NEEDHAM Market will face Leiston in this season’s Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Final.
The Marketmen defeated Kirkley & Pakefield 3-1 in Tuesday’s semi-final at Leiston FC to set up a repeat of the 2007-08 final in which Needham won 5-4 on penalties following a goalless draw.
The two teams will meet in the showpiece occasion a week on Thursday, April 21st at Colchester United FC, scene of Needham’s 3-2 success against Lowestoft Town in the 2016-17 season.
After Needham dominated the first-half and established a two-goal lead through Seth Chambers and Ben Fowkes, Kirkley clawed their way back into the tie in the second period.
Kirkley, who have never reached the final, pulled a goal back on the hour through Kyle Haylock, who also scored when they lost 3-1 to Lowestoft at the same stage of the competition in the 2017-18 season.
Seth Chambers (red shirt, No.7) steers home his side's first goal in Tuesday's Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final against Kirkley & Pakefield (blue shirts) at Leiston FC. Main photograph: Needham striker Luke Ingram (red shirt, No.9) thought he had given his side the lead with this header from a right-wing corner, but the officials ruled the ball had not crossed the line. Photographs: Paul Voller
It was then anyone’s game until Fowkes broke clear to slot home his second in the 90th minute to seal Needham spot in the final.
The Pitching In Southern League Premier Central side thought they had taken the lead after just four minutes when Luke Ingram’s header from Harvey Sayer’s right-wing corner struck the inside of the far post but appeals that it had crossed the line were turned down.
They did go ahead after 16 minutes when right winger Chambers slid the ball beneath keeper Alex Blowers after being put clear for the 20-year-old’s first senior goal for the club.
Ingram then failed to hit the target with the goal gaping from Chambers’ pass after another quick break instigated by Noah Collard’s through ball.
The pace of Needham’s attacks was causing Kirkley all sorts of problems and Blowers left his line to block another effort from Chambers.
Kirkley’s Daniel Conroy and Miguel Lopez then both had shots saved by Marcus Garnham in the 29th minute before a fumble by Blowers as he attempted to cut out Ingram’s pass allowed Fowkes to steal in at the back post and slide the ball home off the inside of the opposite post.
Blowers redeemed himself by saving from Fowkes at close range as the striker seemed set to score a third goal in the 39th minute that Needham’s dominance deserved.
Kirkley came more into the match after the interval and reduced the deficit just before the hour when Haylock’s attempted through ball was cut out and came back to him to sweep a waist-high shot just inside Garnham’s right-hand post.
Kirkley & Pakefield's Kyle Haylock (blue shirt, No.7) fires home to put his side back into the game against Needham Market on the hour. Photograph: Paul Voller.
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side were growing in confidence and right-back Daniel Munro got forward to let fly with a 30-yard shot that Garnham had to tip over the crossbar.
From the resulting corner, delivered by Haylock from the right, player-manager Jack Herbert got his head to the ball and Garnham beat his effort away.
The Needham keeper then saved comfortably from Conroy whose header lacked both the power and direction to really trouble the keeper.
That proved to be Kirkley’s last chance of note, and the outcome was settled in the 90th minute when Collard’s pass sent Fowkes clear and he slotted home to send Needham into their seventh final.
Kirkley & Pakefield: Alex Blowers, Daniel Munro, Alex Meeken, Keenan Hutchings (sub Callum Bell, 90+4 mins), Jack Herbert, Harry Creamer, Kyle Haylock, Miguel Lopez, Daniel Conroy (sub Macauley Holt 90+4 mins), Cameron Russell (sub Connor Swan, 90+4 mins), George Barber. Unused subs: Louis Tillet, Jordan Smith.
Needham Market: Marcus Garnham, Taylor Clark, Callum Sturgess, Keiran Morphew, Dan Morphew, Seth Chambers (sub Archie Exworth, 77 mins), Noah Collard, Luke Ingram, Ben Fowkes, Tom Fitzgerald (sub Tom Maycock, 69 mins), Harvey Sayer. Unused sub: Louis McDonagh.
Referee: George Laflin.