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Framlingham Town boss Liam Abraham admits defeat to Cornard United was ‘really tough to take’





Framlingham Town boss Liam Abraham stated his side’s 2-1 defeat in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North play-off semi-final to Cornard United was ‘really tough to take’ and admitted his team did not cause Saturday’s visitors enough of a threat.

The Castlemen, who finished second in the standings, headed into the one-legged tie after they finished 14 points above Gary Monti’s Ards in the regular season, and they boasted a phenomenal home record – with their last league defeat at Badingham Road coming back in August.

After a 2-1 play-off semi-final loss at Harleston Town in 2021/22, Fram were knocked out on penalties last year by Harwich & Parkeston. And the Castlemen were made to suffer the cruelty of the play-offs for a third consecutive season at the weekend.

Johhny Kerridge attempts to take possession off Harry Shawyer
Johhny Kerridge attempts to take possession off Harry Shawyer

Billy Nasso, who had been on the pitch for less than a minute, proved to be the difference between the two sides as his low drive from inside the area – 13 minutes from time – secured a 2-1 victory and a place in the final for Cornard.

“It’s really tough (to take), even tougher because it’s the third year in a row I guess. It’s unfortunately sport, isn’t it? It’s not always fair,” said the Framlingham boss.

“They’re (the players) really disappointed. When you play 40 games and put yourselves in a really good spot, it just makes it even tougher to not make it.

Framlingham’s James Ross goes to make a challenge on Ollie Sims
Framlingham’s James Ross goes to make a challenge on Ollie Sims

“I said before the game, two years ago when we scraped into fifth and we were playing Harleston, you’re just happy to get the opportunity.

“Whereas today (Saturday), we’re 14 points ahead of these boys and they beat us on the day in a one-off game.”

Despite defeat, Fram did take the lead in the first half when Archie Exworth’s trickery and inviting cross forced an own goal, but Cornard kept knocking on the door and equalised before the break via Luke Spurling’s composed finish, after he rounded goalkeeper Edward Cummings.

Winger Ethan Whittingstall enjoyed a lot of possession on the right wing during the first period, occasionally getting the better of Cornard’s Tyler Kemp, but the hosts failed to make the most of his cut-backs into the penalty area.

Framlingham players watch on as Billy Nasso nets the winning goal for Cornard United Pictures: Mark Bullimore
Framlingham players watch on as Billy Nasso nets the winning goal for Cornard United Pictures: Mark Bullimore

And frontman Max Willett – who finished as the league’s second top scorer with 34 goals in 37 appearances – had an unusually quiet match.

Framlingham cannot complain too much about the result, as the Ards dominated proceedings, but felt they should have had a penalty when Exworth went down in the box in the final minutes only to see referee Andrew Crossley unmoved.

Monti’s players headed straight to the changing room at the sound of the full-time whistle. While they blared music and celebrated a tie against Holland FC for a place in the Premier Division, Framlingham’s players laid dejected on the Badingham turf.

Cornard celebrate their second goal on Saturday. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Cornard celebrate their second goal on Saturday. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Abraham gathered the squad together on the pitch for a debrief.

“(I told them to) respect the club first of all, so make sure you go in (to the clubhouse), there’s people that have cooked food for them and people that have come to support them all season,” he said.

“I didn’t say anything about the game. I just said ‘make sure you respect, don’t sulk, get on with it and make sure you’re in the clubhouse chatting to people’.

Max Willett had a quiet afternoon on Saturday. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Max Willett had a quiet afternoon on Saturday. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“They stopped us playing. They’re a big, strong, robust team that got in our faces and made it really hard for our ball-playing players, especially, to influence the game.

“We thought we could get in behind them a few times, but we just didn’t do that enough or cause enough threat.”



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