Extra-time to be scrapped in Suffolk County Cup games

AFC Chelmondiston convert one of their successful spot kicks in their 7-6 win in a penalty shoot-out

AFC Chelmondiston convert one of their successful spot kicks in their 7-6 win in a penalty shoot-out against Mellis in the final of the Suffolk FA Sunday Cup following a 3-3 draw after extra time. Picture: SUFFOLK FA - Credit: Archant

There will be no extra time in next season’s Suffolk County Cup games, with deadlocked matches going straight to penalties after 90 minutes. Nick Garnham reports in his latest Love Football Suffolk FA column

Expect more giant-killing in this season’s Suffolk FA County Cup competitions.

So says County Cup Competitions Manager Adrian Moye following the decision to scrap extra time in all County Cup matches for the 2017-18 season.

The decision was made by the County Cups Committee and ratified at the recent Suffolk FA Annual General Meeting.

Moye explained the reasons behind the decision to go straight to a penalty shoot-out if the scores are level after normal time.

He said: “Some earlier kick off times were proving unpopular with some clubs and other competitions nationally were scrapping extra time so the decision not to have extra time was not as drastic as it may first appear.

“I think this amendment will cause more upsets in the cups. It’s one thing to hold out against a ‘stronger’ team for 90 minutes, but even harder for 120 minutes.

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“With penalties now coming into play after 90 minutes, it really becomes more exciting for the supporters, maybe a little bit more unforgiving for the players with increased pressure on their shoulders.

“I am sure the keepers will lap up the spotlight, and we are sure to have more giant-killings next season.”

Moye said the ruling will need time to ‘bed in’ during the forthcoming campaign and beyond, just as the decision to introduce rolling substitutes did three years ago.

“Like any change we will need time to get used to it and not make an immediate knee-jerk reaction.

“If the decision proves to be an unpopular one and the county receives information that extra time needs to be re-introduced, then we will obviously have to reconsider but as I mentioned, we need to give it some time to ‘bed in’ and become the norm,” he said.

Of last season’s 20 County Cup Finals – ten adult and ten youth competitions – five went to extra time, with two settled by penalty shoot-outs.

Moye will be running the county cups for a second season in the forthcoming campaign after taking over from Bruce Badcock, and the decision to do away with extra time is further proof of the county’s innovative approach under his stewardship.

This saw the ground-breaking decision to not only stage seven finals at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium, but to also play three finals on what was dubbed ‘Super Sunday’ at AFC Sudbury.

In addition, 18 Youth Cup semi-finals were held at Haverhill and subsequently nine finals in Lowestoft all on one day.

Moye continued: “Last season the profile of the County Cups were arguably raised higher than they had been before by playing many of them outside Suffolk and utilising Colchester United, a decision which raised a few eyebrows at the time.

“However, this proved to be a fantastic success, with clubs, including losing teams, match officials and club officials all praising the experience they had there.

“The Senior Cup Final at Portman Road also proved to be a success and great credit must go to the match-day team at Portman Road who made the event so special.

“The three ‘Super Sunday’ Finals at AFC Sudbury were well received as were the Youth Cup Semi Finals and Finals Days at host venues The New Croft and Kirkley & Pakefield FC respectively.

“The format for our Cup Finals has now been established and we very much hope to repeat the template of last season.

“Colchester United and Ipswich Town will again have to avoid play-offs and concerts on their pitches to enable the county to use their facilities, but we have no control over that.

“However, what we will deliver to our member clubs is a cup competition they can look forward to and players, officials and coaches can do as the County Cups strapline states and start ‘Living the dream’ in the coming season.”

The draws for this season’s County Cup competitions will be announced via the Suffolk FA website www.suffolkfa.com ahead of the season.

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