‘Biggest game in club’s history’ as Touchline SIL side Claydon take on Bungay Town in Suffolk FA Junior Cup semi-final

Claydon joint-manager Mark Keeley has described Claydon’s upcoming Suffolk FA Junior Cup semi-final with Bungay Town as ‘the biggest game in the club’s history’.

With a place at Portman Road at stake, the Touchline SIL Division One side take on Anglian Combination Division Two outfit Bungay Town at Leiston FC’s Victory Road ground tomorrow (kick-off 2.15pm).

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us and is probably the biggest game in the club’s history,” said Keeley.

Claydon were runners-up of the Primary Cup in the 2002/03 season, and although the Ipswich-based club have come close to finals in other competitions before, tomorrow is their best chance of creating their own history.

“We’ve always had a bit of history in Cup competitions,” said Keeley.

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“We upset quite a few teams in the Bob Coleman Cup last year before losing to Cranes in the semi-final, who went on to win the competition.”

Indeed, last season, Claydon, a Division Two outfit at the time, took the competition by storm as they beat Touchline SIL Senior sides Leiston St Margarets (3-2) and Grundisburgh (4-0), before falling short to Crane Sports (1-0) in the last four.

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Keeley won the Junior Cup with Needham Market as a mere 17-year-old some 30 years ago, and wants his players to achieve the same dreams in the competition as he did as a player.

“For some of our more senior players such as Mark Francis, Andy Richards and Lee Brill, this is perhaps their last chance to have a chance at winning it,” he said.

“I will always recall this competition as I scored the winning goal with the last kick of the game in the final.”

Claydon have enjoyed a pretty smooth passage to this stage so far, with convincing wins over St Johns (4-0), St Edmunds 1965 (3-0), Elmswell (5-2) and Parkside United (4-1).

Keeley has warned his side of complacency though, stating: “Cup football is always different and we’ll have to make sure we turn up because it’s all about what happens on the day.”

In the other Junior Cup semi-final this weekend, Bury St-Edmunds-based Sporting 87 take on Oulton Broad in a repeat of last year’s semi-final.

Oulton Broad turned out victorious that day and indeed went on to win the competition, but Sporting 87 will hope to gain some revenge this time around as the pair meet at Kirkley & Pakefield’s home ground.

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