ACHILLES have not been surprised by the success this season of CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Final opponents Woodbridge Town.
Touchline SIL Senior Division leaders Achilles face the Thurlow Nunn League Division One leaders in a mouth-watering last-four clash at the Goldstar Ground, home of Felixstowe & Walton United on Friday, kick-off 7.45pm.
Achilles Chairman Dave Morgan said: “We played Woodbridge in a friendly at the start of this season and recognised they had a good squad, particularly their centre forward Mark Ray.
“We would have been surprised if they were not going to be one of the frontrunners for promotion this season.”
Achilles lifted the Senior Cup for the first time in the club’s history at Portman Road last season, after a 2-1 success against league rivals Crane Sports.
The Ipswich-based club have overcome some tough hurdles in this season’s competition.
Achilles defeated higher-league Framlingham Town 3-0 in the first round, before winning 6-0 at 2016 winners Waveney.
They followed that up with two victories over fellow SIL Senior Division sides – a 5-4 win at AFC Hoxne before thrashing Felixstowe Harpers 6-1 in the quarter-finals.
Morgan said: “We played well against Framlingham who have got a good manager (Mel Aldis) and I am not surprised that it looks like they are going to be promoted this season.
“We met Waveney last season and had a decent (3-0) win, but although they were not as good a side this season, we put in an outstanding performance.
“We were 4-2 down at Hoxne and scored three times in the final 15 or 20 minutes to go through, and once we exited the Bob Coleman Cup, it placed more emphasis on the ‘real’ double which, of course, is winning the SIL Senior Division and retaining the Senior Cup.
“After an even 30 minutes against Felixstowe Harpers we scored twice before half time and after they had a player sent off early in the second half, the result was as good as decided.”
Achilles Manager Luke Hillyard, whose side have reeled off seven consecutive victories in which they have scored 35 times, is expected to have a full-strength squad at his disposal.
Morgan added: “Danny Garrad, who has Eastern Counties League experience, has had a spell when he can’t stop scoring, including some outstanding goals.
“Liam Hillyard has had an in-and-out season with one or two injuries, but we are hoping he is back in the saddle now and he will repeat his form he showed last season.”
Achilles defender Matt Ryland (red & black striped shirt) tussles with Crane Sports striker Adam Blades (blue & black striped shirt) during last season’s final at Portman Road.
Admission will be £5 for adults and £3 for OAPS and children under the age of 16
A souvenir programme, priced £1, will also be on sale.