Recent experience gives Achilles edge
MANAGER Andy Coote says playing in a third CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-final in as many years gives his Achilles side an advantage.
Achilles face fellow Touchline SIL Senior Division side Henley Athletic in the last four at the Goldstar Ground, home of Felixstowe & Walton United, on Friday, kick-off 7.45pm.
Henley have never reached the semi-finals of this competition before, although they were losing finalists in the Suffolk Junior Cup in 2016.
Coote said: “The lads love this cup – we won the final two years ago and were losing semi-finalists last year – and have now made the semi-final again.
“It is an advantage playing in our third semi-final in three years. Last year we matched Woodbridge for 60 minutes before their fitness told in the last half-an-hour. Losing in the semi-final hurt the lads big time.
“The league was the one we wanted to win last season, after winning the Senior Cup the previous year, so it did soften the blow when we won the league.
“But there is not much bigger prize than playing at Portman Road in front of a big crowd, so I am hoping that we can play well and get to the final again.”
An all-SIL final between the title-chasing rivals would have been a mouth-watering prospect, but Coote is not concerned.
He said: “It would have been nice to have both clubs representing the SIL in the final, but you can’t determine how the draw will go, and whoever gets to the final I am sure it will be a good final.
“When we played Henley a few weeks ago we were complacent and didn’t turn up on the day, but it doesn’t matter who we come up against as we are capable of beating whoever we play.”
Achilles have so far beaten Haughley United (4-2), Debenham Leisure Centre (3-2) and Westerfield United (2-0) to reach this stage of the competition.
“The win against Debenham Leisure Centre was the one that stands out as we went down to ten men after half-an-hour and had to re-group and play well to go through.
“Haughley weren’t as strong on the day as they are now and Westerfield were well organised, but we got the job done.”
Coote should have a full-strength squad to choose from, although he is waiting on the availability of a couple of players due to work commitments.
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).