Cornard United’s Michael Schofield has revealed the whole team is hellbent on helping him finish his managerial reign on the ultimate high – by ending the club’s trophy drought in tomorrow night’s CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup final.
The Ards have not got their hands on any new silverware in 29 years – since winning the Eastern Counties (Thurlow Nunn) League Premier Division.
But ahead of Friday’s final with lower-league Achilles at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road (7.30pm), they stand just 90 minutes from writing a new chapter in their history.
An announcement by the club that Schofield and fellow joint manager Matt Grove, both of who have combined playing duties with team selection and training this season, are set to step down from their roles after the match has provided extra motivation to deliver it.
“It is a great chance to end my time in charge with some silverware, it’s something we fully believe that we can do,” said Schofield, whose father is flying over from Australia just to watch his sons, including Andy, in action.
“The players have been so amazing all season and even when I announced to them I was stepping down, you could see that some of them were genuinely gutted, particularly the younger lads. But every single man said let’s end this tenure with a trophy.
“They all thanked me for getting this side together. We’ve created a real bond on and off the pitch and I’m desperate to repay their faith and
support with a trophy.”
Although Achilles finished third in the Touchline Suffolk & Ipswich League Senior Division, one rung down the ladder from Cornard’s Thurlow Nunn League First Division North (12th), Schofield does not see them as favourites for the final.
“Personally, I don’t think the leagues and the position they finished is particularly accurate,” he said. “I think if you speak to people who know the leagues and know both clubs they would put Achilles in as favourites; they’ve been here and done it before with a very similar side to what they have now.
“But truth be told I’m not into favourites at this level; it’s a cup final, absolutely anything can happen at any level of football in a cup final.
“They feel they will win, we feel we will win; it’s going to be a very interesting battle between two sides who deserve to be here.”
Lewis Blanchett and Max Dinnell scored a goal in each half as Cornard overcame divisional rivals Ipswich Wanderers in the semi-final at Hadleigh United a month ago to reach the prestigious county cup final for the second time in their history. And they will be looking to make it two final wins from two, having beat Sudbury Wanderers 1-0 in 1988/89.
Schofield has called for his side to ‘leave everything out there’ in pursuit of the trophy with a fully fit squad to choose from.