STOWUPLAND Falcons have been blown away by reaching the Parkers Pitches Suffolk Junior Cup Final again.
The holders will renew rivalries with Mutford & Wrentham, the side they defeated 2-1 in last season’s showpiece, in Saturday’s final at Colchester United FC, kick-off 5pm.
Stowupland Falcons manager Mark Dye said they will be doing their utmost to capitalise on their good fortune, after quarter-final opponents Wickham Market were removed from the competition having inflicted a 3-0 defeat on his side.
Dye said: “After reaching the final last season and enjoying the whole experience to be in another final this season, which is being held at Colchester United’s ground, has blown us away. The excitement has once again created a massive buzz around the club.
“Throughout any cup competition every team needs a piece of luck on the way, and we do have a lot of respect for Wickham Market who have wished us the best of luck, but this opportunity has given us renewed passion to do everything possible to capitalise on our good fortune.”
After being reinstated Stowupland Falcons overcame Tattingstone United 3-1 in their semi-final tie and Dye said: “Tattingstone played a superb game; they pressed us early and didn’t let us settle, so for long periods we had to dig in.
“To soak up pressure and then take our chances which showed a level of professionalism and workmanship needed to defeat a very good side, for me that’s a pleasing side we’ve added to our game.”
Dye does not feel that his side have a psychological edge following last season’s victory in the final at The New Croft in Haverhill thanks to Craig Lockwood’s 92nd minute winner.
“Absolutely not. Mutford have just won their league going undefeated and they will be doing their upmost to revenge the result from last season, so there is no complacency whatsoever, it’s quite the opposite.
“They have beaten some good sides so we will respect them, but we know we will have to be at our very best. We will be saying to our players to enjoy the build-up but to stay focused.”
Mutford & Wrentham manager Paul Rose, who has been involved with the club for 23 years, said he was surprised to reach the final for a second season in a row.
“It’s a fantastic achievement and one I’m a little surprised at. Just after Christmas I didn’t feel we were quite at the same level as last year, but the lads have once again shown their determination and made it all the way.
“I think by making the final a second time we have demonstrated that we are up there and competing consistently with the top sides in the county and we are a genuinely good side at this level.”
Mutford & Wrentham were also 3-1 winners in their last-four tie versus Cavendish – a match in which the performance of the three teenagers in his side pleased Rose.
“The most pleasing aspect of the semi-final was the professional way in which we controlled the game. We knew very little about Cavendish, but we were confident enough to assert ourselves on the game from the very beginning.
“At one point I watched our three teenagers we had out that day combine down our left. That moment gave me huge satisfaction to see the next generation playing without pressure in such an important game.”
Rose is expecting the outcome of Saturday’s match to be as close as last season’s final.
“Last year’s game was so close it really could have gone either way. Because it was so close, I think both teams can feel confident of being in with a huge shout, but equally know they could end up on the losing side on the day.
“I feel that we can draw confidence from last year knowing that we only have to do a couple of things better to get the win.
“Stowupland, on the other hand, can feel confident knowing they beat us before, but they’ll not be complacent – they are brilliantly managed and have loads of experience.
“It’s a real 50/50 game and I don’t see either side running out winners by a big margin,” he said.
Ryan Rampley (yellow shirt) is pictured forcing home the equaliser for Stowmarket Falcons in last season’s final against Mutford & Wrentham (white shirts) at The New Croft in Haverhill. Photograph: Paul Voller.