MANAGER Ralph Pruden said going a goal behind gave his Ipswich Town side ‘a kick up the backside’ in the HomeStore Self Storage Suffolk Women’s Cup Final.
Ipswich cancelled out Sophie Jeffrey’s 18th minute opener almost immediately through Natasha Thomas and captain Amanda Crump put them ahead before half-time in the final at Colchester United FC on Bank Holiday Monday.
Three goals in a ten-minute spell early in the second period from Sophie Welton, Lindsey Cooper and Thomas again underlined their superiority. Thomas (above left) is pictured being congratulated by her team-mates after her second goal. Photograph courtesy of Paul Voller.
Pruden said: “It wasn’t the performance I was hoping for. We knew we were overwhelming favourites and that they would raise their game.
“We didn’t hit our standards in the first-half when we were poor. We had a good 20 minutes at the start off the second half, but then dropped off after that.
“To be fair, going a goal behind helped us as it gave us a kick up the backside, although it was frustrating to concede in the final for the first time in the last four years.
“If they had kept us out until half-time then the pressure would have mounted on us, but we equalised straightaway.”
Following his side’s fourth straight win in this competition and sixth in seven seasons, Pruden said: “When I took over four years ago I looked at winning the county cup as a minimum requirement every season as I wanted us to become the dominant force in the county.
“We had just lost to AFC Sudbury in the semi-final the year before and Lowestoft were also on the rise as well, but we are now in a position where we are comfortably the strongest team which is something I am proud of, but we have to push on and be a beacon for the county, rather than just the top team.”
For AFC Sudbury Manager Natalie Golding it was her last game after 21 years with the club as a player, head coach last season before taking over as manager this season.
She said: “Full credit to Ipswich who are a good side, but we gave it a good go in the first 45 minutes and they realised they were in a competition.
“In the second-half their fitness told as we tired and it killed us, although we didn’t give up and I am proud of the girls.
“Fitness plays a big part when you don’t have the time to train, but the girls did their best. We haven’t had a proper game for a month, so we have tried to train more than once a week in the last couple of weeks.
“We had a great start, and even though they scored those two goals we were still in the game at half-time. But when the next two goals went in our heads dropped and when they got the fifth we locked up.”