TWO GOALS in the space of three minutes early in the second-half saw Felixstowe & Walton United win this season’s Days Sports Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup.
There was no further scoring as the Seasiders defeated holders Stowmarket Town 2-0 in the final at Bloomfields, home of Needham Market FC, on Wednesday night.
Harry Archer put Felixstowe ahead in the 50th minute and goalkeeper Ben Hicks dropped the ball over his own line from Archer’s header for the second.
Felixstowe’s victory came just four days after the club’s first team clinched promotion from the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division and the night after a record-breaking attendance of 1,541 at the Goldstar Ground for their league game against Coggeshall.
It was the Seasiders’ first success in this competition since the inaugural 2006-07 season, and denied Stowmarket back-to-back victories after lifting the cup last season.
Felixstowe threatened early on as Shane Forbes saw his shot saved by Hicks and the towering Joe Allum twice saw headers thwarted from right-wing corners by Archer.
A good move down the Felixstowe left ended with Lewis Main’s shot being deflected for a corner and Allum poked over from the resulting flag kick.
The last action of the first-half saw Ben Smith send a shot across the face of the Felixstowe goal following a free-kick that was only half-cleared.
Three minutes after the interval Archer came close to breaking the deadlock when he received a pass from Joe Hunt, who impressed after coming on as a substitute, and cut inside but clipped his shot the wrong side of the near post.
Stowmarket did not heed the warning as just two minutes later the left winger cut inside again and this time found the bottom corner inside the near post with a right-foot shot
Felixstowe doubled their advantage in the 52nd minute, Macaulay Howell’s deep cross was headed upwards by Archer and as the ball dropped, Hicks failed to gather and it ended up in the back of the net.
Hicks made partial amends almost immediately, Archer once again shifting the ball onto his favoured right foot and forcing a diving save low to his left from the keeper.
Hunt’s well-judged through ball set Jake Preston clear but he lifted his shot over the crossbar as Hicks rushed out to meet him as Felixstowe looked to put the game to bed.
Preston had the ball in the net after 74 minutes, but the goal was disallowed for a foul, before Stowmarket almost clawed one back.
Dan McLaughlin’s right-wing corner was met with a powerful header by Hawri Abdulrahman, but Ben Punter produced a splendid reaction save and Howell then cleared off the line.
At the other end Hunt’s crossfield pass picked out Archer and when he knocked the ball back into the middle, Hunt netted but the flag was already raised for offside.
The livewire Hunt almost added a third in the 87th minute, but Hicks dived full length to keep out his header from Archer’s corner, before Jerome Primus sent a well-struck shot into the arms of Punter.
That was the last of the action as Felixstowe defeated their fellow Thurlow Nunn Reserve League side to claim the silverware.
The cup and medals were presented by Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal. The Felixstowe players and management team are pictured celebrating above. Photograph courtesy of Paul Voller.
Felixstowe & Walton Utd: Ben Punter, Macaulay Howell, Will Ransom, Lee Burns, Lewis Owen, Joe Allum, Lewis Smy, Shane Forbes, Lewis Main, Sam Seggar, Harry Archer. Used subs: Jake Preston, Joe Hunt, Rory Porter. Unused subs: Ryan Garnham, Josh Horton.
Stowmarket Town: Ben Hicks, Dan McLaughlin, James Ingham, Jerome Primus, Craig Brown, Will Adams-Newton, Ash Holmes, Josh Capocci, Ben Smith, James Storey, Hawri Abdulrahman. Used subs: Finn Carrington, Joe Tricker. Unused sub: James Graham.
Referee: Ken Reeves.