Defeats can be catalyst for Suffolk Senior Cup final victory

BOTH managers believe losing their last match plus pride in their clubs can be the catalyst for victory in tonight’s Suffolk Senior Cup final.

Long Melford meet holders Whitton United at Portman Road, kick-off 7pm, in the showpiece final which was originally scheduled for April 4 but was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Whitton United manager Ian Brown saw his side lose 1-0 to Godmanchester in Friday’s Ridgeons League Division One KO Cup final at Mildenhall.

Brown said: “It was disappointing to lose in the final to Godmanchester. We didn’t really turn up in the first half, but in the second half we camped in their half and came out of it with a lot of credit.

“I am hoping that our boys seeing them lift the trophy will make us stronger and act as added motivation. It will be about who turns up on the day, and we know we have got to be on it from the kick-off.”

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Brown, who said a couple of his players were carrying injuries and would need fitness checks before being cleared to play, added: “I just hope we play to our potential and can do Whitton proud by retaining the trophy.”

Just one defeat in their last six matches saw opponents Long Melford end the season in ninth place – the club’s highest position in Ridgeons League Division One for a decade.

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Manager Jason Maher, who targeted a top-ten finish at the start of the season, said: “We probably should have finished higher, but with our location and facilities we have over-achieved.

“The players have really put it in this season. At times we have not performed as well as we could have, but we are a pretty tight-knit squad of mainly local lads who live within a few miles of the village.

“It is not about money – it is about pride in their local club, and this is a chance for them to showcase their talents, and it will be a fitting reward if we bring the trophy back.”

Maher said that losing their final league game, which ended a run of five matches without defeat, may also be a blessing in disguise.

“It was disappointing to lose to Thetford, but it was pointed out to me that we have lost our previous league game before every round of the Suffolk Senior Cup this season, so that may bode well.

“It is going to be a tough game. They are a really good side, but we have also got a good side, and I genuinely believe that if we turn up and play well and take our chances when they come along we have a good chance of winning.”

Danny Grindrod, who would have missed out on last month’s final, has since returned to action after a broken leg but has since suffered a setback, so will not be in the squad although he will be involved on the day.

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