JODIE Sharp netted a hat-trick as Needham Market reached the Suffolk Women’s Cup Final.
Lina Nagib also netted twice as Needham Market defeated AFC Sudbury Reserves 5-0 at Hadleigh United FC on Sunday to make it three finals in four seasons.
In the final they will face AFC Sudbury’s first team, who saw off Haverhill Rovers 3-1 at Bury Town FC thanks to a first-half hat-trick from Louiza Fernando de Silva.
Caitlyn Charles had two good chances for AFC Sudbury Reserves inside the opening ten minutes but shot over the crossbar on both occasions.
Nagib gave Needham the lead after 14 minutes and Sharp added the second two minutes later. Nagib scored a third in the 39th minute and Sharp made it 4-0 four minutes later, before completing her hat-trick seven minutes after the break.
Needham Marker manager Warren Lewis-Claxton said afterwards: “Whenever you play an underdog you know they will have something about them and they gave us a good battle.
“We had an early scare, but once we found our feet we scored two quick goals which settled us down.”
Lewis-Claxton said of Sharp: “She doesn’t seem to score the easy ones! She scores the harder ones and took her goals well. I was pleased with the way we worked the ball for a couple of our goals.”
AFC Sudbury Reserves (yellow shirts) in possession against Needham Market (red shirts) during their Suffolk Women's Cup Semi-Final at Hadleigh United FC on Sunday. Main photograph: Needham Market players celebrate taking the lead through Lina Nagib after 14 minutes.
Needham have already won promotion from Division One North of the Eastern Region Women’s League this season and are waiting to hear from the league whether they can reschedule their League Cup Quarter-Final tie against Haringey Borough after it was called off last Sunday due to Covid.
Looking ahead to the Suffolk Women’s Cup Final at Colchester United FC on Friday, May 6th, Lewis-Claxton said: “It’s unfortunate that Portman Road is not available, but you always want to play at a professional stadium and the girls are excited about going to Colchester United.
“AFC Sudbury always provide us with a good test, whether it’s in the league or cup, and they will be similar to their Reserves with a lot of young Academy players, so we are expecting a tough game, but I have every confidence that we can get a result and do the double.”
AFC Sudbury Reserves’ manager Stefan Mallett said: “We didn’t stop for the whole 90 minutes. It was always going to be a big ask for us, but the players gave it their all. I am very proud of them.
“We had two early chances and could have been 2-0 up inside the first ten minutes. If we had taken them it could have been a different game.”
AFC Sudbury Reserves: Rachel Weller, Ashtyn Newly, Tayla Stephenson, Brogan McHale, Hannah Stephenson, Georgia Thorpe, Beth Morrell, Katie Weller, Daisy Woodward, Caitlyn Charles, Hollie Kennard. Used subs: Aliyat Lambe, Jessica Egan, Chloe Hakan.
Needham Market: Dani Clarke, Niamh Thomas, Eloise Ward, Laura Bloomfield, Elle Catchpole, Nicola Henderson, Mia Etheridge, Lina Nagib, Abbie Fisher, Jodie Sharp, Molly Hall. Used subs: Ellie Rossiter, Lois Balfour, Jo Brawn. Unused sub: Nicole Pannifer.
Referee: Krzysztof Swiader.