STOWUPLAND Falcons made it back-to-back wins in the Parkers Pitches Suffolk Junior Cup Final.
Substitute Jack Minns pounced to score the only goal of the game for the Macron SIL Division One side in the 78th minute to condemn opponents Mutford & Wrentham to their second loss in successive finals.
Just as last season’s final between the two teams was a tight affair, so was Saturday’s showpiece occasion at the Jobserve Community Stadium, home of Colchester United FC.
Mutford & Wretham, who went undefeated in Division Four of the Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination on their way to winning the title, almost took the lead after just six minutes.
Centre forward Ryan Davies’ snap shot from 25 yards struck the base of Stowupland goalkeeper Dale Watling’s right-hand post before bouncing to safety.
Mutford keeper Louis Ayers dropped a left-wing cross from Andrew Cason, but Ryan Rampley’s shot struck fellow striker Craig Simpson and deflected wide, before Rampley got goalside of his marker and sent the ball across the face of goal.
Mutford & Wrentham (white shirts) apply pressure on the Stowupland Falcons' (yellow shirts) defence during the first-half of Saturday's final. Main photograph: Jack Minns (yellow shirt, No.12) squeezes his shot home to win the cup for Stowupland Falcons. Photographs: Paul Voller
Nelson Carinhas had a shot blocked after Harley Thompson had laid the ball off and Morgan Jones had two follow-up efforts strike defenders as Mutford searched for a goal just before the break.
Mutford created the best chance of the second half after 75 minutes when Thompson burst down the right and crossed for Jordan Gissing, but he glanced his header wide of the target.
They were made to pay three minutes later when Baxter Smith’s 35-yard free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar by Ayers and Minns controlled the rebound before squeezing his shot home.
Mutford had appeals for a penalty turned down as the 90 minutes were up and Stowupland defender Luke Ranson was sent off after receiving a second yellow card, both for fouls, deep into the six minutes of added on time.
Stowupland Falcons celebrate after being presented with the Parkers Pitches Suffolk Junior Cup. Photograph: Paul Voller
Stowupland Falcons manager Mark Dye said: “It was a very cagey game with not many chances and neither keeper was tested for long periods.
“Winning the cup last year was a great experience, but I wanted to win it even more this year as we weren’t at our best last year and I wanted us to give a better show.
“I have got a brilliant squad with some really good attacking players, but it was one of those games where there was no space to get in behind them.”
Match-winner Minns admitted he was disappointed not to start and Dye said: “Jack has been superb for us. He knows he was in line to start today, but I wanted a more physical presence to give their two centre backs something to think about so went with Craig Simpson.
“With the way the game was going it needed someone with more movement to come deeper and it paid off.”
The cup and medals were presented by Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal.
Stowupland Falcons: Dale Watling, Blake Richards, Sam Bobby, Ryan Titlow, Dale Nobloe, Luke Ranson, Callum Lee, Baxter Smith, Craig Simpson, Ryan Rampley, Andrew Cason. Used subs: Jack Minns, Will Miles, Rueben Bailey, Jack Yaxley, Tom Lewis.
Mutford & Wrentham: Louis Ayers, Morgan Jones, Jamie Besford, Jarrod Blake, Chris Healey, Ryan Grimmer, Nelson Carinhas, Ryan Davies, Harley Thompson, Sam Atkins, Jordan gissing. Used subs: Callum Jones, Josh Williams, Stefan Carinhas, Ollie Hall, McCauley Westoby.
Referee: Paul Kitson.