From heartbreak to hero for Whitton United’s Alan Mills

SUBSTITUTE Alan Mills put the heartbreak of being left out of Whitton United’s Suffolk Senior Cup final side behind him to come off the bench and score the winner.

Mills scored with a 20-yard drive that squirmed beneath the dive of Long Melford goalkeeper Paul Wood in the 89th minute as Whitton retained the trophy at rain-soaked Portman Road last night.

Mills, who turns 36 next week, missed Whitton 1-0 defeat to Godmanchester in the Ridgeons League Division One KO Cup final last Friday through injury.

But he was fit to take his place in the squad last night, only to be left on the bench.

He said: “I was heartbroken not to start, even though I could not play on Friday due to injury. I was very disappointed to be left out, and I would by lying if I said I was not.”

Mills, who usually plays as a defensive midfielder, was introduced at left back in the 69th minute in place of Josh Brown to allow Anton Clarke to push into midfield.

With one minute of the 90 remaining and extra time looming large, Mills struck the winning goal to give Whitton some silverware this season after finishing third and missing out on promotion to the Ridgeons Premier as well as being losing finalists in the Division One KO Cup.

Most Read

Mills said of his winner: “I played the ball to Paris (Tuzigana) and he laid it back inside to me and I then just hit it hard and low and it crept in.”

It was his fourth goal of the season and Mills, who was in the Ipswich Athletic side that lost 3-1 to Kirkley in the 2000/01 final, said: “It is an absolutely brilliant feeling. I have played for a long time but never won this competition before.”

Whitton manager Ian Brown said: “I will never forget this night as long as I live. It doesn’t get much better than this – the scoreboard says it all.

“Long Melford played their hearts out and worked their socks off. They pushed us all the way, but we improved in the second half. We have got some great characters in the side and we always seem to pull it off when you least expect it.

“This club is on the rise and people like (chairman) Ruel Fox, (assistant manager) Simon Betts, (physio) John Green and the committee deserve this. It is a great achievement to retain the trophy.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter