Golcar United’s on-loan midfielder Sam Essien can’t wait to play, if picked, in the club’s League Cup semi-final on April 21 against Emley AFC.

The 18-year-old’s parent club FC Halifax Town are also on the trail of silverware with a trip to Wembley in the FA Trophy Final for only the second time in their history. 

Essien, who joined Golcar in October, has become a first team regular and a pivotal part of the club’s progress in league and cup since his arrival.

Golcar face local rivals Emley in the League Cup semi-final on Friday April 21 (7.30) at the Skye Direct Stadium and he wants nothing more than to help Golcar lift the trophy.

On the game against Emley, Essien said: “I honestly can’t wait for it. It’s going to be a huge match for us and I’m very excited. It’s a derby game too which makes it so much more intense.

“These are the sort of games I want to be playing in. I thrive on the pressure and I know we’ll have a big crowd there that night. We played against them in the league recently which ended 3-3 and honestly I’ve never played in front of so many fans. It was awesome.”

Essien’s parent club FC Halifax Town, meanwhile, head to Wembley Stadium on May 21 to take on Gateshead. The Shaymen won this competition in 2016 and are looking to make it two wins from two final appearances. They beat Altrincham on penalties to reach the showpiece event.

Essien, on the fringe of the first team squad at Halifax, will be hoping to travel down with the first team for the final, even if he isn’t directly involved. 

He said: “I train with the team most of the week in a morning and the training ground has been buzzing. Honestly, it’s been fantastic to see and that atmosphere has been great to be around.

“I’m hoping I can travel down on the team bus on the day, that would be an unreal experience. It’s a huge final for Halifax to play in and I really hope the lads can win it. 

“I’ve never visited Wembley at all and so it would be my first time. It would be a dream to go and I’m a bit jealous I can’t be involved!”


Despite all the excitement around the Shaymen, who can win a guaranteed £68,000 even if they lose the final, it’s Golcar and the match against Emley that has Essien’s full focus.

The teenager was the one to score the winning penalty against Maltby Main in the quarter-finals to set up the showdown with the Pewits. 

Essien added: “We know Emley are a good team, we know their strengths, but we have great players too. Hopefully my friends and family can come and see me play in the game if I’m picked because it’s going to be a great fixture.

“I was a bit nervous in the game but when it came to taking the penalty I wasn’t. I loved the fact I scored the winner. The atmosphere in dressing room was amazing and to see all the fans celebrating was brilliant.”

The energetic young player lives in Sheffield with his family. Growing up, Essien supported Tottenham Hotspur and one day dreams of playing at the highest level possible.

On how he started his career, Essien said: “I was on a football course at college in Sheffield and two years later I signed for Halifax Town. To me that’s crazy!

“I signed on as a second year scholar and last year signed a pro-contract for one year with the club having that extra year option. The club needs to decide on the extra year at the end of this season but hopefully my performances at Golcar have shown them I am worth keeping on. 

“I want to play at the highest level I can and obviously make a career for myself. I know it’ll take hard work though. I am just thankful to Golcar for giving me my first chance to play men’s senior football. I always dreamed of having the name on the back of my shirt and Halifax and Golcar have let me have that dream.

“I have learned so much already whilst being at Golcar. I have huge respect for (player-coach) Joe Skarz, the level he has played at and knowledge he has of the game. You can see how he reads the game, it’s just on another level. He has been so good with me and I’ll always remember what he has said to me.”

Essien has certainly impressed Golcar joint boss Ash Connor who said: “Sam is a terrific lad with a good attitude. He’s a good footballer who I think has a good career ahead of him. 

“Halifax wanted to get him out playing men’s football and we have given him that opportunity and he’s certainly done well here. Hopefully when he goes back there, they will extend his contract and he’ll steadily move more into the first team picture.

“I couldn’t speak more highly about the lad.”

Images of Sam Essien by SEAN DOYLE