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AFC Sudbury out to ‘prove a point’ in Suffolk Women’s Cup Final against Stowupland Falcons at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road





Stefan Mallett says AFC Sudbury Women want to ‘prove a point’ at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road in Tuesday’s MH Goals Suffolk Women’s Cup Final (7.30pm), but will not be caught out under-estimating opponents Stowupland Falcons.

The Yellows go into the showpiece as over-whelming favourites to add a third triumph in the competition to their honours list, the last coming two years ago, having scored 35 goals (8.75 average) and not conceded across their four-game run to the final.

Having successfully secured a second season in the FA Women’s National League Division One South East, the side managed by Luke Mallett and assisted by his brother Stefan, will go up against a first-time finalist team who play three levels lower in the pyramid.

AFC Sudbury Women will be looking to cap off their survival season with victory in the Suffolk Women's Cup Final at Ipswich Town FC Picture: Steve Screech
AFC Sudbury Women will be looking to cap off their survival season with victory in the Suffolk Women's Cup Final at Ipswich Town FC Picture: Steve Screech

But while the Ipswich Town-supporting brothers are wanting their side to show their class as the showpiece makes a long-awaited return to Portman Road, they will also be treating their second-placed Suffolk Girls & Women’s Football League Women’s Premiership opponents with respect.

Stefan Mallett said: “The massive carrot dangling at the end of the line here is playing at Portman Road in front of what will probably be 400-500 fans at least. Not only that, you’re now, and it’s lovely to say, at a Premier League club.

"On a personal level it’s fantastic with myself and Luke being from Ipswich and Ipswich fans with parents who are Ipswich fans.

AFC Sudbury Women’s manager Luke Mallett (left) and assistant Stefan Mallett (right) Picture: Mecha Morton
AFC Sudbury Women’s manager Luke Mallett (left) and assistant Stefan Mallett (right) Picture: Mecha Morton

“But the girls want to go on that stage and prove a point - why we’re tier 4, why we’re the best team outside of Ipswich in Suffolk. And we don’t overlook anyone, it’s never the case.

“I’m sure they’ve probably asked a few questions to a few local neighbours about what we do, but we know their strengths and the plan is to play our game and I think we should be more than enough for that cup and finish to the season that we all want.”

Having won the coin toss, AFC choose to use the home dressing room and wear their pink away shirts with fans encouraged to show their support by matching up to the colour in the stands.

"We’ve already seen some parents at a local school get some pink shirts and some fans have already brought some. I know there will be a fair few pink bucket hats around as well,” said Stefan. "So we are encouraging anyone who wants to come support us to wear pink on the day.”

Sophie Jeffery won the club’s Women’s Supporters Player of the Year and the Women’s Players Player of the Year awards Picture: Mecha Morton
Sophie Jeffery won the club’s Women’s Supporters Player of the Year and the Women’s Players Player of the Year awards Picture: Mecha Morton

After a 16-0 victory away to Bury Town Community in the opening round, AFC hit 10 unanswered goals past visiting Kesgrave Ladies in the round two before a 5-0 home success against Woodbridge Town in the quarter-finals. They then dispatched last year’s winners Needham Market 4-0 at Bury Town FC to reach the final.

"We’re the highest ranked team in there for a reason, we should be winning that cup,” said Stefan.

“The occasion itself will be a bit of icing on the cake, the cherry will be lifting the cup and actually coming away from this season with what we set out to achieve.”

Only Kate Edwards (ACL) is ruled out for the Ronni Harrison-captained side giving the Mallett brothers a bit of a selection headache.

Meanwhile, at the club’s end-of-season awards on Friday Sophie Jeffery picked up the Women’s Supporters Player of the Year and players’ player accolades. The manager’s player went to Eva Frazzoni and the Emma Holloway Award was presented to Kaylee Dodd. Adrian Goodwin, who heads up the Women’s section, saw his work recognised with the Club Person of the Year.

AFC Sudbury defender Tom Dickens is presented with the Supporters Club Player fo the Season trophy by the group's chairman John Crosbie Picture: Steve Screech/AFC Sudbury
AFC Sudbury defender Tom Dickens is presented with the Supporters Club Player fo the Season trophy by the group's chairman John Crosbie Picture: Steve Screech/AFC Sudbury

Meanwhile, for the men’s first team, top scorer Joe Neal received the Manager’s Player of the Season award. Goalkeeper James Bradbrook was the Players’ Player of the Season with Tom Dickens having already been awarded the Supporters Player of the Season.