Poor first half dashes hopes of cup final success for Walsham

DEJECTED: Walsham-le-Willows players face up to losing their Challenge Cup final at Diss Town
DEJECTED: Walsham-le-Willows players face up to losing their Challenge Cup final at Diss Town

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

CHALLENGE CUP FINAL

Norwich United 3

Walsham-le-Willows 0

The wait for another trophy at Walsham-le-Willows goes on after Norwich United beat them 3-0 in Monday’s League Challenge Cup final.

Walsham were looking to win their first piece of silverware since lifting the Thurlow Nunn League First Division title in 2007, but three unanswered goals from the runaway Premier Division champions put paid to any hopes they had of causing another upset.

Barely three minutes had passed when Norwich broke the deadlock at Diss Town’s Brewers Green Lane.

Adam Hipperson found Ben Thompson in space on the edge of the box, who rifled the ball beyond the reaches of Lee Pacey in the Walsham goal.

Hipperson was the provider again for United on 22 minutes, as his corner was headed into the bottom corner by Andrew Eastaugh to put the Norfolk side 2-0 in front.

Pacey kept the Willows in the tie with a string of fine saves before the interval, blocking efforts from Andrew Cusack and Matt Blake, before Walsham were denied at the other end by a double save from Norwich’s Duncan McNally.

Andrew Wood’s shot was parried into the path of Tom Driscoll, whose strike was also kept by the United goalkeeper.

And that missed opportunity proved decisive as Norwich moved 3-0 up on the stroke of half-time after Blake’s near post header from Cusack’s corner found the back of the net.

Walsham showed why they had reached the final with a determined second-half performance, but were unable to find a breakthrough as United maintained their lead to seal a league and cup double.

“We wanted to try and keep it as tight as we could but that went out the window after about two minutes,” said manager P{aul Smith.

“First-half we just didn’t really get a grip of things and second-half we were a bit better and didn’t concede. It’s a hard team talk to do when you’re 3-0 down at half-time in a cup final. We could have rolled over and got a right hiding.

“But we were a lot sharper in the second-half. We created one or two chances but not enough to really worry them.”

n Mildenhall Town finished 10th in the Premier Division after thrashing Ipswich Wanderers 5-1 on Saturday, while Thetford Town ended in 14th after a 2-1 defeat at Stanway Rovers on the final day.