WOODBRIDGE Town were spot on to secure a Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Final meeting with Needham Market.
The Woodpeckers defeated fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Haverhill Rovers 4-2 on penalties following a 3-3 draw at The New Croft on Wednesday evening.
Their last-eight tie will take place at Notcutts Park next Tuesday – just three days after Needham Market face Stockport County in the Buildbase FA Trophy Quarter-Final in the biggest game in their history.
Woodbridge took the lead after just four minutes, Luke Taylor stooping to head home Luke Mallett’s left-wing free-kick, but the hosts drew level in the 26th minute when Josh Lee scored from the spot after Mallett had fouled Jake Banyard.
That was the first of three goals in four minutes as the visitors went back in front via left-back Mallett’s cross-cum-shot that crept in at the far post, before Lee forced home following a goalmouth scramble after Ryan Weaver’s free-kick struck the post.
Rovers got their noses in front after 63 minutes, Freddie King threading a precise pass through for Banyard to slot home and it stayed that way until the 83rd minute when substitute Ethan Broom scored with a well-directed near-post header from Mallett’s free-kick wide on the right.
Woodbridge then won the subsequent penalty shoot-out 4-2, with Mark Ray, Broom, Mallett and Kelsey Trotter all scoring and Andrew Crowe missing, while Jack Martin and Louis Blair netted for Haverhill after Jake Williams and Charlie Buffin had missed.
Woodbridge Town interim manager Glenn Snell (pictured above) said: “We want to have a good run in the competition and knowing that we would play Needham it is a big thing for me as I played for the club for a long time, so I was desperate to get through.
“They (Haverhill) caused us a lot of problems, particularly early on, we just couldn’t get any of our fluid football going at all and that’s credit to them, so as the game went on the more I thought we were going to lose or it was going to go to penalties.
“In the end our character came through and it was great of the lads to dig in and finally get the equaliser late on.”
Snell was delighted to see teenager Broom net the equaliser with his first senior goal.
“He will be pleased with that one. Ethan is 17-year-old, and is a really good lad and he’s been playing well for the under-18s. He’s actually my step-son, but I think everyone saw tonight that’s not why he’s in the side!
“He’s worked hard to get where he is and to get on the scoresheet is great for him to get his first senior goal. He was really buzzing to the point where he volunteered to take a penalty which is the last thing I thought he would do!” said Snell.
Haverhill Rovers manager Liam Aves said: “It’s a cruel way to lose a game of football, isn’t it? In the grand scheme of things the positive is that we didn’t have to go into extra time and put added stress on the fitness of the boys, although it is always disappointing to lose a game of football.”
After taking the lead for the first time Aves said he thought his side would go on to win the tie: “I did to be fair. We were quite comfortable and I thought we would sit in in and see the game out.
“By that point we had made all three substitutes with an eye on Saturday making sure we had fresh legs and I think maybe the organisation for the third goal was a little bit out.”
As both Felixstowe & Walton United and Leiston have rescheduled league games next Tuesday, their quarter-finals ties have been pushed back a week until March 22nd.
Photograph: Paul Leech.
Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Second Round: Haverhill Rovers 3 Woodbridge Town 3 – Woodbridge Town won 4-2 on pens.
Revised Quarter-Final Schedule
Tuesday, March 15th: Lakenheath v Stowmarket Town, Woodbridge Town v Needham Market.
Tuesday, March 22nd: Felixstowe & Walton Utd v Kirkley & Pakefield, Mildenhall Town v Leiston.