Womens Cup SF AFC Sudbury Needham Mkt March 2024 1

AFC Sudbury book their place in final

AFC Sudbury will face Stowupland Falcons in this season’s Suffolk Women’s Cup Final.

AFC Sudbury will face Stowupland Falcons in this season’s MH Goals Suffolk Women’s Cup Final.

Jess Allen and Yasmin Drake each scored twice as AFC Sudbury defeated Needham Market 4-0 in Sunday’s semi-final at Bury Town FC.

The Yellows netted three goals in a 10-minute spell in the second-half to underline their superiority and knock-out the holders.

There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening period, but AFC Sudbury broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute, Allen racing clear of the defence to stroke home.

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Needham Market goalkeeper Amber Locker punches clear from an AFC Sudbury corner during Sunday's semi-final at Bury Town FC. Main photograph: AFC Sudbury celebrate scroing one of their three second-half goals

The second goal arrived in the 64th minute, Allen breaking clear down the right and crossing for Drake to steer home beyond Amber Locker.

It was 3-0 just three minutes later as Allen’s pass found Drake in acres of space to slot in, before Allen poked home the fourth from close range after Needham failed to clear.

AFC Sudbury manager Luke Mallett said: “I am over the moon really. From the first minute we tried to get the ball down and play and they dropped off us a little bit which played into our hands because once we settled and got the ball down, we got our passes going and patterns of play and I was really happy with the performance.

“Once we got that first goal it gave us confidence. I think everyone knows when Sudbury and Needham play it is a rivalry and a contested game and for our nerves the goal settled us down massively.

“When we came out for the second half they pushed us for the first two or three minutes and we got caught out a little bit, but once we got the second the goals were flowing after that and we settled into the game really well.”

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AFC Sudbury's Jess Allen (Yellow shirt, left) turns away to celebrate after scoring her side's fourth goal versus Needham Market.

Mallett was delighted to see strikers Allen and Drake each net twice after what has been a difficult first season following the club’s promotion to the FA Women’s National League.

“Goals in the league have been tough to come by sometimes and the step up has been tough, so to see our two strikers score it is important for them and for us as a club going into our last run of games,” he said.

The final will take place on a date and at a venue yet to be decided, but Mallet is already looking forward to the showpiece occasion.

“This cup means a lot for Women’s football and to see from where I started to where it is now with teams coming through and to have someone like Stowupland coming through means it will be a great occasion for both of us,” he added.


The Teams

Needham Market: Amber Locker, Nicole Pannifer, Ellie Rossiter, Amber Cantwell, Mia Etheridge-Golding, Leilah Gooding, Lina Nagib, Sheryce Salter, Molly Hall, Paige Wakefield, Lexie Pryke. Used subs: Lois Balfour, Hayley Kindred, Amie Posnett, Lucy Loomes. Unused sub: Laura Bloomfield.

AFC Sudbury: Millie Carter, Ronni Harrison, Kaylee Dodd, Leonnie Bezant, Aliyat Lambe, Amber Provan, Alex Penny, Ava Jouvenel, Yasmin Drake, Eva Frazzoni, Sophie Jeffrey. Used subs: Jess Egan, Jodie Donley, Maisie Goodwin, Chloe Brame, Jess Allen.

Referee: Sam Holman.

Attendance: 137.


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