AFC Hoxne manager Jamie Scales believes their Suffolk Junior Cup triumph can be the catalyst for another push for promotion next season.
The Suffolk village side beat Henley Athletic 2-0 in Tuesday’s final at Portman Road to win the Junior Cup for the first time in their history.
And after finishing this season fourth in Touchline Suffolk and Ipswich League Division One, Scales is hopeful their historic cup win can provide a boost for their promotion prospects in 2016-17.
“When you get to our level of football everyone has got good players,” he said. “The teams who make it are the teams who are together.
“Winning the Junior Cup will give us a push. We’ll be a tight group.
“It’s a tough league but we came fourth and every year in the last five years we’ve gone one better and naturally we’ll be hoping next year will be the year (we get promoted).”
Bobby Varela and Liam Smith’s first-half goals sent the Hoxne contingent into dreamland, as Scales’ side took a firm grip on the cup with a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Henley desperately searched for a way back into the final in the second-half, but despite enjoying more of the possession they were unable to breach a determined Hoxne defence, marshalled well by goalkeeper Max Lock.
“The rolling subs was a big thing for us,” Scales said. “We feel we’ve got a good 16, not just a good 11.
“I thought the players were top notch in terms of their effort and commitment.
“I couldn’t ask for anymore from them and I couldn’t be prouder. It meant a lot to them.
“Some of the players were in tears at the end of the game who I’ve never seen flinch at anything.
“The club’s had some tough times and come through it and that’s not down to me or anyone, it’s down to a collective.
“There’s some really good people here and I’m not ashamed to say it: we’re a village team.
“We don’t pretend to be anything else. Anything we need we all pull together to get.
“The chairman, Paul Chapman, and the secretary, Richard Farthing, are an absolute godsend. Without them we wouldn’t be anywhere.”
n Scole United have announced former player Barry Cooper as their new first team manager, following the departures of co-managers James Last and Simon Nichols.
Last and Nichols guided Scole to promotion from the Almary Green Anglian Combination Premier Division after finishing as runners-up in Division One in 2014-15.
United were relegated back into Division One after finishing bottom of the Premier Division this season, with Last and Nichols subsequently stepping down last week.