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Halesworth Town overcome AFC Sudbury Academy side Sudbury Sports in 10-goal thriller to claim Suffolk Junior Cup




AFC Sudbury’s academy side Sudbury Sports ended up on the wrong side of a 10-goal thriller in the final of the Total Football Suffolk Junior Cup against Halesworth Town, writes Nick Garnham.

The Macron SIL Senior Division side defeated their young opponents 6-4 in a goal-fest at The Morrish Stadium, home of Walsham-le-Willows FC, on Tuesday night.

The tone was set as early as the second minute when Halesworth’s Toby Kerslake sent a diving header into the bottom corner of the net following Lewis Chenery’s free kick on the right.

Sudbury Sports in action against Halesworth Town in the Suffolk Junior Cup final at a foggy Walsham-le-WillowsPicture: Suffolk FA
Sudbury Sports in action against Halesworth Town in the Suffolk Junior Cup final at a foggy Walsham-le-WillowsPicture: Suffolk FA

Sudbury Sports were on level terms after 10 minutes, Jake Banyard scoring at the second attempt after his first effort was saved by goalkeeper Alan Anderson following a quick break.

Josh Ambrose then miscued a cross that struck the top of the near post as Sudbury Sports went in search of a second goal as the mist swirled around Summer Road.

Two goals in three minutes then put Halesworth, whose only previous win in the competition came in the 1923/24 season, on top.

A poor punch by goalkeeper Josh Blunkell resulted in the ball dropping to Pat Summerfield to drill home after 23 minutes.

Then centre-back Kurtis Thickett forced the ball home home at the far post after Blunkell and his defenders had failed to clear.

It was 3-2 in the 39th minute when Curtis Harvey scored following a goalmouth scramble to reduce the deficit for the Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division side.

There was no let up in the second period, Halesworth’s Toby Payne finding the bottom far corner after good work by Ashley Canham five minutes after the restart.

Halesworth Town won the Total Football Suffolk Junior Cup in a 10-goal thriller against Sudbury SportsPicture: Suffolk FA
Halesworth Town won the Total Football Suffolk Junior Cup in a 10-goal thriller against Sudbury SportsPicture: Suffolk FA

Back came Sudbury Sports and Ambrose scored with a shot across the keeper to make it 4-3, before his shot struck the top of a post after breaking clear.

Halesworth then scored twice in four minutes to give themselves some breathing space.

Shaun Whiteman powered home at the far post following Chenery’s right-wing free kick in the 68th minute, before Payne was fouled in the box and Summerfield netted from the penalty spot.

Owen Lennie pulled a goal back after 78 minutes, but that proved to be the end of the scoring as Halesworth, who last appeared in the final in the 1988/89 season, ironically losing 1-0 to Walsham-le-Willows, went on to lift the cup.

Halesworth Town: Alan Anderson, Ashley Canham, Tommy Smith, Toby Kerslake, Kurtis Thickett, Shaun Whiteman, Lewis Chenery, Toby Payne, Pat Summerfield, Jimmy Morrissey. Used subs: Curtis Moore, Calvin Vincent. Unused subs: Hayden Ling, Callum Read, Karl Goodwin.

Sudbury Sports: Josh Blunkell, Curtis Harvey, Joe Gunn, Ted Penn, Bradley Byrne, Jack Palmer, Sam Cooke, Luke Hipkin, Finley Long, Jake Banyard, Josh Ambrose. Used subs: Callum Field-Mullins, Owen Lennie, Josh Stokes, Kasey Brannan, Jayden Cohen.

Referee: Alex Shipp.

Attendance: 183.

Wins for AFC Reserves and Women

In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, AFC Sudbury Reserves ran out 4-3 winners at the expense of King’s Lynn Town Reserves on Saturday.

Charlie Batten, Jayden Cohen, Oliver Lonton and Joe Morris all netted for Sudbury’s second string, who were due to host Haverhill Borough last night.

Sudbury will travel to Diss Town on Saturday (3pm), followed by a trip to Lakenheath on Tuesday (7.45pm).

* Goals from Evie Creaton (2), Tyeonae Smith, Rebecca Stephenson and Megan Partridge earned AFC Sudbury Women a 5-0 win over Stevenage Development in the league on Sunday.

The Yellows will now switch their focus to Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup tie at home against Newmarket Town on Sunday (2pm).