SKIPPER Adam Hanson and team-mate Nathan Read will aim to complete a treble at AFC Sudbury before trying their luck in the USA.
Hanson led his side to a 4-1 victory over Walsham-le-Willows in the KBB NEFF Suffolk Boys’ Under-18 Midweek Cup at Portman Road on Thursday night.
AFC Sudbury, who have now won the competition four years in a row, had to come from behind after Jack Spampanato put their opponents into a sixth minute lead.
Ross Crane equalised six minutes later and two goals from Isaac Skubich in time added on at the end of the first-half put AFC Sudbury in control. Oliver Gravett added a fourth after 50 minutes to seal their success.
AFC Sudbury, the Thurlow Nunn Youth League South Division winners, will again meet Walsham-le-Willows, this season’s Central Division winners, in the play-off final at Diss Town FC next Friday.
Hanson and Read will then fly out to the States on Monday where they will spend six weeks playing for AC Connecticut, linking up with former AFC Sudbury player Callum Watson.
They will play in a series of development league matches in and around New York and see what happens before deciding on their futures.
Hanson said: “We had missed a couple of early chances and they probably scored against the run of play, but we got a goal back five minutes later and I felt we dominated the game and deserved our two goals before the break.
“Their keeper (Dan Stobbart) made a few good saves and deserves credit, but we didn’t take our chances until a great finish from Isaac for the second goal and then he scored again straightaway.
“That next goal is always important as it is hard to come back from three goals behind – it doesn’t happen very often although we have seen it twice this week (with Liverpool and Tottenham in the Champions League Semi-Finals) and I felt we were in control and dominated possession which was always our game plan.”
After facing Walsham in this final at Colchester United FC two years ago – AFC Sudbury winning 5-2 on that occasion – Hanson and his team-mates enjoyed the experience of playing at Ipswich Town FC.
Walsham-le-Willows' skipper Kehan Whitby leads up his side to collect their runners-up medals after last night's finals. Main image: Balls boys from Barham Athletic FC join in as AFC Sudbury celebrate their victory. Photographs: Ben Pooley
He added: “The pitch was much better (after the recent heavy rain) than I expected. I was an Ipswich fan when I was younger and a lot of our team are Ipswich fans, so it was a great experience to play at Portman Road.”
Walsham-le-Willows Manager Alan Harris said he was proud of his players and felt they did not deserve to trail by those two late goals at the interval.
He said: “We got off to a flying start and shocked them with the early goal and I felt 1-1 at half-time would have been fair – 3-1 was not a proper reflection of the first-half.
“We did well in the second-half and the fact they only scored one more goal says it all. Our concentrations levels could have been better at times, but I am proud of the team.
“They have won four games to get to the final at Portman Road against quality opposition, and you can’t ask for more than that. AFC Sudbury are a quality side.”