LIAM Hillyard proved he is a ‘big game player’ by firing Felixstowe & Walton United into the final of this season’s KBB NEFF Suffolk Premier Cup.
Hillyard scored twice for the Seasiders in their 3-0 victory over lower-league Stowmarket Town in Tuesday’s semi-final tie at Hadleigh United.
The centre forward produced a man-of-the-match display, scoring Felixstowe’s second goal in the 42nd minute and then confirming their place in the final with the third after 82 minutes.
Joe Francis had opened the scoring for Felixstowe after 37 minutes following an even opening to the game, which was postponed two weeks ago due to a waterlogged pitch.
Hillyard had a spell at Felixstowe two years ago before re-joining Touchline SIL side Achilles, for whom he scored both goals in their 2-0 semi-final victory over Capel Plough in the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup in 2017. He is pictured above taking on Stowmarket Town skipper Ollie Brown. Photograph: Thomas Bradford.
Felixstowe & Walton United Manager Ian Watson said: “I have had so many people tell me that he is an SIL player, but he has proved tonight that he is a big game player with two quality goals, and I am really pleased for him.”
Watson admitted it was an even game until Felixstowe took the tie by the scruff of the neck with two goals in the space of five minutes.
He said: “They looked dangerous when they hit us on the break when they played the ball up to (Josh) Mayhew and (Ollie) Canfer, but we also created chances and it was rewarding to score our first goal from a set piece as we have been working hard on that.
“They kept going even at 3-0, so credit to Stowmarket for that.”
The Seasiders can now look forward to the first final since 2014 when they face Leiston, who are managed by former Felixstowe player Stuart Boardley, at Portman Road on Wednesday, May 8th.
It is 20 years since Walton United lifted the Suffolk Senior Cup, winning 1-0 against Needham Market, the year before the merger with Felixstowe Port & Town.
Watson added: “Lots of people are still at the club, although sadly some are no longer with us who were a massive part of the club, but for those still involved the final will be an emotional occasion.
“It is something we will look forward to, especially as we will be up against Boards, what with his connections to this club, and Leiston.”