LAKENHEATH’S first ever appearance in the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup was a winning one.
Ben Cowling’s side, who had a bye in the first round, won 3-1 at fellow Thurlow Nunn League Hadleigh United in their second-round tie on Tuesday.
Striker Shaun Avis headed the visitors in front from a corner after 11 minutes just after missing a gilt-edged opportunity and they deservedly led at the interval against a much-changed Hadleigh side.
Within seconds of the restart Tom Thulborn took advantage of a mistake in the Hadleigh defence to double Lakenheath’s lead.
Avis then thumped home the third from outside the penalty area after 54 minutes, before Harry Brown reduced the deficit when he headed home from a corner three minutes later.
Lakenheath had chances to increase their lead but ran out comfortable winners to reach the quarter-finals of this season’s competition.
Cowling said: “The club has an affiliation with the county cups, so it was nice to create a little bit of history tonight. We like the county competitions and it is nice to get back to winning ways as well.
“I felt we controlled large periods of the first half and probably should have added to our goal, but Hadleigh came back into it the last ten minutes before half time and caused us a few problems.
“I am not entirely sure that they shouldn’t have had an equaliser ruled out as I am not convinced that was a foul on our goalkeeper, but we got a bit of luck there.
“In the second half we have gone out and controlled that pretty comfortably and it could have been one or two more.”
Shaun Avis (green shirt, No.9) heads home Lakenheath's opening goal in their 3-1 victory over Hadleigh United at the Millfield in the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Second Round on Tuesday night. Main photograph: Avis (right) is congratulated after scoring his second and Lakenheath's third goal. Photographs: Paul Voller
Hadleigh United manager Steve Holder said: “We are so far behind games in the league it was a good opportunity to give the young lads and a few of Reserve team boys a go.
“I think we had seven changes from Saturday and you could probably tell there, but I still think we did alright.
“We gave away two sloppy goals and Avo (Shaun Avis) scored a cracking goal in the second half and, to be honest, we have had a few good chances ourselves.
“But fair play to Lakenheath – they were pretty strong tonight and good luck to them in the next round.”
The two remaining Step 3 sides in this season’s competition both progressed to the quarter-finals courtesy of home wins over Step 5 opposition.
Leiston beat Brantham Athletic 3-0 thanks to a first-half goal from Adam Mills and strikes from Finlay Barnes and Jake Hutchings after the break.
They will be joined by holders Needham Market, who defeated visitors lower-league Walsham-le-Willows 1-0.
A 12th minute goal by defender Jake Dye was all that separated the sides at Bloomfields.
Lakenheath striker Tom Thulborn (green shirt, No.10) pokes the ball past Hadleigh United goalkeeper Nick Punter (grounded) to score his side's second goal at the Millfield on Tuesday night. Photograph: Paul Voller
That means six of the eight quarter-finalists – Kirkley & Pakefield, Lakenheath, Leiston, Mildenhall, Needham Market and Stowmarket – are now confirmed.
The tie between Haverhill Rovers and Woodbridge Town was postponed on Tuesday for a second time due to a waterlogged pitch, while Bury Town face Felixstowe & Walton United next Tuesday.
Tuesday night’s scheduled Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Quarter-Final between Walsham-le-Willows and Ipswich Vale Exiles was also postponed.
The quarter-final draws for both competitions will be broadcast on BBC Radio Suffolk from 8.30pm onwards on Thursday evening.
Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Second Round: Hadleigh Utd 1 Lakenheath 3, Haverhill Rovers v Woodbridge Town – postponed, Leiston 3 Brantham Athletic 0, Needham Market 1c Walsham-le-Willows 0.
Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Quarter-Finals: Walsham-le-Willows Res v Ipswich Vale Exiles Res – postponed.
Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Quarter-Finals: Long Melford Res v Framlingham Town Res (7.45pm).