Walsham can't wait to face Sudbury
SOCCER: Walsham-le-Willows will be out to make up for lost time when they visit AFC Sudbury reserves in the quarter-final of the Suffolk Senior Cup tomorrow. The Metaltec SIL Senior Division leaders had a wasted journey to Sudbury when the game was postponed at the 11th hour last weekend.
By Elvin King
WALSHAM-le-Willows will be out to make up for lost time when they visit AFC Sudbury reserves in the quarter-final of the Suffolk Senior Cup tomorrow.
The Metaltec SIL Senior Division leaders had a wasted journey to Sudbury when the game was postponed at the 11th hour last weekend.
Walsham player manager Paul Smith said today: "We were left sick. After being told by the Sudbury secretary that the game was 99 per cent certain to be called off on Friday night, I had a call at
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10am the next morning to say that a local referee had declared the pitch fit after a thaw.
"But when we got to the ground the match referee, Lionel Scutcher, thought that although it was soft on top it was too hard underneath to play. To be honest I have played on much harder pitches in the summer.
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"What made it more galling was that I looked round and noticed Sudbury did not look to be that strong."
The winners of tomorrow's tie will play holders Kirkley in the semi-final on February 16, with Smith's side bolstered this week by the return of flying winger Nigel Wallis.
Ex-Sudbury Town stalwart Smith has now recovered from an ankle knock but will start on the bench. "Having Nigel available is a big plus," said Smith. "We have been doing so well and I am happy to be on the bench.
"We now have a good mix of experienced players who blend well with players who have made considerable progress since I took charge 18 months ago.
"I believe Sudbury have only lost twice at home in two seasons and they are second in the Border League, so we know it will be tough."
Smith will not know the strength of the opposition until tomorrow afternoon with the complexities of entering a reserve team in this competition rather involved.
AFC Sudbury's first team play tonight, but they have a big FA Carlsberg Vase game next week. And players who have played, or may be wanted for Sudbury's Premier Cup semi-final against Stowmarket next month, cannot be featured.
Two other quarter-finals will also be staged tomorrow with the winners of Haverhill Rovers versus Melton St Audry's playing the winners of Ashlea versus Leiston.
In the SIL, Grundisburgh can make up ground on Walsham with a win at bottom club Ransomes Sports – although the home side sprang a surprise in this fixture last year.
Haughley can also keep some pressure on Walsham, who have won 15 and drawn two of their 17 games this season, with a victory at Achilles. The Ipswich-based side can be tough nuts to crack however.