MANAGER Andy Coote admitted he would have been ‘furious’ if his Achilles side had surrendered a three-goal lead in the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Final.
Achilles led Cornard United 3-0 as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, before winning 4-3 following four goals in time added on in a thrilling finish to Friday night’s final at Portman Road.
Goals from Gavin Van Oene (penalty) and Lee and Dave Grimwood appeared to put Achilles on course for a comfortable victory.
After Cornard had Lewis Blanchett sent off, even though Charlie Hayes reduced the deficit, substitute Ryan Wragg added a fourth for Achilles in the 92nd minute.
Ryan Wragg (red & black striped shirt, No.12) scores Achilles' fourth goal in the final against Cornard United. Photographs: Paul Voller
However, in a dramatic finale Andy Schofield and substitute Ezra Drann scored within a minute of each other to make the final score 4-3.
Coote (pictured above) said: “That was typical of us; when we are winning 4-1, we want to score five or six, but we got caught out and if it had ended up 4-4 I would have been furious with them. It certainly made me nervous.
“At 3-0 it looked like game over, but then they got one back before we then scored another straightaway. We over-committed and, credit to them, the players they brought on made an impact.”
It was Achilles’ second win in three years in this competition – they were also losing semi-finalists last season – and Coote said the lure of a Portman Road showpiece inspires his players.
Andy Schofield (partially obscured) heads home Cornard United's second goal past Achilles goalkeeper Danny Crump.
He said: “The fact that the final is played here and it is a good day out makes it a competition my players want to win.
“We have beaten Debenham Leisure Centre, Haughley United and then Henley Athletic in the semi-final on penalties to reach the final, so that shows how much the players wanted to get to the final again.
“As I said before the final these boys deserve to win something this season for their efforts and I am really proud of them.”
Experienced duo Andy Crump and Dave Grimwood were both playing their final matches before hanging up their boots, and Coote said he will now have to rebuild his squad.
“Andy Crump and Dave Grimwood have been brilliant for Achilles and I would like to think I can talk them round to change their minds, but if not I am going to have to do some work in the summer to bring players in for next season.
“It may be a case of building another squad next season, but it will be an exciting challenge,” he said.
Cornard United substitute Ezra Drann (blue shirt, No.17) races clear of the Achilles defence to make it 4-3 in the dying seconds of the final.
Cornard United Joint Player-Manager Matt Grove, who along with Michael Schofield was taking charge for the last time, said he was proud of the way they fought back.
“If it had been five minutes longer who knows we could have nabbed another and made it 4-4 and taken it to penalties. The boys dug deep and did really well towards the end and we can walk off the pitch with our heads held high.
“I have no idea what happened; it was one of those crazy things that has been happening in football this week with Liverpool and Tottenham and we kind of thought it could be happening again here.
“We turned it on towards the end and there were a few tired legs on Achilles part. We put away a few of our chances but we had a lot more chances that we didn’t put away so it could have been a different story today.”