STRONG words at half-time led to Walsham-le-Willows lifting this season’s Days Sports Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup.
Opponents Stowmarket Town were the better side in the opening 45 minutes of Tuesday night’s final at The Denny Bros Stadium, home of Bury Town FC, but Walsham took their chances in the second period and ran out 3-0 winners.
Sweetly-struck shots from Taylor Waterson after 68 minutes and Nathan Birch in the 82nd minute, both following right-wing corners, and an unfortunate own goal by Stowmarket goalkeeper Liam Trickey in time added on gave the final score a flattering look.
His opposite number, Walsham's 16-year-old Dan Stobbart, who is pictured above, had a good game including one superb save right at the death and afterwards drew praise from Stowmarket Town Manager Craig Brown.
It is the second time that Walsham, who were successful in 2014, have won this competition, while it was a second successive defeat in the final for Stowmarket in their third final in a row.
Walsham-le-Willows' goalscorers Taylor Waterson (left) and Nathan Birch (centre) with Luke Pattison, whose shot went in off Stowmarket goalkeeper Liam Trickey for the third goal, are pictured with the trophy after the game. Photograph: Paul Voller
Walsham-le-Willows Manager Andy Atkins said: “We came into the final as underdogs as we are a young side and it was a case of making best use of the players we have got.
“Our two experienced centre backs (Nathan Birch and Chris Brock) helped us out in the first-half when we were under pressure and we had strong words at half-time and sorted it out.
“We were much better in the second-half and the youngsters gave us the impetus to go forward and once Taylor Waterson scored the first goal with a great shot we got on top of them and were the better team.”
Stowmarket Town Manager Craig Brown said: “We knew they are a good side so it wasn’t going to be easy, but if we had taken our chances before half-time it would have been a different outcome as the first goal was always going to be crucial.
“Walsham were the better team in the second-half and deserved it – they won every first and second ball and we can’t argue with the result.
“Their goalkeeper (Dan Stobbart) was superb. He has played for their first team and you can see why, and I haven’t seen a keeper as good as that for a long time. I am sure he will go a lot higher as he was the best player on the pitch.”