LITTLE Oakley are preparing for a “truly special occasion” and another slice of history as they get set to host their first-ever floodlit fixture.

The club’s new lights are in place and will be used for the first time when West Essex visit for an Essex Senior Cup second-round tie tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

It represents the “final piece in the jigsaw” in terms of the Memorial Ground’s development, having been upgraded to meet the criteria for Thurlow Nunn League football.

And proud chairman Michael Good is hoping for a bumper turnout on what he says will be a special occasion for his Oakley team.

“I can speak on behalf of everyone at the club in saying none of us thought the day would come when we’d be playing home matches under floodlights,” he told the Gazette.

“It’s the final piece in the jigsaw and our ground development is now complete, with the final testing of the lights having been carried out last week.

“All the tests were successful and the paperwork has now been submitted to the FA and Thurlow Nunn League.

“We’re ready to go and would like to thank the committee at Little Oakley Memorial Club and the local residents for their support, together with the everyone who has committed their time and money to the project."

Oakley and unbeaten Framlingham Town drew 3-3 in the Thurlow Nunn League first division on Saturday, with Pat Tynan scoring a brace for the Acorns.

Harry Mann was also on target.

It took them to four points from their opening seven matches, having been promoted as last season's Essex and Suffolk Border League champions.

“The first few weeks have been a steep learning curve for us but we’re now even more determined to make sure we have a sustainable football future at this level," added Good.

“It will be a truly special occasion tonight and we hope all local football fans come along to what will be an historic match for the club."

Elsewhere in the Essex Senior Cup, WIVENHOE TOWN entertain Burnham Ramblers tomorrow night, at the GMP Plant Hire Stadium (7.45pm).

Other ties of note have been scheduled for later in the month, with STANWAY ROVERS visiting Basildon United, FC CLACTON hosting Southend Manor and COGGESHALL TOWN going to Hullbridge Sports on September 19.

A date is yet to be fixed for the Stansted v HALSTEAD TOWN tie, although the Humbugs have a home date with Hullbridge Sports in the Tolleshunt D'Arcy Memorial Cup tonight.