Congratulations to both Thurston and Woolverstone who progressed to the Suffolk FA Junior Cup final. Thurston defeated their Div 1 rivals Somersham 3-2, having been 3-0 up. Woolverstone beat Div 2 side Kesgrave Kestrals 4-1 at Hadleigh.

Wonderful Woolverstone make history to reach Suffolk Junior Cup final
By Derek Davis

Woolverstone United boss Clive Catchpole hailed the collective spirit of his squad after they beat Kesgrave Kestrels 4-1 to reach the final of the Suffolk Junior Cup final for the first time in their 102-year history.

Goals from Justin Davies, James Harbut, Hayden Catchpole and Alex Gibson topped an excellent performance in front of more than 100 spectators at Hadleigh’s Millfield ground.

A Gareth Oliver penalty for Kestrels was the only blip for Division One side Woolverstone as Division Two high flyers Kestrels tried to battle back in the second half.

The manner of the victory delighted Catchpole who put the success down to hearty breakfast and amazing team spirit.

That collective squad mentality was epitomised by Jack Neil who missed out as Catchpole could only select five substitutes from his 17-man squad.

Woolverstone had all met up early in the day to have breakfast together, then got to Millfield early to prepare.

Catchpole said: “It was a real team performance from Paul in goal, who didn’t make a mistake and made an excellent save, to everyone else who played their part.

“We had good strong bench who all came on the do their bit.

“I had to drop one out the squad and that was Jack who took it superbly, He summed up the attitude of the whole squad by the way he took it, he could have got in a huff as many would have, but didn’t, he warmed up hard along with the other players, and took it superbly, a real credit.”

Woolverstone tore into the Kestrels from the off with Marcus Lawrence virtually unplayable with his direct running, clever feet and incisive passing.

Lawrence provided the ball in from the left wing for Justin Davies coming in from the right, who showed bravery with diving header between defenders to score the opener.

It was all part of the pre-match team talk and tactics and having belief.

“We were excellent first half and they could not cope with us,” said Catchpole. .

“We knew that even though they are going great guns in the league and had only lost two games in the league, it is big step fup from Division Two. We are a level above and knew if we played as we can we should be too much for them. It is what we talked about it in the dressing room, going out and attacking them and if we played at the top of our game we would be too strong for them, and that was how it turned out.”

Although Kesgrave made three half-time changes, Catchpole’s side were ready for the reaction and stayed composed and organised, and remained a threat of their own.

Catchpole added: “We were a bit surprised at their starting line up and knew they had good players on the bench. The key for us winning that game is when they scored the penalty we came straight back and scored, what I thought was the best goal of the match.

“It was an absolute cracker and that just knocked the stuffing out of Kesgrave.”

Woolverstone’s lively forward line was supplemented by an attack-minded midfield with Alex Gibson tucked in just behind the front three, which allowed space for James harbour to get onto a good ball and finish with aplomb for the village side’s second.

Hayden Catchpole, who led the line down the middle put Woolvestone three up before half-time after more good work from Lawrence and the prolific striker won his tussle with defender George Lilley before prodding the ball past a flat-footed keeper.

Kesgrave made second half changes and won a penalty, which Bennington, who guessed the right way, got close to but could not stop Oliver’s effort going in.

Bennington had already made a couple of fine saves including a super sop from powerful close range header. He was also helped by a solid back line, with Jordan Harward clearing off the line.

But this Woolves side reacted superbly and a well worked team build up resulted in Gibson arriving a the far post to smash the ball in for a fourth. Not quite the worldy he scored in the quarter final but right up there, with Catchpole considering it the goal of the game.

Amazingly this is the first time Woolverstone, who celebrated their centenary two years ago by winning promotion as champions to Division One, have reach the cup final, where they will meet unbeaten Division One leaders Thurston FC in the final, at a venue and date to decided, with much depending on how Ipswich Town do in the Championship.

Catchpole said: “For a little club like Woolverstone it is incredible. We know we will be up against it with Thurston who are a very good side.

“We know we are the underdogs, a little village club, but we will enjoy it and give it our absolute best.”

The Woolverstone manager also praised Hadleigh United for their hospitality and how much they had enjoyed the facilities and welcome at the Thurlow Premier League club and how well the pitch had held up despite the poor weather of late.

