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Bury Town end AFC Sudbury’s domination of Suffolk Under-18 Midweek Cup with late winner from Ben Curtis





Bury Town have ensured AFC Sudbury’s domination of the Suffolk Under-18 Midweek Cup is over for now.

The Blues came from behind to defeat AFC Sudbury 2-1 in their semi-final at Stowmarket Town FC on Thursday evening.

AFC Sudbury had reeled off seven consecutive victories in the competition since the 2015/16 season.

Bury Town Under-18s and their managerment team, led by Jimmy Jolland (far left) and Daren Hayward (second from right) following their 4-1 home defeat to Charlton Athletic in the FA Youth Cup first round Picture: Neil Dady/Bury Town FC
Bury Town Under-18s and their managerment team, led by Jimmy Jolland (far left) and Daren Hayward (second from right) following their 4-1 home defeat to Charlton Athletic in the FA Youth Cup first round Picture: Neil Dady/Bury Town FC

The only occasion they didn’t win it was in the 2019/20 season when the competition was suspended due to Covid.

AFC Sudbury took the lead in Thursday’s last-four tie only for Bury Town to equalise almost immediately through Alfie Lee, one of several former Cambridge United Academy players in their side.

The score was 1-1 at half-time and it stayed that way until 10 minutes from the end when Ben Curtis netted the winner from a tight angle.

Ben Curtis, celebrating scoring against Charlton Athletic in the FA Youth Cup, proved to be Bury Town’s match winner against AFC Sudbury Picture: Neil Dady/Bury Town FC
Ben Curtis, celebrating scoring against Charlton Athletic in the FA Youth Cup, proved to be Bury Town’s match winner against AFC Sudbury Picture: Neil Dady/Bury Town FC

Daren Hayward, who is Bury’s joint manager with James Jolland, said: “To say we are proud of defeating AFC Sudbury is the tip of the iceberg.

“The lads have had a very successful season with getting through to the first round of the FA Youth Cup.

“They had a great experience playing against Charlton Athletic and have now followed that up with beating AFC Sudbury in the semi-final of this competition on a neutral ground.

“We were the underdogs going into the match, which is something the boys are not used to, but they are a strong group and are familiar with the AFC Sudbury players and vice versa.

“In fact, they were probably not as worried about playing AFC Sudbury as we were, but we felt we had a very good chance from the get-go and the tag of underdogs was part of that momentum.”

Bury Town’s only previous appearance in the final of the competition resulted in a 3-1 loss to AFC Sudbury in the 2017/18 edition.

“They are the Blue Riband club in Suffolk at this level. Bury Town aspire to be, but we don’t have an education programme directly linked to the club any more like we used to.

“But this group of boys have been together for several years now and that shows in their performances,” added Hayward.

Bury Town will now play either Haverhill Rovers or Walsham-le-Willows in the final on a date and at a venue to be decided.

Haverhill Rovers booked their place in the second semi-final following a 3-0 victory over Stowmarket Town on Thursday evening in their delayed quarter-final tie.

The semi-final will take place at Mildenhall Town FC on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Advanced tickets can be purchased, as it can for their other competitions, via Suffolk FA’s event page.

Meanwhile, Leiston FC will host this season’s Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Final.

The final will be between Beccles Town Reserves and Stowmarket Town Under-23s and be held at the Waston & Hillhouse Victory Road Stadium on Friday, May 10 (7.45pm).

Beccles Town Reserves beat Walsham-le-Willows U23s 3-0 in their semi-final, while Stowmarket Town U23s won a penalty shoot-out 4-2 following a 2-2 draw with Brantham Athletic U23s.