Mulbarton Wanderers win Norfolk Senior Cup final
- Credit: Dereham Town
Mulbarton Wanderers were crowned champions of the Norfolk Senior Cup for the first time in the club’s history with a 2-1 victory over Dereham Town at Carrow Road.
An Ashton Fox own goal and a late winner from Joe Easton secured the trophy for the Step Five side.
Toby Hilliard equalised for the Magpies in the 70th minute but it was a case of missed opportunities for Adam Gusterson’s men, who failed to make their league advantage count.
They saw a first-half goal from Hilliard ruled out by referee Adrian George for a push in the build-up after the attacked nodded home from a corner.
This was Mulbarton’s second final in their history after they finished runners-up in the 2020/21 competition.
Danny Self and Ben Thompson’s side had to weather the storm for portions of the game but were rewarded for their doggedness at the back.
Mulbarton keeper Tom Wright was named Man of the Match for a string of what proved to be match-winning saves, notably from Fox’s second-half glancing header and a low drive from David Hinton.
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In a cagey opening 60 minutes, Dereham enjoyed plenty of the ball but Mulbarton's compact defence limited their opportunities.
When player-manager Self crossed from a free-kick, young defender Fox was unable to prevent the ball from deflecting off his trailing leg and nestling in the bottom corner of the net.
Dereham's response was almost immediate with Hilliard finishing off a wonderful team move that began with Adam Hipperson's beautifully weighted crossfield pass to Luke Johnson, who crossed for the former King's Lynn striker to equalise.
Mulbarton's robustness at the back paid off when Easton latched onto a cross to volley the ball beyond Joe Rider to net the winner. The elation from the bench was clear to see as Wanderers secured their maiden Norfolk Senior Cup victory.
It caps off another season of progression for the Step Five side, who finished fourth in their first season at that level since promotion in 2020/21.
For Dereham, it adds to the frustration of a charge for the play-offs falling short and comes weeks after a change of league.
1,197 were in attendance for the clash in NR1.