Framlingham Town manager Liam Abraham already looking ahead to next season after semi-final defeat
As one season draws to a close, Framlingham Town manager Liam Abraham already has his eyes fixed firmly on the next one.
The Castlemen’s run in the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup came to an end at the semi-final stage last weekend when they were beaten 4-1 by a Lakenheath side basking in the glory of having been promoted to Step 5 as part of the FA’s recent non-league restructure.
It brought the curtain down on a stop-start 2020/21 campaign, one in which Framlingham managed to play just 11 Thurlow Nunn League First Division North matches before the Covid-19 pandemic forced another early curtailment.
Plans are now under way for 2021/22, with Abraham keen to see his youthful group take some further strides forward.
“We are getting better and are still young, but I’ve been saying that for three years now,” he said.
“It’s the same group of players so there does come a point which we’ll reach that we can’t keep saying we’re young.
“I feel like we’re improving, certainly since we took charge. A lot of these lads aren’t 18 or 19 anymore, they are in their 20s and are really growing into it. I feel we are at that real critical point now when we need to start kicking on.”
While it was hard to argue against the fact that Lakenheath were deserving winners at AFC Sudbury’s MEL Group Stadium on Saturday, the scoreline was perhaps harsh on Abraham’s side.
They were actually on top when Danny Smith drew them level from the penalty spot in the opening 60 seconds of first-half stoppage time, but they conceded just before the break to go in 2-1 behind.
It proved to be the defining moment of the tie, with Lakenheath’s Tom Thulborn scoring twice after the restart to seal his side’s passage through to Monday’s final.
“It was close for a large period of the game,” added the Framlingham boss.
“At 2-1, if we could have kept that up in the second half, we were always going to have a chance because of the way we attack.
“We stuck to that game-plan and managed to cause them problems. The third goal is the one that really sealed it and the fourth one can happen when you are pushing to get back into it.
“(The second goal) was hard to take. Anyone that’s been in a changing room when you’ve conceded just before half-time, that’s the first thing that’s on your mind. If it happens 20 minutes earlier, you’ve moved on. That was the key point in the tie.
“They were favourites – we were under no illusions on that. We matched them for large periods of the game and got it back to 1-1 and at that point we were well in it.”