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Framlingham Town beat AFC Sudbury Reserves 2-0 at Colchester United FC to win the Suffolk Senior Cup for the first time

Framlingham Town are celebrating after being crowned CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup champions for the first time in their history.

The Castlemen edged past league rivals AFC Sudbury Reserves 2-0 in the final, held at Colchester United’s JobServe Community Stadium last night.

After a goalless first half which had seen Sudbury carve out plenty of opportunities to score, the deadlock was broken when Max Willett fired home for Fram after 71 minutes.

Framlingham Town players celebrate winning the Suffolk Senior Cup for the first time last night
Framlingham Town players celebrate winning the Suffolk Senior Cup for the first time last night

And an historic first Senior Cup triumph was confirmed in the third minute of added time when substitute Oliver Smith finished from close range.

While both towns, Framlingham and Sudbury, had seen teams taste Senior Cup glory in the past, this season’s finale pitted two sides aiming to win the competition for the first time.

The Castlemen were making only their second appearance in the final, and first for 27 years, with their only previous decider a 3-0 defeat to Grundisburgh in 1996.

Their opponents, who were also bidding for a maiden success in a competition which dates as far back as the 1880s, went into the contest off the back of their highest-ever finish in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North.

Dave Cannon’s young Sudbury side, made up of players from the club’s academy and all aged between 16 and 19, had just finished in eighth place, and certainly provided entertainment with a total of 156 goals scored at either end during their 36-game league campaign.

AFC had bagged 86 of those goals, the third most of any team in the FIrst Division North this season, while Liam Abraham’s Fram, who finished third and lost out in the play-off semi-finals, netted 93 goals, only bettered by champions Heacham (96 goals).

With two free-scoring sides meeting in the final, goals were expected, but as the clock passed the 70-minute mark the scoreboard had not changed.

Much of that was Sudbury’s own doing, particularly during a first half which saw the Yellows pass double figures in the shots column.

The impressive Reuben Swann had an effort inside the first 10 minutes parried by Fram goalkeeper Edyn Cummings, and for much of the first period it felt like only a matter of time before AFC would find a breakthrough.

Dylan Kirk saw a free kick pushed away by Cummings and Jamie Bennett was denied by the feet of the Castlemen’s shot stopper.

But by far the best chance of the half saw a quick breakaway move down the right side from the Yellows, where Kirk sent in a fine ball across the Fram box only for Bobby Rea to stab wide when in front of goal.

At the other end, Willett saw a shot find the side netting in a rare sight of goal for the Castlemen’s 30-goal striker as the two teams went in level at the interval.

AFC continued to threaten in the early stages of the second half with defender Brad Byrne heading against the crossbar from a corner.

Fram boss Abraham turned to his bench moments later and brought on Smith to play alongside Willett up front, and the pair both struck in the final 20 minutes to complete an historic victory.

On 71 minutes, Ethan Whittingstall’s cross from the right found an unmarked Willett at the back post to hand the Castlemen an unlikely lead.

Despite the setback, AFC’s search for a first goal continued with Kirk firing narrowly wide of the far post, before Fram defender Joe Berry made a crucial clearance to stop Bennett’s effort from crossing the line.

On the stroke of full time, substitute Smith was denied by an outstretched hand of Sudbury goalkeeper Jack Catley.

But in added time the tie was settled as Smith converted from close range after Willett’s shot had been spilt by Catley in front of him.

AFC Sudbury Reserves: Catley, Everleigh, Byrne, Chilvers (Ladbrook 86’), Kirk, D Smith, Swan (Donohue 68’), Pearce (c) (Walsh 86’), Rea (B Smith 82’), Bennett, Arnold (Lambert 78’).

Framlingham Town: Cummings, McCausland (O Smith 57’), Shopov, Ling (Humphrey 46’), Poacher (c), Berry, Whittingstall (Chapman 90’), Exworth, Willett, Tysoe, Conway (Wilson 73’). Sub not used: Potter. Booked: Tysoe, Exworth.

Attendance: 525.