MANAGER Rick Andrews said Stowmarket Town’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Brantham Athletic in the quarter-finals of the Suffolk Premier Cup has kept their season alive.
Brantham led Tuesday night’s tie at Greens Meadow for 83 minutes thanks to George Clarke’s fourth minute goal – his swerving 25-yard shot going straight through the arms of goalkeeper Callum Robinson.
But Stowmarket scored twice in the space of three minutes – substitute Ollie Canfer curled home an 87th minute equaliser and 16-year-old George Quantrell (pictured celebrating above. Photograph: Ben Pooley) then fired home the winner – to reach the last four at the expense of their fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side.
Andrews admitted: “We left it later than we would have wanted. It reminded me of last season’s team where, for the first time this season, we kept playing and didn’t panic.
“We were tiring the opposition out by going side-to-side across the pitch and they were getting deeper and deeper and, credit to my team, we scored two late goals to thoroughly deserve the win, in my humble opinion.
“Our final ball into the box and decision-making was not good at times, but we dominated in the first-half and we could have come in ahead at half time. Nine times out of ten Callum would save that shot, but if you don’t shoot you don’t score.
“Brantham will be disappointed to lose late on, but we kept on playing and passing the ball and both goals were great finishes.
“Ollie Canfer took his goal really well and George Quantrell, in only his third game for the club, has shown he has an old head on young shoulders with a great finish and than ran away and didn’t know how to celebrate!
“I apologised to their bench because I found myself half-way down the touchline which was not the thing to do.
“This win keeps our season alive and we have now got four weeks until the semi-final for those players coming back from injury to get fitter and hopefully we won’t pick up any more injuries.”
A crowd of 202 witnessed the dramatic late turnaround and Andrews added: “We will look forward to whoever we play in the semi-finals.
“We had tremendous support again tonight, bearing in mind the Champions League was on, and it was nice to see the appreciation the players received as they walked off the pitch at the end.”
Kris Rose (out of picture) heads home Hadleigh United's equaliser against Felixstowe & Walton United. Photograph: Stan Baston
An 85th minute penalty by Stuart Ainsley saw Bostik League North Felixstowe & Walton United reach the last four courtesy of an equally dramatic 3-2 victory over lower-league Hadleigh United.
The Seasiders led 2-0 thanks to two Miles Powell goals after eight and 47 minutes, but Kyron Andrews pulled one back just before the hour mark against his former club.
Kris Rose then equalised for the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side in the 76th minute, before Ainsley’s winner in front of a crowd of 229 at the Goldstar Ground.
Hadleigh’s Danny Smy, another former Seasider, received a straight red card in the 89th minute.
Felixstowe & Walton United and Stowmarket Town join Ipswich 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.
Holders Leiston entertain Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central rivals Lowestoft Town in the remaining quarter-final on Wednesday night.
Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Finals: Felixstowe & Walton Utd 3 Hadleigh Utd 2, Stowmarket Town 2 Brantham Athletic 1.
Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Final: Leiston v Lowestoft Town (7.45pm).