Spixworth savouring cup final boost

PUBLISHED: 17:32 11 March 2011

Spixworth FC: Sponsored by the White Horse, back, left to right, Jody Cork, Adam Ferguson, Damian Didwell, Ross Bilham, Duncan Whitlam, Ben Gowing (captain). Front: left to right: Jason Armes, Lee Askew, Scott Sell, Ben Calver, Mark Bloomfield.

Spixworth FC: Sponsored by the White Horse, back, left to right, Jody Cork, Adam Ferguson, Damian Didwell, Ross Bilham, Duncan Whitlam, Ben Gowing (captain). Front: left to right: Jason Armes, Lee Askew, Scott Sell, Ben Calver, Mark Bloomfield.

Archant Norfolk 2010

Spixworth have enhanced their growing reputation as cup fighters by reaching their first major final.

A tense penalty shootout win at home to Blofield saw Spixworth move a step closer to clinching a prime piece of Anglian Combination silverware – the Mummery Cup.

The feat comes on the back of last season’s giant-killing exploits when unheralded Spixworth announced their arrival on the senior scene by claiming the scalps of Thetford and King’s Lynn Reserves, before bowing out with a gallant Norfolk Senior Cup quarter-final 3-1 defeat by Cromer.

Manager Middy Brown is delighted by the latest success for a team enjoying only its second season in senior soccer.

“We had a little bit of luck when one or two decisions went our way but I think we deserved our win,” he said.

Brown felt Spixworth had the better of the first half and could have been 2-0 up at the break had Ben Gowing and Jason Armes converted chances.

Midfielder Scott Sell’s gashed lip injury meant he could not take the field for the second half, which sparked a reshuffle.

Trophy-holders Blofield took the upper hand but could find no way past Spixworth goalkeeper Ross Bilham, who was in outstanding form.

With the scores goalless, extra time followed and a pivotal moment may have been when strong Blofield claims for a penalty for handball were turned down.

However the scores remained deadlocked and the ensuing penalty shoot-out saw Bilham take the spotlight again by saving two penalties and also scoring one as Spixworth won 3-1.

It also saw Blofield goalkeeper Robert Woodcock’s mantle as a penalty-taking king slip a little as the former Kirkley and Pakefield No 1 with an awesome record from 12 yards fired wide with Blofield’s first effort.

There were no such problems for man of the match Bilham, who along with captain Damien Didwell and Ben Calver made sure that Spixworth would be lining up in the Monday, May 2, showpiece final against Acle, 4-1 winners at Sheringham, at Wroxham.

Ironically Blofield’s successful penalty was converted by Sean Brown, son of the Spixworth manager who has enjoyed Sterry Cup success with the Beavers. during a lengthy career which has also included a spell at Norwich United.

“To get to a major final is fantastic,” said Brown. “It’s a great opportunity for us to show what we can do.”

He added: “We had players unavailable on Saturday who will be available for the final so we should do better.

“This result sets up our season quite nicely.

“We have still got to play Acle home and away before the final so it should be interesting.”

The Spixworth side has emerged from the Norwich Union team, which moved to Crostwick Lane via Dussindale after a spell as AFC Norwich, when the Pinebanks complex was put on the market.

Spixworth chairman David Wilson has bold plans for the outfit, with a goal of Ridgeons League football within the next few years. “You have got to have ambition. I have got a five or six year plan to get us into the Ridgeons League but you have got to have the facilities as well as the finances.” He declared: “We will get there, it’s an absolute certainty. I have got a good team behind me and everybody is pulling in the same direction.”

He said the hunt is on for a piece of land in the village area which could be developed, and which was suitable for all the club’s teams.

As well as the Premier Division outfit, there is also a Saturday Reserves side, two sides in the Evening News Norwich Sunday League, a side in the Norfolk and Suffolk Veterans League and a crop of youth teams.

“We are trying to get land, we are trying to lease land. We are trying very hard,” said Wilson.

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