After six years’ waiting for his chance to play Northern League football, goalkeeper Fraser Nicholls has finally made his debut in the competition.
Nicholls suffered a serious head injury during Cambridge FC’s pre-season programme and was forced to miss the Reds’ return to the Lotto NRFL second division, earned through promotion last year.
A broken cheek and eye socket required operations to fit four plates and insert 15 screws before Nicholls could resume training for his chance to play in the league.
His patience paid off last weekend when he was in the Reds’ starting line-up for their 2-2 draw against Northland FC at John Kerkhof Park.
His opportunity followed an injury to Cambridge’s other first team goalkeeper, Patrick Steele, who has shown impressive form since signing from Matamata Swifts at the start of the season.
Nicholls said he was pleased for the chance to get back on the pitch after six seasons helping Cambridge fulfil the club’s ambitions to compete in the Northern League. For extra protection, Nicholls wore a face protector (see main photo), and he came through his 90 minutes unscathed.
Injuries have plagued Cambridge’s goalkeeping ranks this season with the club’s goalkeeper coach Kim Brierley also suffering a serious eye injury, a detached retina which has required two operations.
Brierley thanked the club and its members for supporting him during his recovery, and he was now ready to resume his weekly coaching sessions for young developing goalkeepers through his Just4Keepers goalkeeping academy.