MATCH REPORT AND GALLERY: Whitton United march into Suffolk FA Senior Cup final with extra-time win over SIL’s Grundisburgh to set up reunion with 2013 winners Ipswich Wanderers at Portman Road

Grundisburgh's Josh Kerridge (Blue no.9) goes close with a first-half header

Grundisburgh's Josh Kerridge (Blue no.9) goes close with a first-half header - Credit: Archant

Super-subs Elliot Crowe and Camillo Douglas came off the bench to fire Whitton United into the final of the Suffolk FA Senior Cup final and set up a reunion with Ipswich Wanderers at Portman Road.

The high-flying Thurlow Nunn First Division pair met last year in the final of the prestigious competition and will meet again this year after Whitton overcame the challenge of Touchline SIL side Grundisburgh.

They pushed the treble-chasers all the way before Whitton’s superior fitness told and they ran out 3-0 winners after extra-time thanks to a brace from Crowe and a stunner from Douglas.

In a feisty affair, held at Felixstowe & Walton’s Goldstar Ground, both sides looked nervy early on with the occasion seemingly getting to them.

Whitton’s Darcy De’Ath was arguably lucky to stay on the pitch after a nasty-looking studs-up tackle on dynamic winger Aaron Churchyard in the opening 10 minutes.

Not to be deterred, underdogs Grundisburgh perhaps shaded the opening period and top goalscorer Dean Tournay-Godfrey went close for the SIL side after 12 minutes but his acrobatic volley flew agonisingly over. Strike partner Josh Kerridge also went close moments later as Grundisburgh forced a series of first-half corners but the youngster couldn’t keep his header down when well placed.

In truth, the first period was a typical semi-final – very stop-start, and gritty.

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Whitton would go on to eventually prove their quality but not before riding their luck a little as Churchyard flicked a header onto the post after just three minutes of the second period.

The SIL side then felt aggrieved as referee Paul Quick awarded a questionable penalty for handball against Chris Pratt in the 60th minute but stand-in ‘keeper Shane Brown superbly saved Tom Bradlaugh’s weak effort with his legs.

Whitton gradually began to assert their dominance on proceedings, but Grundisburgh dug in with some excellent desperate defending, preserving the score-line until extra-time – and that was where all the action happened.

Eager to avoid a penalty shoot-out, which proved to be the heartache for Whitton in the final last year, the Greens upped their game significantly with three goals to defeat a brave Grundisburgh. It could have been so different for the SIL side though, had substitute Ben Deacon not seen a headed goal chalked off for offside in the build-up.

After the lively Elliot Crowe sent the Whitton dugout into a state of pandemonium by firing home a free-kick from 25 yards into the bottom corner, fellow substitute Camillo Douglas further stoked the ecstatic Whitton camp as he scored a magnificent solo goal which thumped into the top corner to effectively kill the tie off.

Crowe then added a late third as the exhausted Grundisburgh defence stood-off to add the gloss for Whitton, before both sides finished with 10-men as Douglas and Liam Woodhouse received their marching orders.

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