TWO late goals saw Lakenheath clinch the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup.
Bildeston Rangers had kept their higher-league opponents at bay before conceding in the 89th and 95th minutes to lose 2-0 in Monday’s final at The New Croft in Haverhill.
It was substitute Kelvin Enaro who unlocked the Bildeston defence, crossing for Tom Thulborn to glance home a header, before slotting home the second goal five minutes later.
The final looked like it was heading for a penalty shoot-out until those two late goals broke brave Bildeston’s hearts.
Victory for Lakenheath was their second in the competition – they also lifted the cup in the 2014-15 season – and capped off a memorable season following their promotion to Step 5 next season.
That the Thurlow Nunn League Division One North side had to wait until almost the end of normal time to open the scoring was down to a superb display by Bildeston goalkeeper Charlie de-Lara-Bell.
He kept out everything that Lakenheath threw at him and his personal duel with Thulborn, who he denied on a number of occasions, was a highlight of the match.
Whereas Macron SIL Senior Division side Bildeston relied on set pieces to provide a goal threat, time and again Lakenheath were thwarted by Bildeston’s last line of defence.
De-Lara-Bell was called into action inside the opening minute to save from Thulborn and just three minutes later he tipped over a rising drive from Shaun Avis.
There was a scare for Lakenheath when Sam Sharp’s deep free-kick forced Charlie Beckwith to step behind his goalline to catch, with some supporters close by claiming it had crossed the line.
Thulborn sliced wide when well placed and then Ryan Weaver burst into the Bildeston box, riding a couple of tackles as he did so, but he was unable to get enough power on his toe-poke to beat de-Lara-Bell.
The keeper than thwarted Thulborn twice in three minutes just before the break.
Kaine Manels was off target early in the second period, before giving way to Enaro, whose pace down the left flank started to cause Bildeston problems.
Beckwith, as he had done in the first-half, had to fist away a dangerous Chris Cowan corner, before a flag kick at the other end saw de-Lara-Bell save from Scott Callaghan and then from Enaro.
Avis then saw his header come back off the crossbar from Reece Clarke’s left-wing corner and the ball was cleared off the line in the resulting goalmouth melee.
With time running out Thulborn was once again denied by de-Lara-Bell, before he then glanced home from close range following Enaro’s left-wing cross.
Sharp’s right-wing corner then struck the face of the crossbar in time added on, and with de-Lara-Bell out of his goal after joining the attack, Thulborn sent an effort from the half-way line on to the top of the net.
With five minutes added time played, Enaro broke clear to slide the ball beyond the keeper to confirm Lakenheath’s victory. Lakenheath players are pictured above celebrating with the cup. Photograph: Paul Voller
Neil Lancaster represented competition sponsors CNet Training at the presentation ceremony.
Bildeston Rangers: Charlie de-Lara-Bell, Alfie Smith, Sam Sharp, Trev Vinyard (sub Dale Munson, 90+5 mins), Tim Rix, Shane Wanmer, David Lorimer, Daryl Alexander, Chris Cowan (sub Kalum Benham, 86 mins), Lloyd Dodsworth, Nathan Styles (sub George Buxton, 50 mins). Unused subs: Stu Brooks, Ben Goodchild.
Lakenheath: Charlie Beckwith, Finley Logan, Alex McIntosh, Sam Hawley, Casey Underwood, Scott Callaghan, Ryan Weaver (sub Rhys Mazey, 83 mins), Reece Clarke, Shaun Avis, Tom Thulborn, Kaine Manels (sub Kelvin Enaro, 59 mins). Unused subs: Evan Banks, Teddy Webber.
Referee: Chay Hathway.
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