MANAGER Andy Coote said Achilles had made up for the disappointment of last year after winning their CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Final.
Achilles defeated Henley Athletic 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in Friday night’s semi-final at the Goldstar Ground, home of Felixstowe & Walton United FC, in front of a crowd of 342.
The reigning Touchline SIL Senior Division champions were indebted to goalkeeper Danny Crump, who saved a second-half spot kick from Clark Bruce, before Jamie Cowan lifted his penalty over the bar in the shoot-out to seal victory for Achilles, whose players are pictured above rushing towards Crump after the shoot-out. Photograph: Paul Voller.
In the final Achilles will face higher-league Cornard United, who defeated fellow Thurlow Nunn League Division One North opponents Ipswich Wanderers 2-1 at Hadleigh United FC on Friday evening.
Coote said: “We started well, but then rode our luck a couple of times in the first 20 minutes when they hit both the bar and the post, after we had made mistakes.
“We then settled into the game and kept them out, but we had one cleared off the line and a goal just wouldn’t come for us.
“I didn’t feel their penalty was a penalty, but our keeper had done his homework and made a good save.
“I thought the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game over the 90 minutes. Henley probably had more clear-cut chances, but we controlled the game after the opening 10-20 minutes.
“It would have been harsh on either side to lose in normal time, but then it was tough for Henley to lose like that on penalties.
“We had practised penalties at training on Wednesday night and I didn’t have to ask them who wanted to take them.”
Achilles players are pictured above celebrating after their penalty shoot-out victory while referee Reg Barker consoles Henley's Athletic's Jamie Cowan, who missed his spot kick. Photograph: Paul Voller
Achilles, who lifted the cup in 2017, lost to eventual winners Woodbridge Town 3-1 in last season’s semi-final at the same venue.
“This makes up for last year when we lost to Woodbridge, who were fitter and some of our players went missing, but this time everyone did their job.
“The boys deserve it after the season we have had, so I am really happy for them.
“We don’t know much about Cornard, but that may make for a very good final.”
Henley Athletic Joint Manager Sam Behnamnia said: “When we hit the bar and post early on you start thinking is it not going to be our day, but you try to stay positive.
“I thought we edged it over the 90 minutes. There was purpose to our play and the way we wanted to impose ourselves.
“Achilles worked extremely hard, but were a one-trick pony in getting the ball forward and trying to win flick-ons.
“We defended really well and I was delighted by the way we played, but it just wasn’t our day.”