Womens Cup SF Needham Mkt East Bergholt Utd April 2023 1

Needham aim to right the wrongs in final

NEEDHAM Market will aim to right the wrongs of previous Suffolk Women’s Cup Finals.

NEEDHAM Market will be looking to right the wrongs of their previous three MH Goals Suffolk Women’s Cup Finals.

They comfortably beat East Bergholt United 6-1 in Sunday’s semi-final tie at Humber Doucy Lane, home of Ipswich Wanderers FC, to reach their fourth final in five years.

Lina Nagib opened the scoring with a powerful strike from distance after 25 minutes, before East Bergholt keeper Zoe Adams let Mia Etheridge’s shot slip from her grasp for the second nine minutes later.

Nagib added a third, again from outside the penalty area, to make it 3-0 at half-time, and Lois Balfour saw her spot kick thump against the East Bergholt crossbar early in the second period.

Molly Hall powerfully headed home the fourth from a right-wing cross in the 63rd minute and Jodie Sharp’s cross-cum-shot dropped under the bar nine minutes later.

Sharp, who netted a hat-trick at the same stage of the competition last season, added the sixth with a low cross shot in the 83rd minute.

East Bergholt, who play a league below Needham Market in the East Region Women’s Football League, scored a consolation through Jade Horne’s well-taken effort four minutes from time.

The Division One South side were hampered by only having 11 fit players – their only named substitute, Ella Karkoska, was injured – and Jess Quinsee had to bravely play on despite a shoulder injury.

Womens Cup SF Needham Mkt East Bergholt Utd April 2023 2

Needham Market's Lois Balfour (No.9) sees her penalty strike the East Bergholt United crossbar and come back into play. Main photograph: Mia Etheridge (centre) is congratulated by Lina Nagib (left) after scoring Needham's second goal.

Needham Market Manager Warren Lewis-Claxton said afterwards: “It is always difficult in the county cup when you play teams from different tiers in a different competition.

“Credit to East Bergholt as they never gave up and got a goal, but we definitely did enough to win the game.”

He agreed it was a comfortable victory but said: “It took us a while to get to that position, but three goals in quick succession gave us a comfort blanket and we knew we could push on from there.

“We could afford to take our foot off the gas at that stage, even though we didn’t.”

Needham will have to wait and see who their opponents will be in the final as the tie between Bungay Town and Brett Vale, also postponed last weekend, has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 16th at Walsham-le-Willows FC.

Looking ahead to the final Lewis-Claxton added: “We are looking forward to righting the wrongs and hopefully finally getting our hands on the trophy which has eluded us for a little bit too long.”


The Teams

Needham Market: Daisie Gibbs, Nicole Pannifer, Charlotte McGrath, Lois Balfour, Mia Etheridge, Lina Nagib, Eloise Ward, Lindsey Cooper, Jodie Sharp, Molly Hall, Niamh Thomas. Used subs: Eva Hubbard, Poppi Nunn, Jo Brawn Leilah Gooding, Amber Cantwell.

East Bergholt United: Zoe Adams, Vicki Studd, Harriet Meers, Charlie Roach-Smith, Jess Clark, Millie Wilding, Stacey Desborough, Jess Quinsee, Nicole Leppard, Jade Horne, Tamsin Miller. Unused sub: Ella Karkoska.

Referee: Keith Phair.

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