Premier Cup Final Needham Market Felixstowe & Walton April 2024 4

Horlock: We want to make it five in a row

NEEDHAM Market manager Kevin Horlock wants a fifth straight Suffolk Premier Cup success.

NEEDHAM Market manager Kevin Horlock wants a fifth straight Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup success.

The Marketmen made it four wins in a row thanks to Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory over Felixstowe & Walton United at the OCS Ram Meadow Stadium, home of Bury Town FC. No team has ever won five on the bounce.

And Horlock said that Needham will not be looking at the competition as a ‘sideshow’ next season, even though the club will be playing in National League North or South for the first time.

Horlock said: “I want five now. I am proud be manager of this group of players and be at a club like Needham. It is a club on the rise that has been built properly from the foundations up.

“We don’t splash the cash and work within our budget, and we recruit good players who work hard for each other and listen and learn and take it out onto the football pitch.

“This is for them. It is a special moment for the football club and we are already thinking about next season and we are going to give it a right good go and we will want to retain this and make it number five.”

Premier Cup Final Needham Market Felixstowe & Walton April 2024 5

Needham Market striker Seth Chambers (yellow shirt) sends his header back across goal and past Felixstowe & Walton United goalkeeper Danny Crump, but his effort was cleared off the goalline by Kryan Clements. Main photograph: The ball strikes the Seasiders' crossbar from Tommy Smith's left-wing cross. Photographs: Paul Voller

Asked if it would be more difficult to win the competition with the demands of playing at Step 2 of the Non-League pyramid, Horlock replied: “To be fair we will always give it the respect it deserves.

“We want to be the best non-league club in Suffolk and we are. The divisions say that and winning the Premier Cup is another thing that adds to it, so to win it four times is important, and we won’t be looking at this competition as a sideshow. It will be something we want to retain and keep winning it as often as we can.”

Horlock admitted the sending off of Seasiders’ midfielder Josh Hitter two minutes into the second half was a pivotal moment in the match.

“It did change the game and gave them a mountain to climb, but I think the outcome was going to be the same anyway without being arrogant. We are better than what we showed tonight, but we didn’t have to be at top tilt.

“We had a couple of chances that on another day they go in, but it wasn’t to be, but we were here for the long haul tonight if we had to be. We did it last year against Stowmarket. It didn’t go all our way then and it didn’t go all our way tonight.

“We couldn’t find that elusive first goal which would have made it a more comfortable night for us but in the end, we didn’t really get out of first gear.

“However, to get over the line and to win the double is something special for Needham and all the people in the club,” he said.

Premier Cup Final Needham Market Felixstowe & Walton April 2024 6

Felixstowe & Walton United defender Kyran Clements (right) gets back to hook the ball off the goalline from Needham Market striker Seth Chambers' downward header just before half-time. Photograph: Paul Voller

Felixstowe & Walton United boss Stuart Boardley said: “I am disappointed with the result, but am I disappointed with players? Absolutely not.

“We spoke at the end and I am incredibly proud in how they fought to the end and kept going, played the right way and played some decent stuff and I couldn’t be prouder of them as a group.

“It has been a difficult 10-14 days with various injuries, various issues going on off the pitch and losing our goalkeeper on Saturday and then coming up against a very good Step 2 side now.

“So the odds were against us, but I thought until the sending off it was a really good game of football.

“I thought it was a very even first-half and both sides had a couple of chances and both sides should have done better with one of them.

“They had one cleared off the line and we had one where we’ve gone through one-on-one and put it wide, so it was a great game of football that unfortunately turned out to be a damp squib in the end.”

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