LEISTON striker Will Davies has spoken of his pride at finishing as the top non-league goalscorer in this season’s Emirates FA Cup.
The 21-year-old was confirmed as the highest scorer in the 2020-21 competition outside of the top four divisions of English football following last weekend’s Fourth Round ties.
Davies (pictured above) struck seven goals for Leiston during their FA Cup run, which ended when they lost 3-2 in the Fourth Qualifying Round to National League side Barnet.
He said he was not aware he was in running for the accolade until last week when a graphic on Twitter listed him as the leading goalscorer from the 644 non-league sides that entered this season’s competition.
Connor Hall of Chorley, the last remaining non-league side, would have overtaken him in the unlikely event that he scored four times against Premier League opponents Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Chorley lost 1-0, leaving Davies the clear leader ahead of five players who found the net six times, while Leiston were one of seven clubs to tie for third joint-highest scorers with 14 goals.
Will Davies pictured scoring for Leiston past Barnet goalkeeper Aymen Azaze in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie at Victory Road. Photograph: Hannah Parnell
Davies, who was not aware he was in line to finish top of the pile until the graphic was posted on Twitter, said: “I am proud of the achievement.
“I wanted to kick-on this season and be more involved and score more goals. All non-league clubs like to go on a cup run, especially in the FA Cup, so I am proud of my achievement and to get some recognition.”
Davies netted once after coming on as a substitute in the 5-0 victory over Halstead Town in the Preliminary Round, before bagging four goals in the 5-1 win against Biggleswade Town.
“I scored five in one game for the Reserves against King’s Lynn Reserves (in a 10-3 win in the 2018-19 season), but to get four against a team from our level meant more,” added Davies, who was also on target in the 2-1 win at Leighton Town.
Leiston then drew 0-0 at home to AFC Telford, with Davies netting from the spot as they went through 9-8 on penalties, before bowing out 3-2 at home to Barnet, after Davies had given them a ninth-minute lead.
Leiston striker Will Davies celebrates after giving his side the lead against Barnet in the Fourth Qualifying Round of this season's FA Cup. Photograph: Hannah Parnell
Davies, who has also netted six times for Leiston in the Southern League Premier Central Division this season, said: “It was pleasing to score against Barnet as it showed what I can do against higher-level opponents.”
Now in his fourth season since joining from Woodbridge Town, he continued: “I want to get myself well-known at this level and then push on to play at a higher level.
“I have not been playing as a striker all that long – I used to be a central midfielder or winger – so I want to keep improving so that I can eventually move up.
“The FA Cup run was great for everyone in the club to be involved in, and it is just a shame that we haven’t been able to build on that momentum as it looks like the non-league season is effectively now over.”