Having scored the goal that ensured Soham Town Rangers would not require a relegation reprieve, Lloyd Groves has turned his attention to helping Newmarket Town join The Greens at Step Four.
Finding themselves 3-2 down on the last day of the 2016/17 season at home to Maldon & Tiptree, Soham seemed destined to finish in the Isthmian League Division One North’s bottom three.
But a Sam Mulready equaliser, followed by a late towering header courtesy of centre-back Groves, completed the great escape at Julius Martin Lane.
However, it has now transpired that those heroics were Groves’ final act in a green and white-striped shirt, with the 26-year-old making the short trip down the road to The Ridgeons Stadium.
The move represents a step down in terms of the non-league pyramid, but Groves is confident the return of a competitive Newmarket versus Soham derby may not be too far away.
“It was a tough decision to leave Soham — I thought about my options for a long time,” said Groves, who was Soham’s player-assistant manager during the second half of last season.
“But after meeting with Kev (Grainger, manager) and Godders (Wayne Goddard, assistant), this felt like the right move to make.
“With the squad that has been put together here we should be right up there challenging.
“It is a club that wants to win the league and the players are here to really push to do that. Newmarket are moving in the right direction and hopefully we can achieve our targets.”
Groves and his new team-mates will begin their promotion quest with a home encounter against Fakenham Town on Tuesday, August 8.
That is the start of a run that will see The Jockeys play 10 games in the space of just five weeks.
Godmanchester Rovers — another of Groves’ former clubs — will be Newmarket’s visitors on Boxing Day, while the season will conclude with a trip to Ipswich Wanderers on Saturday, May 4, 2018.