STOWMARKET Town eased through to their third successive semi-final in the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup.
They defeated hosts Lakenheath 3-0 at The Nest on Tuesday night to reach the last four of the competition along with Needham Market, who were 2-0 winners at Woodbridge Town.
It was a big night for Lakenheath, who were playing their first Suffolk Premier Cup tie at home and also for the first time in a competitive match against Step 4 opposition.
Lakenheath were without star striker Shaun Avis due to work commitments, but it was in defence that they were found wanting.
Some poor defending for all three goals saw Stowmarket coast into a three-goal lead before the interval to effectively kill off the tie.
George Bugg put the visitors ahead from close range following a defensive mix-up in the 13th minute and Luke Brown hooked home the second after 38 minutes.
Brown then headed home the third in the 43rd minute from almost on the goalline following Willie Clemons left-wing corner to score his third goal in two games in this season’s competition.
However, victory came at a cost to Stowmarket, who lost Ollie Brown after just ten minutes, Josh Mayhew at half-time and then centre backs Tom Bullard and Joe Jefford in the second period to injuries.
Stowmarket manager Paul Musgrove said: “I thought the boys played the right way on a difficult pitch. We got our noses in front early on which is what we wanted to do. They fought quite hard and stepped on quite well and made the game quite hard.
“We got three in front by half-time and it was just a case of managing the game. We could have had more goals but at least we created the chances.”
Needham Market captain Dan Morphew (yellow shirt, No.6) sees his close-range shot beat Woodbridge Town goalkeeper Fin Shorten but strike the near post. Main photograph: Taylor Clark's low cross is deflected past Shorten for Needham's second goal. Photographs: Paul Voller
Lakenheath manager Ben Cowling said: “I thought we acquitted ourselves on the pitch very, very well to be honest. We kept the ball and we were in the game for large periods, but we rather shot ourselves in the foot with the goals we have conceded tonight.
“Paul (Musgrove) and (assistant) Richard (Wilkins) have got them well drilled. They are an excellent group and I would imagine they are going to take some stopping in this competition.”
Needham, like Stowmarket away from home to lower-league opponents from the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, also progressed with the minimum of fuss.
They fielded six players in their side that started their Buildbase FA Trophy Quarter-Final tie at home to Stockport County on Saturday for the tie at Notcutts Park.
Needham took the lead after 17 minutes thanks to a fine strike from the left by on-loan Colchester United winger Harvey Sayer.
Victory was assured when Taylor Clark’s low cross deflected off a Woodbridge defender and past goalkeeper Fin Shorten at his near post in the 70th minute.
The draw for the semi-finals will take place next week after the two remaining quarter-finals ties – Felixstowe & Walton v Kirkley & Pakefield and Mildenhall Town v Leiston – have been played.
Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Finals: Lakenheath 0 Stowmarket Town 3, Woodbridge Town 0 Needham Market 2.
Next Week’s Fixtures
Tuesday, March 22nd
Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Finals: Felixstowe & Walton v Kirkley & Pakefield and Mildenhall Town v Leiston.