Fascinating Suffolk Junior Cup final in prospect

CHRIS Wright will be using all his experience playing at the home of Ipswich Town as he looks to guide Leiston St Margarets to Suffolk Junior Cup glory.

The manager has mixed fortunes during his two experiences playing in Portman Road cup finals – winning one with Stowmarket but losing when he played for Ridgeons League Leiston.

Now he is hoping his young Leiston St Margarets side – who on Saturday wrapped up the SIL Division One title – will complete a fantastic season when they meet Glemsford and Cavendish United in tonight’s final (kick-off 7pm).

The player-manager said: “Getting to the final is a massive achievement and the boys have been absolutely superb this year. Hopefully, I can use my experience as some of the younger lads might be jittery. They just need to play their football and enjoy the occasion.”

But the SIL side will be facing opponents who have also had the title in their sights. After amalgamating with Glemsford United last season, the reformed side have taken the Cambridgeshire BIS League Division 3A by storm, needing just one point to win their own championship.

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Having started the competition three levels below the highest ranked side in the Junior Cup, Glemsford boss Rob Benson admitted that he would have been happy with a quarter-final spot.

Now the club are in dreamland �- not that Benson and his boys are just going for the ride.

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On Monday night, the manager called a meeting of his players to name the cup final squad and go through tactics while this afternoon, the club will meet up and have a pre-match meal together before descending on Ipswich.

Benson wants his lads to enjoy the experience but he also wants to make sure no stone is left unturned.

He explained: “We only have one player, Danny Brind, who has played at Portman Road before so everyone is very excited. But I still wanted to do the preparations as professionally as I could. I have been to watch Leiston St Margarets and they play lovely football. But I spotted one or two weaknesses which I hope will give us some advantage.”

Benson has virtually a full squad to pick from, the one exception being key central midfielder Luke Bennett who suffered a broken ankle four weeks ago. One of Glemsford’s star men has been 34-goal Andy Smith although Benson is also quick to praise his very strong defence.

Leiston, who will be without Kyle Horner, a virtual ever-present who suffered ligament damage in a recent game, won the Junior Cup six years ago when they beat Southwold Town on penalties.

Wright revealed they had added incentive to achieve glory once more, saying: “John Barker, our chairman, is Leiston St Margarets. Without a doubt, we would not have a team if it wasn’t for him. Myself, and all the boys, want to go out there and win it for John.”

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