Suffolk & Ipswich League side Adhara crowned Suffolk FA Primary Cup champions after epic penalty shoot-out win over Witnesham Wasps
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk & Ipswich League Division Three side Adhara were crowned the Suffolk FA Primary Cup champions in the most dramatic of circumstances on Friday evening as they overcame the challenge of Division Four outfit Witnesham Wasps after winning 5-4 on sudden-death penalties.
In an absorbing final which incredibly finished 4-4 after extra-time, it was Adhara who lifted the prestigious trophy by the width of a goalpost after the unfortunate Aurimas Plioplys’ costly spot-kick prompted wild celebrations in the Adhara camp.
Roared on by a strong crowd rooting for both local Ipswich-based teams, from the first whistle to the last, this was a proper cup tie - epic, exciting and exuberant.
In truth, nobody deserved to lose, and the only fair but equally unfair way to separate them was the lottery of penalty kicks.
Pre-match, both sides might have been feeling the pressure ahead of such a big game.
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After all, they are both relatively newly-formed clubs - undoubtedly making the match-up the biggest in their short history by some distance.
Add to that, the similar but equally unlikely paths into the final and you can perhaps understand why nerves would’ve been jingling moments before kick-off.
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Adhara and Witnesham were initially the two losing semi-finalists of this competition after seemingly bowing out to Kirkley & Pakefield B and AFC Hoxne reserves respectively, but were handed the opportunity of a lifetime after their opponents were found guilty of fielding ineligible players earlier in the competition.
But the pair wasted no time in putting on a show as they played out the most exhilarating of cup finals.
From the off, it was fast and furious as both sides frantically peppered in shots, lunged into tackles, and flew into aerial duels.
This goal-fest began in the 35th minute when Aron Boorman was the unlucky victim of an own goal as he deflected a corner into his own net.
Rene Swann, a menace in attack for the Wasps all evening, was the catalyst for the second goal as his run eventually resulted in Ben Woodhouse tapping home for a two-goal advantage in the 53rd minute.
Adhara responded though when Daniel Hyam’s 62nd minute deflected effort found the net, before the same player was on target from the spot nine minutes later after Darius Vaitkevicius fouled Robert Varela.
Keepers Lewis Collins and Bobby Swann kept the scoreline momentarily at bay with superb last-gasp saves.
Swann regained Wasps’ lead in the third minute of extra-time with an unstoppable drive, before skipper John Boorman pulled Adhara back level again four minutes later with a fantastic looping header.
The Division Three table-toppers then took the lead for the first time in the 103rd minute through Josh Lytess’ excellent touch and finish, but Wasps weren’t done yet as Swann lobbed home with minutes to go to take it to penalties.
The drama unfolded further here and it was Plioplys’ sudden-death miss that made Adhara champions.