Even Roy Keane applauded non-league player’s super strike

CHRIS Dennett once so impressed Roy Keane that the then Ipswich Town manager stood and applauded him.

This season the 29-year-old left winger has been earning plaudits from team mates and opponents alike as he has played a pivotal role in Woodbridge Athletic’s title success in the Senior Division of the Kingsley Healthcare SIL.

Athletic will be presented with the trophy after tomorrow’s final match of the season against Stanton, which has been switched to Ipswich Wanderers’ Humber Doucy Lane ground, kick-off 2pm.

Dennett started his career at Hadleigh United, before spending a couple of years at first Halstead Town and then Leiston.

It was during his second spell at Hadleigh that he scored a peach of a goal in a pre-season friendly against an Ipswich Town XI at the Millfield that the watching Keane was seen applauding.

Dennett said: “A right-wing cross came over that reached me on the angle just outside the penalty area and I volleyed it into the top corner.

“It was a nice moment and it is my claim to fame that Roy Keane was watching at the time and stood and applauded me.”

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Dennett decided soon after that to drop down to the SIL and joined Woodbridge Athletic, where he has contributed eight goals and several assists in 28 league starts on their way to securing a first-ever SIL title.

Although he has previously won league cups it is also the first time that Dennett, who has only missed one league game, has won a league title.

He said: “My career has not been anything to shout about, but it is a nice achievement to finally win a league championship.

“We have played well as a team and there have been a few key players for us, and I have probably been fairly influential.

“We have had a good team spirit and been very strong defensively.”

Reigning champions Grundisburgh have pushed them all the way despite the handicap of a six-point deduction for playing an ineligible player early in the season, but Woodbridge finally clinched the title last Saturday.

“We lost twice to Grundisburgh. We were unlucky to lose at home early on in the season when we were the better side and they scored right at the end, but losing at Grundisburgh in mid-January was a turning point for us.

“We then went on a good run, which was key to us winning the title, which is not easy to do at any level.”

Indeed, Woodbridge Athletic then went on an undefeated run of ten matches, winning eight and drawing two, before losing at Haughley United when victory would have sealed the title.

They put that setback behind them to demolish East Bergholt United 6-1 last Saturday, with Dennett scoring twice, to set up tomorrow’s party.

Dennett said: “Last Saturday was an anti-climax. We went to Haughley knowing we needed to win one game to win the title and then lost, and although we won the league last Saturday the recognition will only sink in when we pick up the trophy.

“It would be nice to cap it off with a win against Stanton. The pressure is now off, so it will be nice to go out and enjoy it.”

And Dennett had a reminder for joint manager Paul Hadlee, who is nicknamed Magic, ahead of tomorrow’s match.

“I have been informed that Magic is bringing a blank cheque to pay for all the drinks in the bar afterwards!”

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