Waveney win Suffolk Senior Cup after dramatic win against Haughley United

Waveney celebrate Tom Mawford's late winner

Waveney celebrate Tom Mawford's late winner - Credit: Su Anderson

Tom Mawford struck in the third minute of stoppage time, his second goal of the game, as Waveney came from behind to defeat 10-man Haughley United, 3-2, in a dramatic Suffolk FA Senior Cup final at Portman Road last night.

The striker headed home Sam Shepherd’s corner from close range to give the Anglian Combination Division One champions victory and break the hearts of their SIL Senior Division counterparts.

For Haughley it was a bitter blow, having lost the Bob Coleman Cup to Achilles, last Friday, but for long periods of the game there only looked to be one winner as Jason Cook’s side carved out a number of excellent chances.

However, such was their profligacy in front of goal that once their energy levels dropped, Waveney were always likely to get back into the game, and the Lowestoft-based side had the better of the second period, having been on the back foot for most of the first.

Haughley’s Ryan Wragg was sent-off with just seconds to go after taking exception to a challenge from man-of-the-match Andrew Hammersley.

Hammersley received a booking for his part in the squabble, while Wragg received a second yellow, having been cautioned earlier on for dissent.

It was an unfortunate end to the night for Wragg who, along with strike partner Nathan Smith and winger Stephen Vincent, caused the Waveney backline all sorts of problems in a frenetic first half.

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Wragg got Haughley back in the game on 15 minutes, finishing off a pass from Vincent 12 yards out, after Smith had won the ball in midfield and gone on a marauding run.

That came five minutes after Waveney had taken the lead.

Less than a minute after Haughley’s Ryan Beeston almost headed into his own net, goalkeeper Arron Mayhew sparing his blushes, Waveney were ahead.

A long ball out of defence was latched onto by Bradley Hough. After the striker drew Mayhew wide and out of his net, his centre, which took a deflection off the stopper, found Mawford with an open goal to aim for and the striker made no mistake.

Haughley took the lead on 34 minutes, This time, Wragg set Smith away and after the striker moved into the six-yard box, his cross was tapped in at the back post by Vincent.

Haughley could have gone 3-1 up shortly after the break and, had they done so, they would have probably made the game safe, but Aaron Robinson’s fierce volley at the back post, from an accurate Beeston cross, was superbly diverted onto the foot of the post by goalkeeper James Berein.

Haughley forced a succession of corners after that but their failure to score a third cost them when Ryan Bloomfield grabbed Waveney’s equaliser from the penalty spot, following Ben George’s clumsy challenge on Bradley Hough.

After converting the penalty, the game looked set to go into extra-time, with Mayhew saving Haughley on a couple of occasions and his side having little left in the tank going forward.

It wasn’t a surprise that both teams were out on their feet, given the pace at which the first half was played.

Haughley had strong claims for a penalty turned down as early as 55 seconds in, but Wragg’s shout for a penalty after going down under a challenge, was waved away.

From the resultant corner, Robinson’s corner was tipped onto the bar as the SIL side attempted an early breakthrough.

Waveney hit back though and had their own appeals for a penalty turned down on six minutes when Hough was challenged by Beeston.

Both teams scored their openers soon after that and following such an explosive start, things were expected to calm down, but they didn’t.

Robinson had a long-range shot that went over for Haughley, before the lively Smith was stopped in his tracks by Hammersley as the striker bore down on goal.

The pace of Wragg and Smith was causing the Waveney defence all kinds of problems, with Cook’s side utilising the space they were finding down the channels and through big gaps in the centre.

Berein then saved from Smith after some good play by Wragg and Haughley’s dominance was rewarded in the 34th minute when Vincent scored.

Haughley continued to dominate but could not find a third goal, Waveney centre-back Daniel Grigg getting there in the nick of time to deny Smith an open goal, the defender diverting the ball over his own bar after Wragg had drawn the goalkeeper out of his goal.

Waveney had escaped on several occasions and almost punished Haughley on the stroke of half-time when Carl Burgess’ corner hit the top of the bar.

Waveney looked a better outfit in the second half and Mayhew denied Johnny Jarvis from range, before preventing Luke Salmon from scoring at the back post, following George’s failure to clear the danger.

After Bloomfield’s penalty on 66 minutes, Haughley’s heads visibly dropped and Smith and Wragg began to struggle as that duo and team-mates’ energy levels began to drop.

Haughley’s Mark Theobald was cautioned for a foul on Burgess as both sides began to look ragged and the game looked set to peter out until Mawford’s late winner.

There was still time for Wragg to be dismissed as eight minutes of stoppage time was played, following an earlier head injury suffered by Burgess.

Then Waveney had a chance to wrap the game up but the impressive Mayhew parried substitute George Barber’s late effort just wide of the post.

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