On your marks…
Another season begins… or at least for the next few weeks another pre-season begins as Fleet fans tread the traditional turf that is getting to recognise their summer signings amidst a hot evening sun this Friday night.
As ever, out have gone some familiar faces to be replaced by seven new men – Mark Cousins, Franklin Domi, Haydn Hollis, Darren McQueen, Luke O’Neill, Omari Sterling-James and Josh Wright. Many of those will certainly be on show for a fixture that is now in its third season as the summer curtain-raiser.
Fleet’s first meeting with Gravesend-based Punjab United came during lockdown in summer 2020, then-trialist Greg Cundle scoring a hat-trick in an 8-2 win.
Last season, Fleet twice fell behind only to roar back to win 6-2 in what was the inaugural Steve Cook Cup, a memorial trophy that is once again up for grabs in 2022.
Kick-off is at 7pm at the ground that bears the late Punjab groundsman Steve Cook’s name, with admission on the gate at the price of £7 adults, £5 concessions and free for U16s.
Punjab, who finished last season in 15th place in the SCEFL Premier Division, began their own pre-season with a 2-1 win over Fleet’s next opponents Chatham Town and before that they also got through minutes in the Diversity Football Festival.
Like the Fleet, they have a number of new signings on show and amongst their ranks behind the scenes is a familiar face with our former goalkeeper Sam Mott – on the bench for the Fleet at Wembley in the FA Trophy Final – in as a coach.