Haughley United reflect on cup final loss
SUFFOLK FA SENIOR CUP FINAL
SPONSORED BY CNET TRAINING
Waveney 3 Haughley United 2
Haughley United’s goalkeeper admitted an injury-time winner was a bitter pill to swallow, but thought they only had themeselves to blame after they set up to protect a slender lead in the second half.
The village side, who finished the season in sixth place in the Touchline Suffolk and Ipswich League (SIL) Senior Division, were looking to become the first team from their league to win the coveted county trophy since 2008 when they took to the pitch at Ipswich Town’s pristine Portman Road ground on Wednesday evening.
The fairytale of stopping their Anglian Combination League winning opponents Waveney from completing a league double looked to be very much on the cards at half-time with a dominant display seeing goals from Ryan Wragg and Stephen Vincent overturn an early opener from Tom Mawford.
But as Waveney began to pile on the pressure in the second half, a 67th minute penalty, converted by skipper Ryan Bloomfield, got them back in business before the late dramatic winner came from the head of Mawford three minutes into 12 added on.
And while Haughley manager Jason Cook was too angry with the officials to speak to the press, with his side having ended with 10 men after Wragg received a second yellow card for kicking out in the 10th added minute, goalkeeper Arron Mayhew felt it was the way they tried to play the second half which ultimately cost them.
“It is hard to take at the minute,” he said, “I think there were decisions that were 50/50 and we didn’t get the rub of the green, but from where I was with the penalty it was nailed on.
“It was difficult for the sending off as we have reacted, but don’t take anything away from Waveney. We can’t say the officials cost us the game and it is a difficult job to do, so we take it on the chin.
“I will be completely honest, and until they got the penalty I could not see them scoring. And the penalty let them back in and at 2-2 I think they deserved the victory for the way they played the last 20 to 30 minutes.
“I think maybe we sat back too much in the second half and it was more about our mindset rather than our legs going. I think if we had gone in 3-1 at half-time we would have won it.
“Perhaps if we had gone for it a bit more in the second half things would have been different, but c’est la vie.”
He added: “It is a great occasion for the club though and everyone put in what they did and we had a great crowd here as well.
“We’re disappointed but proud to have achieved what we have to get here.”
Haughley had gone into the game determined not to end their season with the anguish of two cup final defeats within a week, having succumbed 4-2 at the hands of Achilles — with Yani Duka and Nathan Smith getting their goals — in the Bob Coleman Cup showpiece on Friday.
A strong start saw an early penalty shout inside the first minute waved away when Andrew Hammersley slid in on Wragg, before Iuan Buxton’s resultant corner was punched onto the crossbar.
It was Waveney who took the lead against the run of play 12 minutes in though when Mawford swept in after Mayhew had come out to block a shot from Bradley Hough.
But four mintues later a lovely flowing move involving Smith and Vincent saw Cook’s side cut through the Waveney defence like a knife through butter with Wragg coolly converting.
Arron Robinson skied a good chance before Haughley secured the lead in the 34th minute. Smith hit the byline and, as Daniel Grigg miss-timed a sliding tackle, he squared for Vincent to guide in.
After a combination of goalkeeper and post kept out Arron Robinson’s volley at the start of the second half, Waveney began to camp themselves in Haughley’s half, with the breakthrough eventually coming in the 67th minute when Ben George’s sliding attempt to dispossess the jinking run of Hough saw him concede a penalty which was fired into the bottom right corner by Waveney skipper Ryan Bloomfield.
The pressure continued to be applied in front of the Haughley goal and as the game, punctured by now for treatments for cramps for Haughley’s tired players, entered the third minute of additional time a right-wing corner was met by Mawford for the winner.
There was still to be plenty of time left but there was to be no further twist, with Haughley’s cause not helped by Wragg’s late dismissal.
HAUGHLEY: Mayhew, Nickless, Beeston, West, George, Buxton, Robinson, Theobald, Wragg, Smith, Vincent. Subs: Allum, Bull, Duka, Codrington, Millard.
Free Press Man of The Match: Tom West