MANAGER Ian Cornforth said his Leiston side will fight all the way to try to win the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup for a third season in a row.
The holders defeated Woodbridge Town 3-1 at Notcutts Park in Wednesday night’s second round tie to book their place in the quarter-finals of this season’s competition.
Rob Eagle scored from the penalty spot in the third minute for the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central Division side after opposing skipper Sean Rea had fouled Will Davies
Rhys Henry then stroked home the second after 35 minutes from a Kyle Hammond cross after a neat interchange with Eagle down the right flank.
That was just after the Woodpeckers had lost striker Mark Ray with what looked like a potentially serious knee injury, and Davies then thumped a shot against the crossbar.
Woodbridge’s Nathan Read blazed over a gaping goal after Charlie Beckwith had parried a Jake Rudge low dive into his path, before Leiston substitute Josh Hitter’s spectacular overhead kick rattled the bar.
Davies, like Hitter a former Woodbridge youngster, then crossed from the left and Henry, unmarked beyond the far post, sent a sweet volley beyond debutant goalkeeper Ben Maidens to effectively settle the outcome just after the hour mark.
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side, who play two leagues below Leiston, did pull one back after 78 minutes, Rudge turning home after Ben Garnham’s drive had been blocked following Kelsey Trotter’s right-wing corner.
It was a first win in any competition for new Leiston boss Cornforth, who said: “It was a hard-fought game and I thought Woodbridge applied themselves really well, but we kept our shape and I am really delighted with the win.
“My philosophy is that we want to win every game of football and especially in the Suffolk Premier Cup. It will be really difficult for us to win it this season, but we will fight as much as for our survival in the Premier Division.
“Woodbridge are a good side, so forget about levels, and a win away from home in any game is brilliant for the boys and we have now got to take that into Saturday’s league game.”
Woodbridge Town skipper Sean Rea concedes a penalty after fouling Leiston striker Will Davies in only the second minute of the match at Notcutts Park. Leiston players are pictured (top) celebrating one of Rhys Henry's (second left) two goals in his side's 3-1 win. Photographs: Paul Voller
Woodbridge Town head coach Glenn Snell said: “Obviously we are very disappointed as we don’t go into any game expecting to lose or wanting to lose, so we would have loved to have gone through.
“But after the recent run we have been on to play as well as we did tonight against a Step 3 team there are a lot more positives than negatives.
“We have now got to take them and put them into the same level of team we play against, rather than a team like Leiston.
“I thought the way we kept the ball and tried to play the right way, or what we classify as the right way, was really pleasing.”
Stowmarket won Wednesday’s other remaining second-round tie 1-0 at Long Melford, striker Christy Finch scoring the only goal of the game in the 61st minute.
That means Leiston and Stowmarket will join Brantham Athletic, Bury Town, Hadleigh United, Lowestoft Town, Needham Market and Walsham-le-Willows in the last eight.
The draw will be filmed and announced via the Suffolk FA Twitter feed simultaneously with being broadcast on BBC Radio Suffolk from 5.30pm on Saturday.
Woodbridge Town: Ben Maidens, Ellis Murrell, Dale Hammond, Ben Garnham, Taylor Southgate, Sean Rea, Nathan Read (sub Josh Smedley, 72 mins), Kelsey Trotter, Mark Ray (sub Tom Haste, 33 mins), Jake Rudge, Ryan Keeble (sub Callum Sinclair, 46 mins). Unused subs: Liam Scopes, Alfie Stronge.
Leiston: Charlie Beckwith, Kyle Hammond, Tom Woerndl, Sju Odelusi, Harry Knights, George Keys, Rob Eagle (sub Josh Hitter, 46 mins), Josh Cheetham (sub Jerry Kamanzi, 50 mins), Will Davies (sub Jourdan Kiwomya, 75 mins), Rhys Henry, Mason Sinclair. Unused subs: James Gaffer, Jake Jessup.
Referee: Callum Walchester.
In the second round of the Suffolk Boys’ Under-18 Midweek Cup on Wednesday evening Needham Market were 4-0 winners at home to Brantham Athletic and Hadleigh United defeated Whitton United 1-0.
The remaining five second-round fixtures take place on Thursday evening, with the quarter-final draw being announced via the Suffolk FA Twitter feed at 12.30pm on Friday.
Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Second Round: Long Melford 0 Stowmarket Town 1, Woodbridge Town 1 Leiston 3.
Suffolk Boys’ Under-18 Midweek Cup Second Round: Hadleigh Utd 1 Whitton Utd 0, Needham Market 4 Brantham Athletic 0.
Suffolk Boys’ Under-18 Midweek Cup Second Round: Cornard Utd v Waveney, Haverhill Rovers v AFC Sudbury, Ipswich Town U16s v Lakenheath, Kirkley & Pakefield v Woodbridge Town, Stowmarket Town v Framlingham Town.