Walsham-le-Willows manager eyeing up a run in the FA Vase after his side gives a good account of themselves against Ipswich Town Under-18s
Trevor Collins was happy with how his Walsham-le-Willows side acquitted themselves as they exited the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup with a 3-1 home defeat to a young Ipswich Town side on Wednesday.
Zak Brown rounded goalkeeper Steve Fenner in the 18th minute to put the Blues ahead before Charlie Norman’s fine turn and low finish found the bottom corner to level things up in the 26th minute.
But a sublime 25-yard curling strike from centre-half Levi Andoh in the 38th minute sent Ipswich into the interval with a deserved lead.
The second half saw the side managed by Under-18s boss Adem Atay show their class with some slick passages of play that were a joy to watch.
But the smart actions of goalkeeper Fenner kept the scoreline respectable, with just Collin Oppong’s 59th-minute finish, following a good run and cut back by Brown, having taken the tie away from them. And the hosts, to their credit, did manage a late rally.
Walsham boss Collins, whose side had beaten Haverhill Rovers 4-0 on Saturday and Newmarket Town 5-2 last Wedneday in their previous two home games to rise to fourth in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table, said: “It was a pleasing workout. We knew it was going to be tough, they are professional footballers and they had a strong side. They had at least one player (Ross Crane) that was involved in the first team last night, but we enjoyed it.
“We have got a young side as well and we are still putting things together; I think it will still take a couple of months before we are where we should be but we are getting there and improving.
“We have had some good results recently but tonight is a whole different ball game; they are sharp and they proved why they are playing at that level.
“I thought it was an enjoyable one though and we gave them a game.”
Young striker Kieran Twinn – who scored all four on Saturday and two against Newmarket – and influential ex-Ipswich professional Ian Miller were both rested for the tie.
And Collins admitted the greater focus needed to be put on tomorrow’s FA Vase tie at lower-league Sheringham (3pm).
“I put Ky (Kyran Cooper) in and gave Kieran a bit of a rest but he’ll be raring to go Saturday as that is a big game for us,” he said.
“We are actually better positioned to have a good Vase run than we are to win this competition.
“This competition is a tough one with some good sides like Bury, Needham and Lowestoft, so it is important for this club to try and have a good FA Vase run.
“I have been involved at Bury Town when we have got to the quarter-finals and the semi-final and you can’t beat it. It is brilliant and generates so much interest around the area, so I think that (game) is paramount for us.”
With a Covid-19 precautionary call-off seeing the Willows exit the Emirates FA Cup without kicking a ball, the prize money offered by the Buildbase FA Vase, is more important than usual in these testing times.
But they are prepared for a battle in the second round qualifying tie on the Norfolk coast.
“We have had them watched a couple of times and their league position doesn’t give a true reflection of what they are,” said Collins.
“To beat Newmarket 2-0 they have got to be a good side so we will give them the respect they deserve and we know what we’ve got to do, so let’s go there and win the game.”