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League Cup Winners 2019

LEAGUE CUP WINNERS 2019

A year ago today (6th May 2019) the club won the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup for the first time in the Villagers' history, beating Fakenham Town 1-0. Andy Cussans looks back on how the Cup was won...

2nd Round: Woodbridge Town 0 Long Melford 3

After a bye in the first round, Melford travelled to high-flying Woodbridge. The Woodpeckers were without the influential Carlos Edwards but still named a strong side, so this was an excellent win. Ross Waugh gave the Villagers an early lead, a superb individual goal by Hassan Ally doubled the lead and another good finish by Pablo Chaves completed the scoring late on.

3rd Round: Long Melford 2 Hadleigh United 0

In the next round neighbours Hadleigh came to Stoneylands. Melford had a comfortable 2-0 half time lead thanks to goals scored by Sam Bayliss and David Lopez (pen) and that was how it finished.

Quarter Final: Long Melford 3 Stowmarket Town 1

In terms of league form Stow were heavy favourites to win this one but Melford put in another impressive display and were convincing winners on the night. Emmanuel Machaya gave Melford an early lead, Nathan Rowe scored from the spot to double the advantage and Pablo Chaves made it 3-0 to kill the match off before Stow scored a late consolation.

Semi Final: Long Melford 4 Benfleet 3

Up until this point Melford had won each round with comfortable scorelines, however this was a much closer game. Benfleet were dangerous going forward and took the lead twice, Melford had to dig deep to come back and win in the 90th minute through Will Wingfield. The other Melford scorers were Emmanuel Machaya, Ross Waugh and Pablo Chaves.

Final: Long Melford 1 Fakenham Town 0 (at Diss Town FC)

Melford had finished the league season strongly, winning the final three matches to stay in the Premier Division. With the pressure off, the Cup Final was a day to enjoy - it would have been very different going there as a relegated club.

Opponents Fakenham Town had a good season in the First Division finishing 6th and had an impressive semi-final win against Newmarket, so both sides were confident going into the Final and a tough game was expected.

The match never really got going as a spectacle, it was tight and cagey like a typical cup final, with very few clear-cut chances.

Melford were solid defensively and produced the decisive moment of quality to bring home the cup. 

In the 31st minute Jacob Brown whipped in a brilliant cross from the right and the skipper Steve Adams headed home in style.

It's fair to say Melford didn't play as well as they had in the earlier rounds, the Final was more a case of grinding out the win.

Looking back on the cup run, there were so many memorable moments, including beating two of the favourites in Woodbridge and Stowmarket in convincing fashion.

And Will Wingfield's injury-time winner in the semi-final was one of those goals that stays in the memory - and makes football's setbacks and disappointments worthwhile.

And obviously Steve Adams' winner in the final is another highlight, it was a peach of a goal and worthy of winning any match.

After such a tough season it was great to see the players' celebrations when they received their medals and lifted the trophy.

And it was also a really nice moment for the management team of Jamie Bradbury, Mick Garbi and Steve Chisholm.  A relegation battle is not a lot of fun but they were always very positive and worked unbelievably hard to turn things around. 

The squad as a whole, players and management, stuck together throughout the season.  So to stay up and win the Cup was a great reward for all the hard work over the previous 9 months.

League Cup Final Squad: Michael Bett, Ross Waugh, Will Wingfield, Deklyn Roy, Ashley Skeggs, Anthony Waugh, Nathan Rowe, Jacob Brown, Steve Adams (c), Pablo Chaves, Hassan Ally   Subs: Sam Bayliss, Ben Judge, Emmanuel Machaya, Josh Collins, Dan Smith

League Cup Scorers 2018/19: Pablo Chaves 3, Emmanuel Machaya 2, Ross Waugh 2, Steve Adams 1, Nathan Rowe 1, Sam Bayliss 1, David Lopez 1, Hassan Ally 1, Will Wingfield 1

Main photo at top of article by John Nunn. Photo numbers 1,7 and 8 below are with thanks to Iliffe Media / Suffolk Free Press.

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