Thursday, February 16, 2012
Marlborough hope to right the wrong of a Carrow Road “no-show” when they entertain old foes El Sol in a Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup semi-final this weekend.
The north city pub side will book their place in their third final in the past four years in the showpiece competition if they can overcome the Yarmouth outfit, who they beat 5-1 in the 2009 final.
Manager Mark Jones admitted the desire to make up for last season’s shortcomings had been a galvanising factor in the run-up to this weekend’s Eaton Park encounter (10.30am).
“If we can beat El Sol it gives us an opportunity to rectify what went wrong last year when we simply didn’t turn up on the day against Dog House and were well beaten 3-0,” said Jones.
Despite being a Marlborough stalwart for many years Jones never won the Sunday Senior Cup as a player, having experienced semi-final heartbreak six times and retiring before the team managed by Matt Foulger triumphed at Carrow Road.
Last season, in his first at Marlborough managerial helm, he was delighted to guide the team back to Carrow Road, and clinch the Premier Division title.
“Looking back at last season, to achieve what we did was a decent effort in terms of the players we had,” he said.
This term the return of some familiar faces has added vital experience to the mix of young talents that won the league title with five points in hand of Dog House.
The comeback of stalwart midfielder Darren Perry has underlined that there is no substitute for experience. “He has been a revelation. He is in his later years but he has certainly made a difference,” said Jones.
Also back in the picture are Danny Brown at centre forward, former skipper Shaun Cameron at centre back, and Shaun Brown in midfield.
Young midfielder Jamie Speller, from the defunct Wymondham Rangers, and multi-talented teenager Payton Swatman, from Norwich Busmen, have proved exciting new recruits for the nine times top flight title winners.
Despite having played five games fewer than leaders the Grove, Marlborough are strongly fancied for the title again. They will also be looking to add to their formidable record of six league cup successes. Marlborough, who suffered a first round scare when they scraped past a game Bayer outfit 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out, travel to holders Acle Rangers for a March 4 quarter-final.
But all talk of them joining the elite group of five teams that have landed the elusive treble of league title, Sunday Senior Cup and League Cup is forbidden.
“That word is banned in the changing rooms.
“It’s a cliché but we really are just focusing on the next game which is the cup semi-final this weekend.
“The league is the main objective and if we win a trophy it’s a bit of a bonus,” said Jones.
With around 20 players to choose from there will be no lack of competition for places as Marlborough’s season comes to the boil. Skipper Luke Durrant, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in a cup game against Windmill, is a key player set to return in the not- too-distant future.
Jones described Marlborough’s progress so far as “a great all-round team effort” with Jason Armes topping the goalscoring chart and hardy annual Colin Wines, Payton Swatman, and Danny Brown also weighing in with their share of strikes.
The second Sunday Senior Cup semi-final sees Jason Bush’s AFC Wanderers, who won the trophy in 2010, travel to the Beaconsfield to play Yarmouth outfit Camden Tavern, who won the trophy in 2007.