TWO sweetly-struck shots paved the way for Walsham-le-Willows to win the Days Sports Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup.
Walsham took their chances when they came to defeat fellow Thurlow Nunn Reserve League side Stowmarket Town 3-0 at The Denny Bros Stadium, home of Bury Town FC, on Tuesday night.
Taylor Waterson put them ahead after 68 minutes, before Nathan Birch doubled their advantage in the 82nd minute. An unfortunate own goal by Stowmarket goalkeeper Liam Trickey in time added on gave the final score a flattering look.
It was Walsham’s second victory in the competition, after previously lifting the cup in 2014, and a second successive final loss for Stowmarket, who were appearing in their third final in a row.
Taylor Waterson fires Walsham-le-Willows ahead in the 68th minute with a sweetly-struck volley against Stowmarket Town. Photograph: Paul Voller
It was 32 minutes before either side managed a shot at goal, Stowmarket skipper James Graham’s shot striking the crossbar and dropping for Sam Turner, who looked certain to score until a superb block by Chris Brock.
Elliot Ballard then cut in from the left and forced a diving save from 16-year-old Walsham keeper Dan Stobbart, who got to the rebound first before Sam Turner.
Five minutes before the break Ballard’s effort was blocked and fell for Alex Clarke, whose rising drive was tipped over the bar by Dan Stobbart, who has made a handful of appearances for the club’s first team this season.
Walsham grew into the game more after the interval as they grew in confidence and they duly took the lead mid-way through the second period when Waterson connected cleanly with a near-post right-foot volley following Konnor Dixon’s right-win corner that whistled inside the post.
Walsham-le-Willows celebrate after Taylor Waterson's opening goal in the final against Stowmarket Town. Photograph: Paul Voller
They added a second with eight minutes remaining, Dixon’s corner this time falling for Birch on the edge of the box to drill beyond Trickey and into the corner of the net.
There was little the Stowmarket keeper could do about the third goal three minutes into injury time when substitute Luke Pattison’s drive struck the post and then hit the keeper before ending up in the net.
There was still time for Dan Stobbart to produce a wonder save, flying across goal to his left to keep out a header from substitute Jack Minns to preserve his clean sheet.
The cup and medals were presented by Keith Mills, the owner of Days Sports who ironically is also the chairman of Walsham-le-Willows FC, and Phil Lawler, who is chairman of Suffolk FA.
Stowmarket Town Reserves: Liam Trickey, Will Adams-Newton, Ben Licence, Sam Goddard, Jacob Barnard, Tom Goddard, Ash Holmes, James Graham, Sam Turner, Elliot Ballard, Alex Clarke. Used subs: Jordan Turner, Julian Castell, Jack Minns. Unused subs: Louis Fargher, Adam Grocutt.
Walsham-le-Willows Reserves: Daniel Stobbart, George Lilley, Taylor Waterson, Nathan Birch, Chris Brock, Darren Atkins, Harvey Hubbard, Konnor Dixon, Matthew Strike, Luke Bates, Lewis Kemp. Used subs: Jonny Robinson, Will Stobbart, Matt Glover, Joe Mower, Luke Pattison.
Referee: Chay Hathway.