Hadleigh want cup compensation

HADLEIGH United will be trying to win their first Suffolk Senior Cup for more than 20 years tonight when they meet Long Melford at Portman Road (7pm).

HADLEIGH United will be trying to win their first Suffolk Senior Cup for more than 20 years tonight when they meet Long Melford at Portman Road (7pm).

United last won the trophy in 1983 and Louis Newman's side will be hoping to win some

silverware after a miserable league season.

They finished in the bottom three of the Ridgeons League First Division, five places below Long Melford who won last year's Senior Cup when they defeated Stanton 5-0.

Hadleigh are going in to the game in a poor run of form after losing their last five competitive matches, including a 2-0 defeat away at Long Melford in April.

However, Hadleigh have impressed in the Senior Cup, this year sponsored by Alliance Outsourcing and reached the final by defeating Stowmarket Town Reserves, Melton St Audry's, Cornard United and Whitton United.

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Hadleigh's key player is Tony Cracknell who scored four goals in their 4-1 victory against Cornard then grabbed a hat-trick in Hadleigh's 3-1 semi-final success against Whitton United.

Newman, who has already agreed to stay at the club next season for his eighth year in charge, has sampled Suffolk Senior Cup glory before when, as a player for Crane Sports in 1984, he grabbed the winning goal to defeat Ipswich United 2-1.

Newman thinks his players will thrive on playing at Portman Road.

He said: “It is an occasion you have to sample and make the most of it.

“We have not had a particularly good league run and we finished at the wrong end of the table but there is really not a lot in the sides and the previous meetings have always been very tight.”

Hadleigh have been boosted by the news that club captain Archie Arnold is fit to play. His season had appeared to be over in November when he needed an operation after suffering a knee injury.

He returned to training in April, five months ahead of schedule and Newman is delighted Arnold is back in action.

Newman added: “Archie has been with the club for a hell of long time and he has missed a lot of the season but he has worked really hard and he has surprised himself and everyone else. It is a big boost to have him involved.”

A Hadleigh win at Portman Road could mark the start of the best week in the club's history as their reserve side will also have a chance of winning a trophy two days later.

On Thursday Hadleigh Reserves will play at 7pm at Portman Road against Lowestoft-based side Hearts of Oak in the final of the Debenham Leisure Centre Suffolk Junior Cup.

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