Bardwell Football Club is enjoying a fantastic inaugural season, taking victory at the weekend in the Bury and District Sunday League Division Four Cup final.
It sees the Division Four side collect their first piece of silverware, with the opportunity of another still to come with a place in the Suffolk FA Sunday Trophy final later this month.
It is a position player-manager Damon Trench said the team ‘could only have dreamed about’, picking up two trophies in their first season together.
And their success has twice come at the disappointment of fellow Division Four side Hardwick FC, who Bardwell first defeated in the Sunday Trophy semi-final before again overcoming them 4-2 at Ram Meadow on Sunday to win the cup.
Trench said: “It’s been a pretty good season, especially for the first one we’ve ever taken part in.
“We didn’t really expect anything at the start, we just wanted to get through the season intact and look to establish ourselves as a side.
“We could only have dreamed about our first season ending with two cup finals really.”
He said he had approached Bardwell FC, which fields numerous youth sides, last summer after hearing several people voice interest in playing for a local football team at the weekend.
He said there is a great atmosphere among the newly-formed side as they are ‘mostly mates’ who want to be playing, and enjoy spending time together in training too.
But the team, despite picking up the Division Four Cup, only lie fifth in the league, with six wins and seven losses.
Trench said: “A lot of us work shifts, which means we work at the weekend. So we’ve been doing well in the cups, because we book the time off or make sure we’re available.
“We haven’t been doing so well in the league.
“I guess it’s a problem of this league, we’re not the only ones. On Sunday we had a full strength team and it shows, we really outclassed Hardwick at times.
“We are pretty ecstatic about it — it was amazing, a really incredible feeling.
“It was even more special as we won after coming back from a goal behind.”
The game began slowly, with both teams appearing nervous on the big occasion, before Hardwick deservedly grabbed the first score after piling on pressure with constant through balls.
Bardwell reacted well to going a goal behind, as the front three attacked Hardwick’s full-backs with blistering pace and equalised from a corner, as Ryan Billmen hit a six-yard volley into the roof of the net.
Bardwell kept up the pressure which led to a penalty and Hardwick red card, as the referee sent Brett Codd off for using his hand to prevent a Trench header going in.
Mason Thorogood stepped up to slot the ball home from the spot kick and, at this point, Bardwell went in at half-time well in command at 2-1.
Man-of-the-Match Clayton Deane looked dangerous for Bardwell after the break, and it wasn’t long before his threat in the air hit home with Bardwell’s third goal.
Hardwick substitute Joe Allen did well to pull a goal back for his side to give them hope of a comeback but Bardwell finished the game well as they tightened their defence.
Deane netted his second — and Bardwell’s fourth — to wrap up an enjoyable cup final.
Trench said they will take the form and positive mindset into their Suffolk FA Sunday Trophy final against Monarchs on April 22 at AFC Sudbury (12.30pm).
“We will go not expecting but certainly hoping to win, that seems to have worked well for us so far,” he said.