Trophy glory for linton granta fc

DESERVED VICTORY: Linton Granta were the better side on the night and outshone their opponents on the way to victory    Picture: Mark Westley
DESERVED VICTORY: Linton Granta were the better side on the night and outshone their opponents on the way to victory Picture: Mark Westley

Lee Miller does not yet think it has sunk in — Linton Granta are the 2017/18 Kershaw Premier Cup champions.

The manager should not be so shell-shocked though, with the team the standout performers in this year’s competition, winning the trophy without conceding a goal.

Miller said he knew his side were in good form — as they went into the final on a 14-match unbeaten streak — but also knew opponents West Wratting were on their own run of fortune.

Linton Granta came flying out of the blocks in Tuesday night’s final held at Newmarket Town with an onslaught of energy and drive that West Wratting struggled with all game.

It was a ‘complete performance’ from the team according to Miller, who added that it was ‘incredible for me personally too, to win a trophy in my first season as manager’.

He said: “The way we played was a joy to watch, it was a complete performance.

“They were disciplined, energetic, worked hard off the ball, on the ball, just brilliant.

“That’s what you have to do to beat a team as good as West Wratting — I’m just so happy.

“It also now puts us up there as one of the teams that are dangerous and shows we are more than capable of targeting the league title next season, but that’s not my focus right now, we still have this season to finish.

“And that win now makes it 15 games unbeaten in all competitions so it should be a good end to the season.”

After finding themselves at the bottom of the Kershaw Premier after the first month of the season, Miller said their campaign has just gone from strength to strength.

But, as he pointed out, this has not just been luck but the rewards of the hard work put in on the training field, with the side training several times a week since November.

He said: “We’re getting the payback now from all that hard work in training.

“We’ve worked on all aspects of our game and it showed, we were so well organised.

“I just still can’t believe it though — we won — I’m in a bit of shock, I think.”

He said he was ‘delighted’ with the performance of the entire squad, with ‘everyone doing their bit’. He was particularly pleased with captain Dale Archer, forward Andy Palmer and defender Gavin Tickner, who he said has had a difficult season off the field and was so pleased to see him play well.

And it was skipper Archer who led from the front as the side signalled their intent from the whistle, finding the first goal after just 16 minutes.

Linton smoothly passed the ball forward to Archer, who finished neatly in front of a crowd of 292. Their second came in the 28th minute, Archer taking the ball into the box before putting a tempting cross across the face of goal, which Simon Greathead tapped in after the ‘keeper got a hand to it.

West Wratting roused themselves after half-time but Palmer’s third goal, against the run of play, in the 50th minute killed the contest, as West Wratts never looked like scoring three against a well-drilled and hungry side.