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Stowupland Falcons looking to embrace underdogs tag against AFC Sudbury in Suffolk Women’s Cup Final at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road





Stowupland Falcons Women’s Martin Huggins is looking for his side to ‘relish the occasion' and embrace their underdogs tag against AFC Sudbury in the MH Goals Suffolk Women’s Cup Final at Ipswich Town's Portman Road on Tuesday (7.30pm).

The village side will be fulfilling a dream when stepping out in the now Premier League stadium as first-time finalists in the competition, having only been running competitively for three seasons.

They will be going up against a team that have secured a second season in the FA Women’s National League meaning they play three levels higher than Falcons, who completed their fixtures lying second in the seven-team Suffolk Girls & Women's Football League Women’s Premiership.

Stowupland Falcons, led by joint managers Martin Huggins (left) and Simon Gant (right) with their team Picture: Martin Huggins
Stowupland Falcons, led by joint managers Martin Huggins (left) and Simon Gant (right) with their team Picture: Martin Huggins

But Huggins, who is joint manager along with Simon Gant, believes they are capable of bridging the gap to give Sudbury, who draw a proportion of their players from their full-time academy, a tough evening.

He said: “"For us being the underdogs takes the pressure off a little bit, the expectation will be on Sudbury with them playing in the National League and us being a local village team who play on the village playing field and them with all their facilities that they've got.

"We've got a very small squad of players who we've had to rely on this year compared to the players they've got to call upon which certainly puts us as underdogs.

"But we'll relish the occasion and we've got some players that could well be capable of playing at that level if they wanted to so I think we'll be able to give them a good game."

Going up against a side who have not conceded in this year's competition, scoring 35 goals in four games (8.75 average) he knows they will need to ensure they work hard to deny them time on the ball while also playing to their strengths.

“I think it's a case of go out there and play as well as we know they can and try not to give the opposition too much time and space to play,” he said.

"You never know in a one-off game in the cup what can happen."

The Clare Bevan-captained Stow side have far from scraped into the final though, scoring 23 goals (5.75 avg) to three conceded in their four games.

A 7-1 victory at Sudbury Sports Women in the first round was followed by an 11-0 home rout against Ipswich Valley Rangers.

In the quarter-finals they edged a home tie with Needham Market Women’s Development 2-1 before a 3-1 semi-final victory against their league’s winners, Brantham Athletic, at Ipswich Wanderers.