THE Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final provides the perfect platform for Stowmarket Town to bounce back.
Stowmarket meet higher-league Leiston in this season’s first semi-final on Wednesday evening at Bloomfields, home of Needham Market FC, kick-off 7.45pm
And manager Paul Musgrove will be looking for the right sort of reaction from his side to Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Aveley in their Pitching In Isthmian North top-of-the-table clash.
The Suffolk side had what they believe was an equalising goal wrongly ruled out in injury time, with defeat leaving Stowmarket in third place six points behind leaders Aveley but with two matches in hand.
Musgrove says there is no better place than Wednesday’s last-four tie – Stowmarket’s third consecutive Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final – to recover from that disappointment.
Stowmarket haven’t reached the final of this competition since the 1996-97 season, when they lost 1-0 to Newmarket Town after a replay, with their fourth and most recent success a 1-0 victory over Haverhill Rovers back in 1991-92.
Musgrove said: “Saturday’s game was a big top-of-the-table game which we were hoping to get something from. They scored an early goal and we reacted really well and equalised.
“It was very much a stalemate thereafter until they scored late on and then we scored a 92nd minute goal that was onside but was ruled out.
“You have to bounce back pretty quickly and there is no better place to do that than in a cup semi-final.
“It will be good to pit ourselves against a top-ten team from the league above, which is something we want to do, and a cup semi-final gives us a great opportunity to do so.
“It will be interesting for me as a manager to see how my players react to a little bit of disappointment. We have gone on good runs without losing matches, so I will see what character they have got to step back up and produce which is where good teams become great teams.”
Joe Jefford misses out with a foot injury sustained in the 3-0 quarter-final win at Lakenheath, while loanee Ben Hunter is not able to play against his parent club and Manny Osei is cup tied after appearing for Felixstowe & Walton United in this season’s competition.
Disappointment is etched on the faces of Stowmarket Town players as Joe Francis (red shirt, No.7) heads Felixstowe & Walton United into the lead in the two sides’ Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final clash at Hadleigh United in the 2018-19 season. Stowmarket also lost in the final four the following season. Photograph: Thomas Bradford.
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