Junior Cup Final AFC Kesgrave Mutford Wrentham May 2023 1

Late goals win cup for AFC Kesgrave

AFC Kesgrave scored twice in the final 15 minutes to win the Suffolk Junior Cup.

AFC Kesgrave scored twice in the final 15 minutes to win this season’s Parkers Pitches Suffolk Junior Cup.

Goals from Dan Hall and substitute Ben Deacon secured a 3-1 success at Colchester United FC on Monday to condemn Mutford & Wrentham to a third successive final defeat.

The Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Division One side had the better chances over the course of the match, but AFC Kesgrave were more clinical in front of goal.

It was a second Suffolk Junior Cup success for the Macron SIL Division One side who also won this competition in the 2017-18 season.

The went ahead after 35 minutes, Matt Oldfield’s overhead kick finding the bottom corner of the net after a long throw from the right had been flicked on.

Junior Cup Final AFC Kesgrave Mutford Wrentham May 2023 2

Sam Clay (black & white striped shirt, No.10) equalises for Mutford & Wrentham after a mix-up in the AFC Kesgrave defence. Main photograph: AFC Kesgrave celebrate after being presented with the Suffolk Junior Cup. Photographs: Paul Voller

Their lead lasted just three minutes as right-back Charlie Bixby hesitated on the edge of his own penalty area, allowing Sam Clay to nip in and stroke the ball into the unguarded goal with keeper Oliver Waters out of position.

The North Suffolk side had opportunities to take the lead, but either shot straight at Waters or wide of the target.

Ben Deacon, the 37-year-old striker who was a prolific goalscorer for the likes of Debenham LC, Hadleigh United and Brantham Athletic, came off the bench in the second period to play a pivotal role.

Deacon won a flick on which Oldfield fastened on to, and although Louis Ayers saved his shot, the ball fell for Hall to ram home from 12 yards out in the 79th minute.

Junior Cup Final AFC Kesgrave Mutford Wrentham May 2023 3

Dan Hall (blue & red striped shirt, No.8) rams home the loose ball to put AFC Kesgrave 2-1 ahead in the 79th minute. Photograph: Paul Voller

Then in the first minute of five minutes of time added on, Deacon struck a 20-yard free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

AFC Kesgrave manager Frazer Lord said he felt a mixture of relief and excitement following his side’s victory.

He said: “I don’t think either side dominated the game, although they got on top for a spell in the second half, so we made a couple of changes and they seemed to work.

“Ben Deacon came on and won the flick on which we scored the second goal from and then scored the third himself.

“I am really proud of the players as they did everything we asked of them. We had to bide our time and then took our chances to finally get over the line.

“Fair play to Mutford – you can see why they have walked their league and been battering teams – but teams from the SIL are always competitive in this cup.

“I hope that this win can help us push up the league towards the top end of the table next season as well as putting together another good cup run.”

Junior Cup Final AFC Kesgrave Mutford Wrentham May 2023 4

Ben Deacon (blue & red striped shirt, No.16) scores the third goal for AFC Kesgrave from a free-kick in time added on. Photograph: Paul Voller

Mutford & Wrentham joint manager Ryan Grimmer said: “We thought it was going to be third time lucky, but it wasn’t to be.

“It is easy to say we had the better chances, but I do believe that we did and just didn’t take them.

“They seemed to want it more than us and credit to them as they were a good bunch of lads both on and off the pitch.

“I thought the officials were spot on tonight and the referee had a very good game, and I would like to thank Suffolk FA for putting the final on and enabling us to play in stadium like this.

“Hopefully we will be back again next year.”

Th  cup and medals were presented by Will Parker of competition sponsors Parkers Pitches, SIL Chair Keith Norton and Suffolk FA Chair Phil Lawler.


The Teams

AFC Kesgrave: Oliver Waters, Charlie Bixby, Owen Richardson, Emmett Klipalo, Andrew Garnham, Curtis Andrews, Kamron Lord, Dan Hall, Nabard Manund, Matt Oldfield, Chris Hammond. Used subs: Euan Childs, Sam Lyall, Rob Bird, Ben Deacon. Unused sub: Ben Dowdeswell.

Mutford & Wrentham: Louis Ayers, Dominic Smith, Nathan Moore, Jarred Blake, Chris Healey, Macauley Westoby, Jordan Gissing, Liam Harvey-Cooper, Sam Clay, Harley Thompson, Sam Atkins. Used subs: Jamie Besford, Declan McAvoy, Taylor Boyd. Unused subs: Ollie Hall, Kieran Cooke.

Referee: Paul Staddon.

Attendance: 285.

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