Former Needham Market goalkeeper makes an appearance on the television screens against Liverpool and Steven Gerrard

AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper James Shea in action for Needham Market last season

AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper James Shea in action for Needham Market last season - Credit: James Ager

Former Needham Market goalkeeper James Shea was in goal for AFC Wimbledon against Liverpool on Monday night in the FA Cup third round.

The 23-year-old was a familiar face in Suffolk in 2013, when he turned out for Needham Market in Ryman North.

Shea made three appearances for Mark Morsley’s side, his last coming in a 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Cambridge United in October that year.

Formerly with Arsenal, Shea had always targeted a return to full-time football following his release from the Gunners back in 2012. But he dipped into non-league for a while to get himself up and running.

After leaving Needham, he had a spell at Isthmian League Harrow Borough where he played 36 games (32 in the league).

Shea then joined League Two side AFC Wimbledon on a free transfer in July this year.

He gave a decent performance against the Reds on Monday, being beaten by two cracking Steven Gerrard efforts which Liverpool won 2-1. But he remembered his time at Needham Market with affection and was gushing with praise of them when his pay-as-you-play spell was over.

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“I hope they have all the success in the world, that they deserve better (than Ryman League Division One North),” Shea said.

“I would love to see them go up.”

Shea was signed as a relative unknown by Morsley before his three-game spell which included two FA Cup ties.

“I had a brilliant time at Needham, I loved every minute,” he admitted.

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