IPSWICH Wanderers produced a stirring second-half display to reach the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Final.
Henley Athletic deservedly led 1-0 at the interval, before Wanderers rallied in the second period to win 2-1 in Wednesday’s delayed 2019-20 last-four tie at Whitton United FC.
Jamie Cowan swept the Macron SIL Senior Division side into a 22nd minute lead from Clark Bruce’s low right-wing cross, and Henley were good value for their lead at the break.
But Wanderers drew level just two minutes into the second period, Rhys Barber scoring from close range following Jack Severy’s deep diagonal free-kick from the right.
The Thurlow Nunn League Division One North side then got on top and looked the more likely to win it, with Henley offering little threat going forward.
With the prospect of penalties looming Connor Field arrived in the box to glance home Danny Thrower’s right-wing cross in the 81st minute to clinch victory for Wanderers.
Connor Field (blue shirt) heads home the winning goal for Ipswich Wanderers in the 81st minute. Main Photograph: Field (left) runs away to celebrate scoring as team-mate George Mrozek and Lewis Kincaid rush to congratulate him. Photographs: Paul Voller
Both these sides had reached the semi-finals of the 2018-19 competition only to both bow out, Wanderers losing to Cornard United and Henley to current holders Achilles.
Ipswich Wanderers joint manager Mark Goldfinch said: “A lot of the boys had played in that game and you know what it is like when you get to the semi-final and don’t quite make it, so I think it has made up a little bit for that game.
“To get to the final of any competition is always a good feeling and I have never been to the final (of this competition) myself as a player and it is my first one as a manager.”
Jamie Cowan (red shirt) sweeps home a right-wing cross to put Henley Athletic ahead against Ipswich Wanderers. Photograph: Paul Voller
Goldfinch acknowledged that Henley had ‘rattled’ Wanderers in the first half and scoring just after half time had helped deflate their opponents.
“We didn’t do anything that we had planned to do – keeping the ball, passing the ball, even the execution of simple passes just wasn’t on.
“They played with the wind and played it really well. I think they rattled us early on and got under our skin. We just needed a chat at half time and to re-organise a few things to set us on our way.
“There’s always key times to score in games and either just before or after half-time can deflate a team. We got the goal at the right time and pushed on from there,” he said.
Rhys Barber (blue shirt) turns away to celebrate after converting from close range to equalise for Ipswich Wanderers in the 47th minute. Photograph: Paul Voller
Henley Athletic manager Liam Bevis said: “I thought my boys played exceptionally well in the first half. The game plan was to play Clark Bruce in a false nine, which worked, and we got at their back four.
“In the second half the tide turned, they scored inside the first ten minutes and then we had our backs up against the wall and we really didn’t recover from that.
“It is disappointing as we went in 1-0 up and ended up losing the game 2-1, but someone has to lose on the night and unfortunately it was us.”
Henley Athletic: Liam Jones, Ross White, David Shore, Josh Caraccio (sub Jordi Dye, 58 mins), Mark Storey, Arran Sheppard, Arron Bull (sub Robbie Smythe, 83 mins), Byron Tejano, Clark Bruce, George Ablitt (sub Liam Ablitt, 74 mins), Jamie Cowan. Unused subs: Louis Elliston, Arron Beal.
Ipswich Wanderers: Craig Brand, Nathan Speed, Lewis Kincaid, Sam Cheetham, Gavin Flurrie, Rhys Barber, Jack Severy (sub Marcus Taylor, 65 mins), Michael Barwick, George Mrozek, Danny Thrower, Connor Field. Unused subs: Panashe Mundawara, Jamie Curran, Darius Laws, Mark Goldfinch.
Referee: Jordan Sandwell.