NEEDHAM Market manager Richard Wilkins will return to the club where he started his career in the second round of this season’s Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup.
Goals from captain Gareth Heath, Joe Neal and Callum Sturgess saw the Marketmen defeat a young Ipswich Town XI 3-0 at Bloomfields on Tuesday night in this season’s only first-round tie.
The result means that Needham will travel to Haverhill Rovers, where Wilkins played before turning professional, in the second round on Tuesday, October 8th.
After an even opening Heath sidefooted home in the 27th minute after Jake Alley had saved from Craig Parker and Luke Ingram squared the ball into his path.
The youthful visitors competed well throughout, but once Neal scored Needham’s second goal in the 53rd minute the result never really looked in doubt.
Neal poked home after Heath had flicked on from James Baker’s free-kick, and Sturgess scored the third in time added on after a mix-up in the Ipswich defence.
Ipswich Town goalkeeper Jake Alley dives at the feet of Needham Market's Luke Ingram during the first half of the match. Photographs: Ben Pooley
Needham manager Wilkins said: “I was very pleased with the second half. I thought the first 20 minutes was very even and Marcus (Garnham) had to make a couple of good saves.
“We got to grips with it and once we scored and went in 1-0 up at half time I thought the second goal was going to be crucial.
“I always knew the first 15-20 minutes was going to be a tough hurdle to get over and Ipswich’s young lads did really well as they worked their socks off and had a good shape about them.
“In the second half I thought our extra power and strength really came through.
“We said at half time the second goal was massively important and once we scored that we had a few chances and their keeper has made a couple of good saves.”
Former Colchester United captain Wilkins is now looking forward to facing his former club in the second round.
He said: “They are my old team from many, many, many years ago. I have still got some friends in that area. It will be a tough one again that we will be expected to win.
“Although we played at home to Ipswich I believe it was Ipswich who came out of the hat first, and we have now had 16 cup draws away in a row away from home which is unbelievable.
“But this is a cup you want to do well in because it is only four or maybe five games to get through to the final.”
Needham Market: Marcus Garnham, Jake Dye, Callum Sturgess, Sam Squire, James Baker, Dan Morphew, Luke Ingram, Gareth Heath, Joe Neal, Craig Parker (sub Russell Short, 52 mins), Joe Marsden (sub Jordao Doio, 73 mins). Unused subs: Keiran Morphew, Finlay Shorten.
Ipswich Town XI: Jake Alley, Dylan Ruffles, Connor O’Reilly, Ryley Scott, Brooklyn Kabongolo, Alex Henderson, Kai Brown, Alfie Cutbush, Lewis Reed (sub Liam Gibbs, 57 mins), Tommy Hughes (sub Michael Bareck, 57 mins), Lounes Foudil. Unused subs: Antoni Bort, Elkan Baggott, Teddy Baker.
Referee: Abi Byrne.