Dodsworth brace helps lift Omnico Cup for Crane Sports
Crane Sports 3 Wickham Market 2
PAUL Dodsworth scored two early goals to set up Crane Sports for victory in last night’s Omnico Cup final at Woodbridge Town.
It was never easy for the SIL Senior Division side as junior club Wickham Market showed enough to suggest that they can be a force to be reckoned with in senior football after their promotion from the First Division.
But Crane deserved their success with skipper Justin Middlemiss scoring a superb second half solo goal and man mountain central defender Dean Cooper and lively right sided player Leigh Cooper also catching the eye.
The standard of football was a credit to the SIL with not one booking and both sides giving their all until the final whistle.
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Wickham captain Tom Etheridge struck the bar and was already a big influence in midfield when George Watson touched on a long kick forward in the ninth minute and Dodsworth went on to finish off a typical route one goal.
Ross Harvey went off with an Achilles tendon problem, which saw Etheridge move to central defence and there was hesitancy in the Wickham defence eight minutes later when Leigh Cooper’s low cross led to Dodsworth beating his man and somehow finding a path to goal with a low shot from a tight angle.
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Harvey’s replacement Luke Phillips climbed well to net with a powerful high header in the 28th minute to keep the game in the balance before Dodsworth was denied a hat-trick in the 37th minute when Ben Vincent dived well to his left to save.
Middlemiss collected the ball just inside the Wickham half in the 65th minute to run on and score as the keeper came out and a couple of defenders closed in to tackle – and the game looked over.
But the presence of Jay Churchyard always suggested that he would find a goal out of somewhere and when John Ince made a potent run down the left in the 73rd minute, Churchyard was on hand to drive home the low cross.
The game continued from end to end with both sides showing admirable coolness on the ball but with neither keeper extended fully in the latter stages.
Crane Sports: Chaplin, Mortimer, Smith, Turner, D Cooper, Clarke, L Cooper, Paul (L Dodsworth 90), P Dodsworth, Watson (Clennell 76), Middlemiss. Substitutes: Allen, Sadler, Holland.
Wickham Market: Vincent, Harvey (Phillips 15), Barker, Kelly (Lennard 81), Etheridge, Brown, Taylor, Crowfoot, Goodwin (Pettit 73), Churchyard, Ince. Substitutes: Martin, Reeve.
Referee: Mr T Cousins (Ipswich)
CRANE Sports skipper Justin Middlemiss dedicated their Omnico Cup win to the management team and back room staff at the club.
He said: “Manager Kevin Sharman and his assistant Gary Bevis came in when the club was not doing well and it was a difficult time.
“But they kept us in the Senior Division, which was the main thing, and this cup win is really a bonus.
“All the back room people deserve praise and this club has been a pleasure to play for.
“Wickham Market showed that they will be an asset in the Senior Division and they made it very tough for us right to the end.
“It was great to score a goal and it might be my swan song as at the age of 32 the wear and tear might be catching up on me. If so it was a great way to go out”.
Crane chairman Steve Roper is on holiday and secretary Andy Pearce said: “He was by a pool in Cuba and I texted him the half time and final score and he said he was going to have an afternoon swim to celebrate.”
Steve Cooke, the Wickham Market manager, said: “I’m very proud of my players and I don’t think they could have done any more.
“It was hard once we went two goals down early on, but we showed plenty of character to get back into the game.”