TWO goals early in the second half saw Walsham-le-Willows lift the Suffolk FA Senior Reserve Cup sponsored by Days Sports for the first time.
An even opening 45 minutes saw the two teams enter the break level at 1-1, but Walsham struck after 50 and 55 minutes to pave the way for a 3-1 win against Whitton United at Stowmarket Town FC.
Walsham deserved their victory, creating the lion’s share of the chances and forcing some good saves from Whitton keeper Shaun Chaplin, before a good-sized crowd at Greens Meadow.
Ben Virtue struck a good shot just over the crossbar after a surge forward in the tenth minute, but Whitton replied a minute later with Ryan Flynn’s downward header from a corner which went straight at keeper Liam Bryant.
Whitton strikers Lewis Huggins and Lewis Whittaker had efforts saved either side of Walsham taking a 29th minute lead when Lee Hammond held off a defender and shot confidently home. The lead lasted just six minutes as Huggins crossed from the left and Lee Gaught, in attempting to clear with his right foot, sliced the ball high into his own net. Chaplin made a splendid save two minutes later from Hammond’s rising drive and from the resulting corner dived to his right to gather Jake Gathercole’s header.
The Whitton keeper saved at the feet of Luke Austin after 49 minutes, but was helpless to prevent his side falling behind a minute later.Virtue’s header from a left-wing corner was cleared off the line, but the ball came back to the central defender who hooked home just inside the near post. Hammond stung Chaplin’s hands with a powerful drive before Walsham extended their lead in the 55th minute when Austin coolly lobbed over the keeper from the edge of the penalty area.
Virute saw a shot deflected wide, while at the other end the lively Kyle Cassell’s well-struck drive was safely held by Bryant.
With three minutes of normal time remaining Austin played a one-two with substitute Darren Atkins but Chaplin produced a top-class save, diving to his right to tip the ball round the far post. From Jordon Smith’s left-wing corner the ball struck the crossbar, before Gathercole saw an effort deflected wide in the four minutes of time added on.
The cup and medals were presented by Keith Mills of local Bury St Edmunds Trophy Engravers & competition sponsors Days Sports.