Brantham plan to shock cup opponents
SOCCER: Brantham Athletic may be at the wrong end of the table and missing four of their main players – but they aim to give Walsham-le-Willows a shock. The teams meet tomorrow in the quarter-final of the Metaltec SIL Omnico Cup with the visitors favourites to win the competition.
By Elvin King
BRANTHAM Athletic may be at the wrong end of the table and missing four of their main players – but they aim to give Walsham-le-Willows a shock.
The teams meet tomorrow in the quarter-final of the Metaltec SIL Omnico Cup with the visitors favourites to win the competition.
They are unbeaten in the Senior Division and have already won at Brantham this season. But Athletic manager Peter Gorham today predicted his side would make life tough for their second in the table opponents.
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"Hopefully we can provide a shock," said Gorham, who took over last season and gained promotion out of the First Division at the first attempt.
"We finished third and were lucky to go up. We would still be playing junior football if Leiston had not been admitted to the Jewson League and created a vacancy in the Senior Division.
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"A third from bottom finish will be a result, and any runs we have in cup competitions will be a bonus. We are finding it hard and we are four or five players away from what I would like.
"And additionally tomorrow we are missing four key men. But we perform well against the better sides and we are looking forward to the game."
Karl Weir broke both bones in his lower leg against Grundisburgh last Saturday, while Bevan Garcia is out with a broken arm. Goalkeeper Scott Crane has a shoulder injury while Brian Clarke is suspended.
Manager's son John is leading scorer from midfield and he will have a leading role to play tomorrow against player manager Paul Smith's Walsham side.
"Paul said some complimentary things about us when we lost 2-0 to Walsham in the league," added Gorham senior, who admits his club could be in trouble for failing to finish last Saturday's league match at Grundisburgh.
"We were 4-0 down with four minutes left when Karl Weir suffered his injury," explained Gorham. "My players were waiting around in the cold for the game to re-start and I told them to go and get changed.
"I told Grundisburgh manager Steve Potts that I would be happy to take the consequences. When the referee wanted to re-start we were not in a position to do so. I accept that we lost the game, there is no way we would have come back from four down in four minutes."
Second Division Ipswich Exiles are the only junior club left in the competition – and they face a trip to in-form Old Newton. The village side has won nine consecutive league games and will start odds-on to reach the last four.
Exiles beat Stonham Aspal in the last round 3-2 – their second senior scalp after getting the better of Leiston St Margarets in December 2000 when John Fulcher was manager.
Nick Biondi is now in charge and he will be keeping his fingers crossed that ex-Stowmarket Town player Cameron Smith overcomes a thigh problem. Smith was transferred from Newton to Exiles although he was a regular by any means in the Newton side.
Exiles will be without Paul Mayes who has ankle trouble. Long-serving Exiles secretary Eric Dickerson said today: "We are undoubted underdogs but we hope to give a good account of ourselves.
"Newton are on a great run and will feel confident they can beat us. It is a big day for Exiles as we have a home Orwell Cup quarter-final at home to Coplestonians A. I don't think I will be able to make the Newton game."
In the other two games, the local derby between Achilles and Ipswich Athletic could go down to the wire, while Stanton and East Bergholt is another game that could go either way with the home team having won their last five matches.
Grundisburgh can stretch their lead at the top of the SIL Senior Division with a victory at Woodbridge Athletic, although Walsham have vital games in hand. Ransomes will be seeking valuable points at Capel Plough as they plan a move up the table; with Stonham Aspal having a chance to arrest their current poor run at home to Melton St Audry's.