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Cup win completes Stowmarket treble

STOWMARKET Town Under-23s completed a treble by winning the Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup.

STOWMARKET Town Under-23s Manager Craig ‘Jimmy’ Brown’s decision to stay with the club because he had ‘unfinished business’ has been rewarded with winning a treble

His side beat Beccles Town Reserves 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Friday night’s Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Final at Leiston FC to add the cup to both the Thurlow Nunn U23 League title and League Cup.

Elliott Ballard stroked home the winning penalty as Stowmarket netted all five of their spot kicks, with Luke Bates, James Graham, Igor Grabowski and Will Wharton-Richardson also netting.

Aaron Jones, Nathan Woods, Steven Bee and Ryan Newman all scored for Beccles, but James Gill’s effort was saved by Robbie Lee to condemn Beccles to a fourth final defeat in five seasons.

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Ryan Newman (white shirt, No.4) heads Beccles Town Reserves into the lead in Friday night's final. Main photograph: Stowmarket Town's Igor Grabowski coolly lifts the ball over Beccles keeper Lewis Riches for the equaliser. Photographs: Paul Voller

It was Newman who headed Beccles into a 69th minute lead from close range following substitute Bee’s right-wing cross.

However, Stowmarket were level just eight minutes later, Grabowski racing clear of the defence and coolly lifting the ball over the advancing Lewis Riches.

Stowmarket Town U23s manager Craig ‘Jimmy’ Brown said: “We don’t do it the easy way! I think we deserved it overall. They are an experienced side, who are quite physical, and we have a few 16-and 17-year-olds.

“The lads have done me proud. The club have never won a treble before, so that’s a great achievement, and hopefully these lads will get the chance of first-team football next season that they deserve.”

It looked as though Stowmarket may suffer a fourth final defeat in seven seasons after they fell behind, before Grabowski’s equaliser.

Brown said: “I thought we should have been one or two up in the first-half, but they probably shaded the second-half. We got into good areas but didn’t put our chances away.

“Igor took his goal very well. He has only just turned 17, but he has been class all season. He has a great attitude for a youngster - he is humble and always puts a shift in.”

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Stowmarket Town U23s goalkeeper Robbie Lee saves James Gill's penalty kick in the shoot-out

Brown revealed the players had practised taking penalties at training earlier in the week.

“We practised them on Tuesday night. We didn’t practise them before the semi-final and scraped through (4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw with Brantham Athletic) but it paid off tonight.

“Our keeper made some good penalty saves at training and he saved one tonight. It is always a lottery when it goes to penalties, but I went with my experienced players,” he said.

Brown made his 500th appearance for the club - second only to Matty Platt - when he came on as a substitute in the 5-1 quarter-final win at Henley Athletic Reserves.

He said: “I have been involved with the club since I was five-years-old and have played 500 games for Stowmarket. I had a couple of offers at the start of the season, but after finishing fourth last year I had unfinished business, so I stayed, and now we have won the treble!”

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Stowmarket Town U23s celebrate after being presented with the cup. Photograph: Paul Voller

Beccles Town Reserves manager Charlie Bowen said: “It is massively disappointing to lose any football match, but to lose a cup final on penalties is always hard to take.

“I thought Stowmarket started the better. They were sharper than us early on, but we grew into the game and by the end of the half we were the better team.

“We continued to be the better team in the second half, but once it goes to penalties it becomes a lottery.”

After taking the lead with around 20 minutes remaining, it looked like Beccles may end their quest to finally lift the trophy after three final defeats in the previous four seasons.

Bowen said: “It doesn’t matter how long you have left to play - it could only be a minute, but it only takes a few seconds to score a goal.

“Apart from one that was cleared off the goalline that was the only chance they had in the second-half.

“We will try to come back and win it next year.”

The cup and medals were presented by Suffolk FA Chair Phil Lawler.


The Teams

Beccles Town Reserves: Lewis Riches, Jamie Bennett, Ben Ward, Ryan Newman, Lewis Holland, Jack Gallagher, Nathan Woods, Woody Butcher, James Gill, Ewan Gallagher, Noah Barnett. Used subs: Steven Bee, Aaron Jones, Chris Husband. Unused subs: Charlie Newport, George Dormedy-Horn.

Stowmarket Town U23s: Robbie Lee, Mileeq Banya, Jude Yaxley, James Graham, Jordan Asker, Will Wharton-Richardson, Luis Fernandes, Alfie Nunn, Elliott Ballard, Igor Grabowski, Ethan Turner-Wilson. Used subs: Sam Collinson, Jack Wharton-Richardson, Luke Bates. Unused subs: Makia Carpenter, Mesach O’Connor.

Referee: Alexandre Filipe Martins De Silveira.


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