A year ago Blyth Spartans centre back Ryan Hutchinson was plying his trade in the Northern Alliance with Seaton Delaval.
Twelve months on he finds himself in a side who will go into the FA Cup third round draw alongside the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Despite going a goal down in Friday night’s second round tie, the man who started his career in Celtic’s youth system always felt that a win was there for the taking against SkyBet League Two side Hartlepool United, although he admitted a “moment of inspiration” was required.
“It’s absolutely fantastic and we knew we could do it,” he said.
“We were told at half-time that were still in the game and that we had finished the first half well.
“We just had to continue that in the second half and we just needed a moment of inspiration, which came from Stephen Turnbull’s free kick and we just went on from there.”
Hutchinson had the perfect view point for Turnbull’s goal as he was standing right behind the midfielder as he lined up the free kick.
The defender paid tribute to the quality of the strike and described his feelings afterwards as “unbelievable”.
He said: “I was right behind it and we knew straight away where it was going.
“I remember thinking to myself as it left his foot that the keeper wouldn’t get anywhere near it.
“I’ve seen the video since and it was a fantastic free kick.
“The adrenaline rush was unbelievable and we knew we would win it from there.”
Hutchinson also paid tribute to the Spartans supporters who travelled to Victoria Park in their droves.
Just under 1,200 members of the Green Army crammed into the away end and Hutchinson was delighted they were able to see the two Spartans goals at close hand.
“It was the best feeling I have had in football yet,” he said.
“It was great for the supporters that it happened in front of them. They were great, they inspired us and kept us going.
“They never stopped singing at all, even when we went a goal down, so we are delighted for them as much as anyone.”