BOTH teams have extra motivation to win Wednesday night’s CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Final.
Ipswich Wanderers and Henley Athletic were the losing semi-finalists in the 2018-19 competition – and both will be aiming to erase the memory of those defeats in their delayed 2019-20 last-four tie.
Wanderers went down 2-1 to eventual runners-up Cornard United, while Henley missed out 5-4 on penalties following a goalless draw with current holders Achilles.
Now Wanderers, who play in Thurlow Nunn League Division One North – one step higher up the Non-League pyramid than Macron SIL Senior Division side Henley – meet head on at King George V, home of Whitton United, kick-off 7.45pm.
James Buckle, joint manager of Ipswich Wanderers, said: “We didn’t rise to the occasion. Goldy (joint manager Mark Goldfinch) and myself were probably more nervous watching than we would have been playing.
“We showed Cornard too much respect, but I don’t think we will do that this time.
“Now we have been there and experienced it we are more relaxed this time around.”
Buckle saw Coplestonians reach the final at the expense of Crane Sports in last Friday’s other semi-final, Cops winning 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at Needham Market FC.
He said: “Everyone had Cranes down as favourites on Friday night, but usually the team that works hard and defends well will come out on top and I felt Cops fully deserved to win.
“I don’t see us as favourites. I don’t know what team they will put out but we are expecting an even game with both sides wanting to win and reach the final.”
Henley Athletic manager Liam Bevis (pictured above) said: “I don’t think I will need to say too much to the players before the game as all bar a couple of them played in that semi-final against Achilles.
“Clark Bruce missed a penalty during normal time and then we lost on penalties, so the players will be motivated from within to reach the final this time,” he said.
Bevis, who was joint manager with Sam Behnamnia who stepped down during the summer with Chris Rogers returning to the club as his assistant, is not concerned about facing higher-league opposition.
He continued: “Three of the sides to reach the semi-finals this season are SIL sides, so the proof is in the pudding in that respect.
“We know they have some good players like Danny Thrower up front and Rhys Barber at the back, but so have we, regardless of what league both teams play in.
“I think we can mix it with the best at our level, including sides in Division One of the Thurlow Nunn League.”
Bevis has a full-strength squad of 16 players to choose from, apart from summer signing James Watling from Debenham LC.
Wanderers will be without summer arrivals Matt Blake (Stowmarket Town), Tom Driscoll (Old Newton United) and Charlie Howlett (Hadleigh United) who are all cup-tied.
However, Buckle said that Jack Severy, who left the club at the end of last season, is available after he re-registered and Wanderers are likewise waiting on a couple of other players to see if they will feature.
Tickets are available for the tie by clicking here