Haughley's high hopes for Senior Cup

PUBLISHED: 11:52 23 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

HAUGHLEY United are undaunted by the task that awaits them in tomorrow's second round of the Suffolk Senior Cup.

The club that has won just once in ten semi-final appearances, face a trip to Grundisburgh a side who have won this competition four times in the previous seven seasons.

HAUGHLEY United are undaunted by the task that awaits them in tomorrow's second round of the Suffolk Senior Cup.

The club that has won just once in ten semi-final appearances, face a trip to Grundisburgh a side who have won this competition four times in the previous seven seasons.

"We could have done with a nice home draw," said Haughley manager Gary Nunn, who runs the first team jointly with Richard Friend.

"With a full side we can give anybody a game and we are up to the task. We always relish the chance of playing on the famous Grundisburgh slope and dealing with the vocal home crowd.

"This will help to spur us on. We are third in the table with a game in hand and have lost just twice"

Nunn, who regained the managerial reigns at the start of last season after Haughley had just escaped relegation in 1999/00 after being in the bottom two for most of the campaign, says that his defence must play well.

"This could well be the key," he said. "Grundisburgh's star strikers Martin Cotton and Julian Beaumont are class acts and players like Lee Bullock, Paul Hillebrandt and Mark Brightey add to the quality.

"Grundisburgh are fourth in the Metaltec SIL Senior Division table which would be great for most clubs but must be a disappointment to them after the success they have enjoyed over the last ten years or so.

"Walsham-le-Willows look as though they are going to run away with the league being a strong side with a set of strong lads.

"This might double Grundisburgh's resolve to do well in the Senior Cup particularly after going out on penalties to eventual winners Kirkley in the early stages last season."

Nunn and Friend are pleased with the players they recruited from junior football during the summer and have become regulars. Goalkeeper Merrel Clarke and forward player Malcolm Stevens came from West Bergholt while central defender Robbie Grover moved from Eye and striker Paul Noller from Mendlesham.

In the last round, Haughley beat Anglian Combination Beccles Town 3-2 with Martin Flack scoring a fine winner two minutes from the end.

Haughley will soon be in the spotlight with planning permission already given for floodlights. The club is currently obtaining quotes for the work to be done although Nunn confirms that there are no plans to move up to the Jewson League.

"Our pitch has been drained and we have spent £10,000 on that," said Nunn. "It is now much better, and we see our future in the SIL."

Needham Market have been the bridesmaids of the Senior Cup for the last three years. After losing in Portman Road finals to first Walton United and then Grundisburgh they were beaten on penalties by eventual winners Kirkley in last season's semi-final.

"Our Senior Cup record is excellent and we will be endeavouring to continue this," said general manager Graham Emmerson today.

Needham travel to Jewson League newcomers Leiston and face a hard task as the home side have taken the First Division by storm and look good bets to move straight through to the Premier Division.

"We had to go to Hadleigh in the first round, and managed to beat them," added Emmerson. "That was a good performance and we will have to be at our best again to go into the hat for the quarter-final draw."

Colin Macrow and Colin Sinclair now jointly manage Needham and they are not looking likely at this stage to repeat a promotion challenge. After looking set to move up at some stage during the last four campaigns, Needham still find themselves in the First Division of the Jewson League. But Emmerson confirmed that ambition is still there.

"We have to get the fundamentals right," he said. "We have put more resources into our pitch than into the playing side over the last few months.

"It is no good qualifying to move up to a division that will mean more games and not have a pitch that can cope. Once we get the pitch right – and big improvements have been made – then we will be able to change tack.

"Good news off the field is that gates are up, sponsorship is up and overall income is up. The fundamentals are coming right."

Emmerson says that when Needham played a league game at Stanway Rovers recently the expenses for all their players was less than for one opposition player.

"Our players only get income from us to cover their expenses," added Emmerson. "We have a very young side and are delighted with how they are performing. The players have no fear and we will make it hard for Leiston to beat us."

Kirkley have a home tie against a Long Melford side who are top of the Border League and planning to move up to the Jewson League in 2002/03.

Haverhill Rovers, another fancied club, have a home game against Capel Plough and having beaten Woodbridge Town in two cup competitions this term they will fancy their chances.

Walsham, at Lowestoft Town reserves, will start favourites but the games between Melton St Audry's and Brantham and Old Newton and Lowestoft-based Ashlea could go either way.

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