Glemsford and Cavendish triumph in Suffolk Junior Cup
ANDREW Gardiner inspired Glemsford and Cavendish United to their first Suffolk Junior Cup triumph with a fantastic 3-1 win over Leiston St Margarets.
The match pitted together title contenders in Glemsford, who ply their trade in the Cambridgeshire BIS League 3A, and Leiston who won the SIL Division One title at the weekend.
But it was Glemsford, led by their bustling centre forward Gardiner, who always had the upper hand at Portman Road.
Gardiner scored a thunderbolt first before playing a crucial role in Danny Brind’s decisive third.
Speaking after the game, the man of the match said: “They gave us a good game but I thought we thoroughly deserved it. I haven’t hit a goal sweeter than that for a long while.”
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Leiston St Margarets striker James Blades had equalised from the penalty spot, but Glemsford restored their lead after the break through Gavin Brightwell – his strike, like Gardiner’s, going in off the underside of the bar.
It was no more than United deserved, refusing to feel sorry for themselves after losing skipper Scott Lawrence to a suspected knee injury minutes before half-time.
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Glemsford boss Rob Benson had ensured no stone was left unturned in his pre-match preparations and it showed with his side settling better into the surroundings.
None more so than 29-year-old Gardiner whose muscular frame, aided by deceptive pace, was clearly unsettling the Leiston backline.
It was no surprise when United’s most dangerous attacking option opened the scoring on 18 minutes.
Running at Leiston player-manager Chris Wright, Glemsford’s number 10 was allowed to venture into the penalty area before unleashing a powerful drive which cannoned off the inside of the crossbar and in.
Forget the ‘junior’ status of this competition, it was a goal worthy of any cup final.
And it was almost two when Gardiner worked an opening down the right and Andrew Smith saw his close range shot well blocked by Leiston keeper Gary Lambert.
Clearly rattled, Leiston struggled to string any dangerous possession together, despite the enthusiastic promptings of left winger Ben Keeble.
They needed something and it came via a rather cumbersome tackle by Glemsford’s Patrick Tatam who sent James Blades crashing to the ground just inside the area.
Innocuous rather than malicious, Blades cared not as he picked himself up and calmly sent Thomas Lockwood the wrong way from 12 yards.
As the game evened up either side of the interval, it was United who regained the lead 10 minutes after the interval with a goal out of nothing. Brightwell cut inside before hitting a curling left foot shot that also hit the crossbar and bounced down.
But the winger wheeled away in delight after the assistant referee signalled that the ball had crossed the line.
Leiston had possession but struggled to create clear-cut chances, Blades heading straight at Lockwood after fantastic wing play from substitute Tom Havers.
And the final was won 16 minutes from time when A Gardiner did the hard work, outmuscling a posse of Leiston defenders before laying the ball off to Brightwell, who had the presence of mind to tee up Brind to drill the killer third home.
Leiston’s misery was complete in the final minute when Wright was sent off for a second yellow card.
Glemsford and Cavendish United: Thomas Lockwood, David Dowding, Patrick Tatam, Dwain Reader, Richard Burnham, Scott Lawrence (Richard Fryer 45), Matthew Gardiner, Daniel Brind, Andrew Smith (William Chaplin 46), Andrew Gardiner (Michael Wilson 86), Gavin Brightwell. Subs not used: Craig Green, Christian Williamson.
Leiston St Margarets: Gary Lambert, Daniel Keeble, Callum Godbold, Daniel Threadkell, Adam Herbert, Chris Wright, Ross Pemberton (Tom Havers 59), Rory Horner, James Blades, Darren Harper (Matthew Murphy 75), Ben Keeble. Subs not used: William Ridgard, Kyle Horner, Matthew Smith.
Referee: Mick Franks.