LEISTON boss Stuart Boardley praised 17-year-old Harrison Bacon for showing ‘real bottle’ after he scored the decisive penalty in his side’s Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Final shoot-out victory over Lowestoft Town.
The holders won 3-2 on spot kicks following a 1-1 draw in Wednesday night’s tie at Victory Road, with Bacon netting Leiston’s third penalty before goalkeeper Marcus Garnham saved from Ben Fowkes to seal their semi-final spot.
Leiston had dominated the opening period, but only had Byron Lawrence’s well-taken 28th minute goal to show for it.
Lowestoft, who had ten players out – eight injured and two cup-tied including Jake Reed, who recently returned to the club from Leiston – came more into the game in the second period.
After Bacon had struck the bar and Matt Blake missed a golden opportunity after rounding keeper Elvijs Putnins but shooting wide of the far post, Lowestoft equalised.
Connor Deeks met Jack Wilkinson’s right-wing free-kick to send a header into the top corner after 77 minutes, and although both sides had half chances to win it, the tie went to penalties.
Leiston manager Boardley said: “It was just one of those games. I thought we did well in the first half and probably should have been two or three up in all honesty, but in the second half we just didn’t come out and made it extremely hard work for ourselves.
“Lowestoft nicked a goal towards the end and although we came out eventual winners, it was a tough one to watch.
“In the first half we moved the ball around nicely and created chances although not as many as our possession warranted, but that was due to some good defending by Lowestoft and lacklustre final passes from us, but generally at half time the message was to keep going, keep being patient and keep doing the same things.
“In the second half I felt we were sloppy from the outset, but the lads showed good character when it went to 1-1 and they put us under pressure in the last five or ten minutes, and we withstood that, particularly when we were under an aerial assault from corners.”
Lawrence, Kyle Hammond and Bacon scored from the spot for Leiston, while Will Davies saw his effort saved by Putnins and Christy Finch rattled the crossbar.
Connor Deeks and Jack Wilkinson were successful for Lowestoft, but Travis Cole shot over the bar and Garnham saved from both Henry Pollock and Fowkes.
Boardley added: “Marcus is good at penalties, as much as it pains me to say it because I missed quite a few against him during my time! He is a great shot stopper, probably the best at this level, to be honest, and you are always confident when you have got him between the sticks.
“I thought most of our penalties were relatively good, even young Will Davies who missed one as it was a great save from their keeper and then Harrison Bacon, a 17-year-old lad, showed some real bottle to put his hand up and say I will take one and that was good to see.”
Leiston join Felixstowe & Walton United, Ipswich Town and Stowmarket Town in the draw for the semi-finals which will be broadcast on BBC Radio Suffolk’s Final Whistle programme on Saturday between 5.30pm and 6pm.
Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Finals: Felixstowe & Walton Utd 3 Hadleigh Utd 2, Stowmarket Town 2 Brantham Athletic 1.
Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Final: Leiston 1 Lowestoft Town 1 – Leiston won 3-2 on pens.