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Thurston look to end historic season by beating Woolverstone United in Suffolk Junior Cup Final at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road





Thurston boss Martin McConnell wants his players to show why they are champions as they look to take the final step to immortality by lifting the Parkers Pitches Suffolk Junior Cup trophy at Portman Road.

The village side from near Bury St Edmunds will take on fellow Macron Suffolk & Ipswich League (SIL) Division One outfit Woolverstone United at Ipswich Town FC on Monday (7.30pm) looking to win the county trophy for the first time in the club’s history, having lost finals in 1963/64 and 1997/98.

The current Bluesocks team, led by captain Jamie Barclay, will be looking to complete the double at the now Premier League stadium, having romped to back-to-back promotions to the SIL Senior Division – the highest level in their history – as champions without losing a game.

Thurston FC manager Martin McConnell (front row) with his league-winning team Picture: Martin McConnell
Thurston FC manager Martin McConnell (front row) with his league-winning team Picture: Martin McConnell

And ahead of what is set to be his last game in charge after two-and-a-half seasons, McConnell, known as ‘Macca’, wants his players to create another unforgettable memory to cap off a magical season.

“For me, just to lift that Junior Cup would be amazing because I’ve lost four semi-finals and to finish on a high, to do the double, especially with the group of lads I’ve got, I would be proud for the village and the club,” he said.

“I know a lot of people rant and rave about Ipswich teams but to put Bury and Thurston on the map and to do the double with local lads, it’s times they’re going to remember forever.

Thurston FC captain Jamie Barclay (left), Kieran Waller (centre) and Luke Austin (right) after being presented with the Marcron Suffolk & Ipswich League Division One trophy Picture: Martin McConnell
Thurston FC captain Jamie Barclay (left), Kieran Waller (centre) and Luke Austin (right) after being presented with the Marcron Suffolk & Ipswich League Division One trophy Picture: Martin McConnell

“I think the main thing with our team is the team spirit and morale they’ve got.

“So just go out and enjoy it and make as many memories as you can because you never get these times back. Enjoy the day, but make sure you win.”

Thurston have already beaten eighth-place Woolverstone, located south of Ipswich on the Shotley peninsula, twice this season – 3-0 at home and 3-1 away – though McConnell will not be letting his players take their threat lightly.

“It will be tough, don’t get me wrong, we don’t take any cup game as an easy game,” he said.

The Thurston team, led by manager Martin McConnell (back row, far right) are in the hunt for a league and cup double after booking their place in the the Parkers Pitches Suffolk Junior Cup Final Picture: Neil Dady
The Thurston team, led by manager Martin McConnell (back row, far right) are in the hunt for a league and cup double after booking their place in the the Parkers Pitches Suffolk Junior Cup Final Picture: Neil Dady

“We’ve played them twice this year and we’ve obviously beat them but they’ve got nothing to lose, they’ve come in as underdogs and we’ve got to go there and prove a point why we’ve been unbeaten and why we’re top of the league and why we’re in the final.

“If my lads turn up and they put a show on then I think they will win the game, but they’ve got to work hard for it, they can’t take it for granted.”

He hopes his side, who were knocked out in last year’s semi-final, will have some good backing in the stands from the local area.

He said: “We’re trying to get as many people as we can from the village and the parish to come along to the day and make it a village day, not just a club.

“It’s really good for the players as well as they’re all local lads who have stepped down a couple of levels to play with their mates and enjoy their football again.

“Now they’re getting the biggest reward you can probably get which is to play at Portman Road.”