MANAGER Glenn Driver admitted he had to read the riot act to his Leiston side during the half-time interval of their 2-1 victory over Ipswich Town in the Omni Freight Services Suffolk Premier Cup.
Ipswich’s Academy side deservedly led 1-0 thanks to a goal in first-half injury time from Idris Elmizouni, but Chris Hendderson equalised after 55 minutes before Joe Jefford settled the tie with a 92nd minute winner.
That secured Leiston a semi-final spot for the seventh consecutive season and broke the hearts of the visitors, who matched their Bostik Premier League hosts throughout.
Ipswich had conceded six goals in this competition at Victory Road in each of the last two seasons, but their slick football ensured there was not going to be a repeat in an entertaining tie in front of the 153 spectators who braved the cold.
The ever-honest Leiston boss, whose side had suffered a third league defeat on the bounce at home to Worthing on Saturday, said afterwards: “We went back to three at the back with 3-5-2 as it is a system which suits us, but we didn’t retain the ball well enough in the first half.
“We said in our team talk before the match that their players would not take more than two touches and they were outstanding in the first half – their football between the lines was excellent.
“They could have been 4-1 up at half time. The goal came when we gave the ball away and he has smashed it into the top corner.
“We read the riot act at half time and said it was not acceptable for a club who play at the level we do to allow them to dominate the game. I thought we were better in the second half and we scored goals at the right times.
“We equalised when we were on top and we were in their half a lot more than they were in our half, so to get an injury-time winner was pleasing.”
Driver believes Ipswich Town should look at allowing more of their talented starlets to go out on loan to local non-league sides.
“I have always said some of these kids would benefit from playing at our level. I think Ipswich need to look at their policy of keeping the kids at home and allow them to go out on loan instead.”
Leiston, who lost in the last four on penalties to eventual winners Needham Market last season, are the first side to secure a semi-final berth in this season’s competition – the three remaining quarter-final ties are scheduled to take place next Tuesday.
Driver added: “It is pleasing to be in the semi-finals and we are hoping we can go one step further than last season and reach the final.”
Leiston: Marcus Garnham, Kyle Hammond, Seb Dunbar, Jack Ainsley, Joe Jefford, Tom Bullard, Byron Lawrence (sub Dominic Docherty (73 mins), Chris Henderson, Matt Blake, Christy Finch (sub Kelsey Trotter, 82 mins), Patrick Brothers (sub Joe Marsden, 80 mins). Unused sub: Harry Knights.
Ipswich Town: Nick Hayes, Kian Ronan, Henry Barley, Brett McGavin, Ross Marshall, Luca Vega, Steven Cahill (sub Ellis Murrell (76 mins), Idris Elmizouni (sub Kai Brown, 87 mins), Jack Lankester, Lounes Foudil, Thomas Hughes. Unused subs: Mitchell Ware, Ashton Henry.
Referee: Callum Walchester.