Sunday, May 5, 2013. A date that will live long in the memory for Newport County AFC as the Club returned to the Football League after a 25-year absence.
Led by the late great Justin Edinburgh, in his first full season in charge, the Exiles saw off Welsh rivals Wrexham 2-0 at Wembley thanks to goals from Christian Jolley and Aaron O’Connor to clinch promotion from the National League – then called the Conference Premier.
The Club are still going strong in SkyBet League Two having created many magical memories along the way, but what happened to the heroes from seven years ago?
First we take a look at Christian Jolley, who opened the scoring that day.
The striker joined the Club on loan in November 2012, from League Two outfit AFC Wimbledon and hit the ground running with five goals in four league games.
That led to the Dons recalling the striker before the two clubs found an agreement to make the deal permanent in the following January.
He became a mainstay in the team that season, often pairing with Aaron O’Connor or Danny Crow in attack, scoring 13 goals in 24 league games.
He continued his form into the play-offs, scoring against Grimsby Town in the semi-final second leg and Wrexham in the final. His efforts were also rewarded with a place in the Conference Premier Team of the Season alongside David Pipe.
Jolley started where he left off in August 2013, scoring the Club’s first league goal on their return to the Football League in a 4-1 victory over Accrington Stanley.
However, a groin injury halted his momentum and he struggled to regain his form following surgery. His only other goal that season came in a 2-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers at Rodney Parade.
The striker was in and out of the team in the 2014/15 season and joined Forest Green Rovers on loan in September 2014, with Edinburgh saying: “First and foremost he needs the minutes, but I think we owed it to Christian to allow him to do that, to try and get back to his best.
“It’s the right time to do that and hopefully Christian can rediscover his goal touch.”
Jolley failed to find the net at the New Lawn and on returning to County he couldn’t force his way back into the side. The two parties reached an agreement in January 2015, to terminate his contract having scored 17 goals in 72 appearances.
"I'd personally like to wish Christian all the best for the future and I speak for everyone at the club when I say that,” said Edinburgh.
“Christian was sensational on his loan period with the club and continued that right through to the early part of last season, after his operation we tried everything to get him back to full fitness and rediscover the form he once had.
“Christian was one of the major factors in our promotion and we wish him all the best."
Jolley joined Grimsby Town for the remainder of the season and helped them reach the Conference Premier play-off final where they were beaten 5-3 on penalties by Bristol Rovers.
In March 2015, Jolley was inducted into the NCAFC Hall of Fame.
He spent the following season at Margate before moving to Hampton & Richmond Borough in 2016, where he went on to make over 70 appearances in midfield – helping the Club go on an impressive 21-game unbeaten run in 2017 and early 2018.
The Englishman, who made one appearance for England C, followed manager Alan Dowson to Woking in the summer of 2018, but after persistent injury problems he was forced to retire last summer.
But he remains a big figure at the club as a coach and with Woking doing well in the National League, it will certainly be interesting to see what the future holds for Christian.
Stay tuned for our next feature of "Where are they now?" next week!