While Sam Finley couldn’t celebrate a win on his 26th birthday on Saturday, he did make his Football League debut.

Midfielder Finley came on in the second half with the Reds were already trailing Gillingham 2-0 in the Sky Bet League One opener at the Wham Stadium.

“Playing in the Football League is something I have always wanted to do,” said Finley, who was skipper of Fylde in the Vanarama Conference last season.

“To jump up two leagues, from the Conference to League One, was brilliant for myself and my friends and family who have played big part in my career.

“I am made up the gaffer had faith in me but massively disappointed with the result.”

Finley did make an impact but Stanley couldn’t find a way through a solid Gills defence.

“We lost game in the first half, I thought Gillingham were decent, but I thought I did ok when I came on,” continued Finley.

“Maybe with them being 2-0 down they sat back and tried to defend their lead so it might have looked like I played a little bit better than I thought but I might be being harsh on myself.

“I just tried to add some energy into the side and I thought we were close to getting a goal a couple of times.”

Finley admitted he was surprised to even being on the teamsheet after the Reds won League Two last season and John Coleman had made five additions to the squad over the summer.

“A few lads missed out, we had some good players sitting in the stand, but it’s always good to get my name on teamsheet.

“I wasn’t expecting to come on, I am new to the club so I didn’t really know how the gaffer worked in regard to substitutions, but he changed the shape to 3-5-2, which was a bold decision and, like I said,  I thought we were unlucky not to pinch one and put pressure on them in the last five minutes.

“The result did put a bit of a dampener on my birthday but I went out in Manchester with a few of the lads which was pre-arranged.

“It did leave a bitter taste at the time though but it’s gone now and we go again next week at Bristol Rovers.”