morning and we managed to get another three points too."
Auger sent over the free-kick from which a depleted Soham side - including new signing Declan Rogers following his arrival from Corby Town - made the breakthrough.
Auger's delivery was headed back across goal by Cameron Watson before Groves applied the finishing touch.
Rangers' winning run has lifted them up to 12th in the North Division standings.
They are set to receive a stern test this Saturday when hosting title-chasers Heybridge Swifts, 3pm.
Groves added: "We've had a tough time this season so we're not going to get carried away.
"But the aim is to continue to do the basics well and keep grinding out results."