IPSWICH Wanderers Manager Mark Goldfinch admitted he is more nervous about Friday’s CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Final than any big games he played in.
Goldfinch, who was appointed manager in December 2017, will lead his side into their last-four tie versus Cornard United at the Millfield, home of Hadleigh United FC, kick-off 7.45pm.
Wanderers will be bidding to reach their first Senior Cup final since losing to Whitton United in 2014, a year after winning the trophy following a penalty shoot-out against the same opponents.
Goldfinch, who played for Wanderers before joining Leiston and also turned out for Hadleigh, said: “I would rather be playing than watching.
“I am more nervous about Friday than big games that I played in. As manager you lose control once the players cross that white line. It is then up to them.”
Wanderers knocked out Crane Sports 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw, before beating fellow Thurlow Nunn League Division One North sides Needham Market Reserves (3-0) and Haverhill Borough (2-0) to reach this stage.
Goldfinch admitted: “The Cranes tie could have gone either way, but we went through on penalties, and then we had two games we were probably expected to win.
“We have hit a good run of form and are four unbeaten, although three of those have been draws, but if we had converted our chances in those games we would have won them.”
Another Thurlow Nunn League Division One side await in the semi-finals, with Wanderers (9th) and Cornard (11th) separated by just one point.
Goldfinch continued: “We have had similar seasons and will probably finish where we should both be. We have both been focussing on this game in recent weeks with the outcome the be all and end all. It will be a tight game.”
Wanderers defeated Cornard 6-0 at home in mid-August before losing 4-0 in the return match the following month.
Goldfinch said: “In the home game we were 2-0 up in the first ten minutes and it was one of those days when everything went in. They had a change of management and players by the time we played them again.
“I think we turned up with the mentality that we would win as we had won 6-0 against them already. Although it was not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests, they deserved their victory.”
A Portman Road final appearance would be welcome after what has been a tough couple of years for the Humber Doucy Lane club.
“It has been difficult behind the scenes for one reason or another which the club are trying to sort out. For the players who have stuck with us, particularly from last season, it is an opportunity to play at Portman Road.
“I played there three or four times in my 20-year career, but they may not get this chance again, so you have to take the opportunity when it comes along,” added Goldfinch.
Joe Berry rolled an ankle playing for the club’s Under-18 side a couple of weeks ago and is struggling to be fit, otherwise Goldfinch has a full-strength squad to choose from.
CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Finals: Achilles v Henley Athletic at Felixstowe & Walton Utd FC (7.45pm), Cornard Utd v Ipswich Wanderers at Hadleigh Utd FC (7.45pm).