LAKENHEATH manager Ben Cowling wants to win the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup to maintain the club’s momentum.
The West Suffolk club have been one of the most progressive in the county in recent seasons, and victory in Bank Holiday Monday’s final will see cement that upward curve.
Lakenheath, who have just been promoted to the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division for next season, take on Bildeston Rangers at The New Croft in Haverhill, kick-off 12 noon.
Bildeston shocked holders Ipswich Wanderers in the semi-final, winning 2-0 to reach the final for the first time in the club’s history.
It will be Lakenheath’s third final in the last ten years, the club losing 1-0 to Whitton United in the 2010-11 season, before thumping Ipswich Valley Rangers 7-0 in the 2014-15 campaign.
Cowling said of Lakenheath’s opponents: “I saw Bildeston play earlier in the season versus Haughley United in a friendly. I was there to watch Haughley who we had drawn in the Senior Cup, so by a happy coincidence I have seen Bildeston play.
“I have also spoken to other managers and watched them on Youtube, so we have a fair idea of what to expect.
“I think we have to play our game. This and every game should be about ourselves. We have strengths and we are aware of their strengths and will certainly talk about them, but ultimately it is about us playing the way we want to play.
“It is a one-off game of football and anything can happen. Ipswich Wanderers man-for-man on paper have better players than Bildeston, but on the pitch Bildeston Rangers won.
“We have all been in football long enough to remember when Wimbledon beat Liverpool in the (1988) FA Cup Final.
“But if we play to our potential we should win, but there are no guarantees. There are things you can control and things you can’t control.
“But if we do our jobs properly nine times out of ten we will come out with the result in our favour.”
Cowling has only been involved in one final previously – as a player with Haverhill Rovers in 2001-02 when they led Kirkley 3-2 with five minutes remaining before losing 4-3 after extra time.
“At the start of the season our targets were to win promotion and the Senior Cup. This will be our third final in the last ten years and we have only won once previously, so there is an opportunity to make some history.
“It has been such a difficult year for anyone trying to put on games of football, especially in the National League System with the rules and regulations to make facilities safe and the responsibility that entails.
“We want to go there on Monday and lift the trophy for everyone involved in the club – the players, the committee and the spectators – and keep our momentum going since moving across from the Cambridgeshire League.
“We finished fifth in our first year, we won our first FA Vase game last season and were going well in the league before lockdown and we have carried that on this season by winning promotion.
“It all helps in terms of sponsorship and player recruitment if we can keep that momentum going.”
Lakenheath's Kaine Manels (light blue shirt) is pictured above bringing the ball away during their 4-1 semi-final victory over Framlingham Town (green & white hooped shirts) at AFC Sudbury. Photograph: Neil Dady
Tickets for the final can be purchased by clicking here
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