Woodpeckers retain cup with late goal
AN INJURY-TIME winner saw Woodbridge Town Reserves retain the Portable Space Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup.
Jack Newman kept his cool to slot home in the 94th minute as the Woodpeckers defeated Beccles Town 2-1 in Saturday’s final at Maltings Meadow, home of Bungay Town FC.
Woodbridge goalkeeper Ben Maidens conceded and then saved a twice-taken first-half penalty from Rob Bishop, who he had brought down as the striker went round him mid-way through the first half.
The result was a repeat of the scoreline in the delayed 2019-20 final when these two sides met at Lowestoft Town FC last September.
Ryan Keeble (obscured) gives Woodbridge Town Reserves (red shirts) the lead against Beccles Town Reserves (white shirts) in the Portable Space Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Final at Bungay Town FC. Main photograph: Woodbridge Town Reserves celebrate with the cup. Photographs: Paul Voller
It was Thurlow Nunn Reserve League side Woodbridge who started the better and Liam Silver struck the base of a post with a daisy-cutter in the tenth minute, and three minutes later Beccles keeper Tom Wickham made a fine save to deny Ryan Keeble’s swerving shot.
Wickham was called into action again in the 17th minute, saving from Luke Mallett at close range after he ran onto Keeble’s pass, before Beccles passed up a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead.
Maidens got a strong hand to Bishop’s first penalty, high to his left, to palm it away, only for the referee to signal for it to be retaken as he moved too soon.
This time Bishop went low to the opposite corner, but Maidens dropped on the ball to make a fine double-save to atone for conceding the spot kick.
Bishop’s shot landed on the roof of the Woodbridge net and then Wickham saved at the feet of Keeble, but the Woodbridge winger got the better of the keeper four minutes before the break, slotting home after playing a one-two with Mallett.
Lewis Holland saw his shot arc just beyond the far post as the Beccles centre back joined the attack as the opening half came to a close.
Callum Grimmer (facing camera) is congratulated after equalising for Beccles Town Reserves against Woodbridge Town Reserves in the Portable Space Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Final at Bungay Town FC. Photograph: Paul Voller
Bishop was just off target on the half turn early in the second period and Maidens and his defence managed to scramble clear as Beccles, who play in Division Three of the Anglian Combination, threatened soon after.
Nathan Woods then couldn’t keep his header down from Bishop’s left-wing cross before Callum Grimes arrived unmarked at the back post to thump the ball into the roof of the net for a 77th minute equaliser.
Mallett thought he had won it for Woodbridge with a smart first-time finish from a right-wing cross by Jake Hughes, but the assistant’s flag was raised for offside.
However, with the prospect of penalties looming Mallett hoisted a high ball into the Beccles box and after Wickham failed to gather, the ball broke to Newman to shoot into the unguarded net.
While it was heartbreak for Beccles for a second successive season, Woodbridge’s win secured a third Senior Reserve Cup success for manager Aren Howell in four seasons.
Beccles Town Reserves: Tom Wickham, Josh Reliy, Ewan Gallagher, Callum Grimmer, Lewis Holland, Sam Raven, Finley Boreham, Rob Bishop, Nathan Woods, Steve Bee. Used subs: Jack Gallagher, Callum Holmes, Lee Squires, Kevin Waterman. Unused sub: George Dormedy-Horn.
Woodbridge Town Reserves: Ben Maiden, Lamon Hayes-Sparks, Lewis Smy, Joe Baldry, Aaron Churchyard, Joe Allum, Luke Mallett, Jack Newman, Liam Silver, Ethan Broom, Ryan Keeble. Used subs: Jake Hughes, Matthew Bloom, James Hubbard. Unused subs: Tyler Howell, Josh Leech.
Referee: Regan Bradshaw.
Woodbridge Town Reserves players mob Jack Newman after his 94th minute goal against Beccles Town Reserves saw the Woodpeckers retain the Portable Space Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup with a 2-1 win in the final at Bungay Town FC. Photograph: Paul Voller