TWO former team-mates will go head-to-head in the Portable Space Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Final.
Beccles Town Reserves’ manager Paul Storey and Woodbridge Town Reserves’ manager Aren Howell previously played together for Suffolk Country FA Under-18s.
Saturday’s final, which is being held at Maltings Meadow, home of Bungay Town FC, is a repeat of last season which saw the Woodpeckers win 2-1 at Lowestoft Town FC after trailing at the interval. Action is pictured above from last season's final as Beccles Town (yellow shirts) and Woodbridge Town (black & white striped shirts) contest a header at Crown Meadow.
Storey said: “It was my second game as the Reserves’ manager against Woodbridge in the final last season, so I’m looking forward to playing Woodbridge again to see where we are now compared to last season.
“No-one likes to lose and be runners-up so that should be enough to motivate the players.
“It’s a great achievement to reach the final for the second year running, we have had some good games against some strong opposition and also it’s given the players something to train for once our season became void.”
Storey is expecting his side, who were playing in Division Three of the Anglian Combination before the season was cut short, to have a good following at the final.
“The semi-final was the first time we have had spectators at our game for a long time and we were very well supported, so I expect there will be lots of people travel the short distance to cheer us on,” he said.
It will be a third final in four seasons for Woodbridge Town Reserves manager Aren Howell, who was also a winner with Felixstowe & Walton United in the 2017-18 campaign.
He said: “This season has been the most challenging yet. The pandemic has certainly caused me many a headache with player availability, so I am delighted to reach the final where we will face one of my old team-mates, manager Paul Storey, as we both played for Suffolk at U18 level.
“Playing Beccles again is great but trying to keep my players grounded and motivated is another level. Beccles will be looking to seek revenge for last year’s final and with so many player changes I’m in no doubt it will be an exciting final.”
Howell said he will be treating the final as ‘just another game’ for his side who play in the Thurlow Nunn Reserve League.
“Reaching another final is always a bonus, but I treat this as just another game. Running a reserve team has its own challenges from season-to-season with player loyalty.
“I’m lucky as many of my players have stuck by me over the last few seasons. With the introduction of several U18s this season, I’m very pleased with how my squad has interacted and developed and long may this continue.”
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