MARCUS Garnham said luck was on his side in Needham Market’s Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup win.
Garnham saved three Leiston penalties in the shoot-out as Needham won 5-4 following a 0-0 draw at the Jobserve Community Stadium, home of Colchester United FC.
Goalkeeper Garnham pulled off fine saves from Leiston’s Siju Odelusi, Brendan Ocran and Baris Altintop in the shoot-out.
Speaking after Thursday night’s final which saw Needham retain the cup they won in 2019-20 – last season’s competition was cancelled due to Covid – Garnham said: “Their keeper has made a couple of good saves, but luck was on my side and the rest is history.”
Needham Market goalkeeper Marcus Garnham saves low to his right to keep out Brendan Ocran's penalty during the shoot-out. Main photograph: Needham Market players celebrate after winning the cup. Photographs: Paul Voller
Garnham has now appeared in eight Suffolk Premier Cup Finals and ended on the winning side on seven occasions – three times with Bury Town, twice with Leiston and now twice with Needham Market.
He has also appeared in – and won – each of the last four finals, so it is not surprising to hear how much he enjoys the competition.
He said: “I love playing in the Suffolk Premier Cup – it is an opportunity to play against different teams and go to different grounds and then you get to play at a stadium like this in the final.
“I have driven past the ground many times, but I have never been here to see a game or played here before, so it was a really enjoyable experience.”
Needham Market manager Kevin Horlock praised his goalkeeper, who saved four spot kicks in his side’s 8-7 penalty shoot-out success at Yeovil in the FA Trophy in January.
Marcus Garnham (left) is congratulated by Suffolk FA President David Sheepshanks CBE as he receives his medal. Photograph: Paul Voller.
“It was a terrible game. There were no real chances created, just a few set pieces, and it looked like it would be 0-0, even if we had played until next week!
“When it went to penalties I had a wry smile as I knew we had Marco (Marcus Garnham) in goal and he produced some great saves, just as he did in the FA Trophy at Yeovil earlier in the season.
“Even when we had our backs-against-the-wall and they had a penalty to win it, I thought we could still do it and Marco saved it.
“The probability of them scoring is probably higher than not because he has to make a decision which way to go and then save it, but it was a helluva save down to his right. That gave us a lift and put them under pressure.
“Even before I came in as manager and ever since I have been here winning this trophy has been a priority for the club, so it is fantastic to win it again.”
Leiston joint manager Darren Eadie said: “We needed to improve on our semi-final performance and we did that, but it was not enough on the night, so congratulations to Needham Market on their win.
“I am never going to criticise the boys who put themselves forward to take penalties. We all know it is a lottery when it comes down to that.
“It is important to hit the target and force the keeper to make a save and Marcus Garnham has made some good saves.
“If you had said at the start of the season that we would finish seventh or eight in the league and reach a cup final we would have taken that, so we are pleased with that.
“It is always disappointing to lose in a cup final and we have fallen short of making the play-offs this season, but we are making progress as a club.”
Garnham the hero as Needham retain cup