Darcy is the Destroyer as he drop kicks Cops to victory!
(Cops are sponsored by Venue 16 and BP Electical)
Coplestonians 4 Ransomes Sports 1
(Match Day sponsor: Richard Turner of R J & E Services Ltd.)
Cops were missing several key players and unfortunately their new keeper had to call off. So, Darcy Pleace (sponsored by Westwood Caravan Park), normally only a some-time keeper, was a late call up from the Development team. The visitor’s were also missing a couple of players but started well as they shot over the bar. Darren Mills for Cops got clear but saw his shot touched for a corner. Good work by Nathan Woollard nearly created a goal but it was a stalemate in the first half. Darren Mills found Ronaldo Wright but his effort was deflected for a corner. A shot from the visitor’s was touched over the bar by Pleace as the first half ended even. HT 0-0.
Cops made changes to their midfield in the second half with Jack Lawrence introduced to support Nay Woollard and Josh Howe. On 47 minutes Cops took the lead when a huge kick from Pleace saw Ransomes struggle to clear. Jonny Linard (sponsored by JWL Sports Therapy) striking home from an acute angle. The visitors saw a header go over the bar as they responded but another great kick from Pleace saw Jonny Linard roll the ball home against the stranded keeper. Pleace then saved well as Ransomes countered but a free kick from Baden Holmes was headed home by Darren Mills (sponsored by Scoop) to give Cops a 3-0 lead.

Ransomes cop a guilty plea on all four charges
Paul Deacon
17 Mar – 06:27
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Coplestonians 4 Ransomes Sports 1
If ever there was a game to highlight Ransomes defensive struggles this season, then this was it. Despite the goals against column, Ransomes are performing decently but they have struggled to keep the ball out of the net for most of this season. In the current campaign, Ransomes have conceded 55 goals in 22 games, placing them among the bottom three teams in terms of goals against. But, the numerics can wait. There is nothing to gain from thinking about number crunching and what might have been following a goal-less first half.
Both sides could point to absentees as a reason for an uninspiring first half. The attendance register has rarely been positive for Ransomes all season, and their latest adjustment owed to the withdrawal of Drew Connick, Adam Todd and Matt Oxbrow. Yet, you had to be impressed with the way that Ransomes dealt with Coplestonians during the opening half, stifling any real threat in front of goal.
Mills forced a fingertip save from Charlie Langham with the game in its infancy and it was an aggressive start from the hosts, but that quickly evaporated as Coplestonians appeared unusually limited.
Ransomes slowly found their feet as the first half wore on but a yawning 30 minutes passed before they carved out their one real chance. Danny Allen swivelled around a defender to hit a rising drive at goal. It was a tremendous piece of skill from the Ransomes man but his shot was too close to Pleace who routinely tipped over at the expense of a corner.
Immediately after the interval, Mills, in space, should have put the home side ahead but he could only head over a gaping goal from inside the six yard box. Such poor marking was not encouraging for Ransomes. The course of the game appeared to then be shaped by two identical moments in two second half minutes as Cops made the breakthrough on 50 and 52 minutes.
Two route-one goals for the hosts were bewilderingly chaotic as far as Ransomes were concerned, and it was as if the Ransomes defence could not see the would-be assassin Linard for the trees as he eagerly accepted the opportunities afforded him.
Ransomes had imploded. It looked a decisive lead but, undeterred, the visitors rallied and following a quick free kick, Brandon Archer’s angled drive was straight at Pleace. At least, at this point, Ransomes had showed some fight, but their prospects dwindled as Cops prospered from another long ball in to the heart of the Ransomes defence. The hesitancy and sloppiness continued as Mills inflicted more misery on the visitors as he was free to head home past a rooted Charlie Langham.
Coplestonians then cruised for a while before Ransomes reduced the deficit on 80 minutes with a well crafted goal. Zehn Young, on as a second half substitute, started and finished the move by linking with Danny Allen. Young was fed by Allen, following strong hold up play, along the inside left channel and a clinical finish added some spice to the closing stages of this game.
That goal changed the mood of the game and prompted Ransomes to sacrifice their defensive responsibilities in search of further goals. It mattered little. Coplestonians regained their composure, took advantage, and pulled clear as Linard completed his hat-trick on 87 minutes.
Individual mistakes by the visitors gave Coplestonians the encouragement to win this game, and whilst angry and hurting, solidarity in the group means that Ransomes have no alternative but to pick themselves up and go again next week.
Linard setup Mills but the Cops striker fired wide whilst at the other end former Cops man Zhen Young fired home to reduce the arrears.
However, Cops had the last word when Lawrence set up Jonny Linard to fire home the goal of the game and secure his hattrick. FT 4-1