Cup Final joy for Needham Market

Needham Market 6-0 Bungay Town

by Darrell Allen (17/5/23)

Above: Needham Market’s two-goal hero Mia Etheridge celebrates after scoring in the final last night. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

Eastern Region Premier Division side Needham Market secured the Suffolk Women’s Cup on Tuesday night at Colchester United’s JobServe Community Stadium with victory over a Bungay Town side who play two tiers lower in the Norfolk Women and Girls’ League Division One.

Fine first half

The pre-match expectation was that Needham Market were strong favourites with score predications as high as a 15-0 win for the tier five side. Therefore, Bungay Town really had nothing to lose.

As expected, Needham Market dominated the ball all evening but early chances from Ellie Rossiter, Eva Hubbard, and Paige Wakefield were wasted. Bungay and the crowd began to sense this may not be the walk in the park that was billed. One of Bungay’s biggest threats is the former Ipswich Town star, Zoe Cossey and it was clear from the off she had the quality to make Needham think. For good measure, Cossey had two shots on target of her own in the opening half.

Mia Etheridge broke Bungay’s resistance on 25 minutes after receiving a brilliant ball from Wakefield but that was all the favourites could manage in the opening half as Bungay stood firm.

A fatal fifteen

Knowing what had happened in last year’s final and having had the half-time break to regroup, what followed at the beginning of the second half was something special from Warren Lewis-Claxton’s team.

Four goals between the restart and the hour mark quickly did away with any thought this might be a contest and gave the tier five team clear daylight. A calm finish from Nicole Pannifer from the edge of the box got it going before Eva Hubbard made it three. The game’s stand-out moment then followed as Lina Nagib struck a thunderbolt of a ball into the net in stunning fashion.

Ellie Rossiter then smashed past the keeper to make it a fifth different goalscorer and round off a fatal fifteen minutes from a Bungay perspective. It had gone from 1-0 to 5-0 in a flash and now for Darren Renwick and his team, it was all about keeping a positive attitude from the remaining half an hour to ensure this didn’t end up embarrassing in terms of the scoreline.

Fantastic Flatman

In a cup final where one team is regarded as a clear favourite, the person who has the hardest job is often the goalkeeper of the underdog. Maddie Flatman in goal for Bungay Town was exceptional, particularly during the first half period where she stood firm to deny Rossitter, Hubbard, Wakefield, and others.

After the fatal fifteen where the game slipped beyond them, Flatman continued to be a shining light as she made repeated saves to keep the score respectable, and only a second goal of the evening from Mia Etheridge was let past her in the final half an hour on the 81st minute. After how the second half had started, it was a performance to be proud of for the keeper.

Leading by example

Bungay’s captain Charnelle Riggall deserved this night so much. The smile as she led her team out at the Jobserve Community Stadium in Colchester, the joy as she came off at half time knowing her team had rattled their superior hosts and the pride as she led her team up for the runners-up medals were three truly special sights to witness.

History makers Bungay Town who were in the Suffolk Women’s Cup final for the first time in their history conducted the evening in such a way that was a credit to Norfolk and Suffolk football, their club, and most importantly themselves. For Riggall, after many years building this project at Bungay Town this was a night that meant so much. They really did put the club properly on the map on Suffolk FA’s big night of the year.

A true team effort

Market backed by around 300 supporters including a drum from their regular goalkeeper who was cup tied. The atmosphere from the drum and supporters sounded more like 3,000. Needham Market is a proud institution as former players and friends of the club backed them in numbers and roared them on to success. It was a great family feeling for Darren Renwick’s team too as Renwick himself had his family occupying the technical area with him to enjoy a landmark day for him and his team.

A fabulous occasion

Roared on by 399 spectators, Needham Market and Bungay Town delivered an unforgettable occasion. Whilst, as expected that Warren Lewis-Claxton and his team won comfortably, Bungay Town made them think and have to really have a big half-time talk. Fifteen dominant minutes from the tier five side where they went up the gears and blew Bungay Town aside was the difference.

The Suffolk FA and Colchester United ran a brilliant evening and it really feels like this is the perfect home for such an occasion as all the recent finals have been so well staged. For Needham Market, this was the case of getting the job done which they did by turning on the style when they needed. Whilst for Bungay Town this was all about history and making themselves proud. Both clubs went home very happy and proud of their evening’s work. It was a night of joy and a great football occasion.

Teams: NEEDHAM MARKET: Gibbs, Pannifer, Hubbard, Bloomfield, Catchpole, Rossiter, Balfour, Etheridge, Nagib, Hall, Wakefield, Substitutes: McGarth, Brawn, Sharp, Nunn, Thomas.

Scorers: Etheridge 25′, 81′. Pannifer 47′, Hubbard 51′, Nagib 53′, Rossiter 58′.

BUNGAY TOWN: Flatman, Renwick, Roos, Flatt, Galer, Riggall, Rowland, Hood, Foster, Cossey, Goulder. Substitutes: Purling, Serghiou, Fenn, Leeks, Adams.

Referee: Tom Ling.

Attendance: 399.

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