MATT Blake scored the only goal of the game as Ipswich Wanderers won the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Final for the third time.
Blake netted in the 22nd minute against Leiston Reserves at Colchester United’s Jobserve Community Stadium on Friday night.
There was a sense of inevitability that Blake, who plundered 42 goals for Leiston in the 2016-17 season and scored a hat-trick for the Blues as they won the Suffolk Premier Cup in the 2018-19 campaign, should score the winner.
Leiston Reserves pushed Wanderers all the way and may have caused an upset if they had not spurned two gilt-edged chances in a five-minute spell just after falling behind.
Ollie Godbold (blue shirt, No.7) lifts his shot over the Ipswich Wanderers' crossbar - one of two gilt-edged chances Leiston Reserves missed soon after going behind. Main photograph: Ipswich Wanderers' striker Matt Blake (white shirt, centre) turns home the only goal of the game. Photographs: Paul Voller
But with no further goals it meant that Wanderers, who won the Thurlow Nunn League Division One South title this season, completed a coveted league and cup double.
The Thurlow Nunn League Division One North underdogs served notice that they would cause problems after just six minutes when Kai Fletcher got away from Adam Dunnage and dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Leiston Reserves’ goalkeeper Harrison Podd had to beat away a curling free-kick from the right by Danny Cunningham at his near post just two minutes later.
Wanderers almost went ahead in the 17th minute when Blake turned his shot against the near post and the ball struck Podd before going out for a corner.
However, they did take the lead five minutes later as Jacob Lay worked his way to the byline down the right and crossed to the near post where Blake squeezed the ball home.
Leiston Reserves should have equalised in the 25th minute when Nyan Mesuria’s left-wing corner was headed back across goal by James Gaffer and the unmarked Ollie Godbold lifted his shot over the crossbar.
They passed up an arguably even better chance just two minutes later when hesitation in the Wanderers’ defence was seized upon by Niki Shopov whose shot was tipped over the bar by keeper Craig Brand.
Wanderers went close to a second goal five minutes before the interval when Cunningham’s free-kick was headed back across goal and Podd did well to block Teon Leggett’s close-range effort.
Ipswich Wanderers celebrate after being presented with the CNet Training Suffolk Cup. Photograph: Paul Voller.
Chances were at a premium in the second period, but Leiston went close after 71 minutes when a good build-up down the right between Gaffer and Fletcher ended with Mesuria volleying Gaffer’s cross wide.
Podd had to back-pedal to tip a deep cross over from underneath his own crossbar seven minutes later and he then saved Anton Clarke’s free-kick but was injured as Blake tried to force home the rebound.
Leiston’s last chance came in the 88th minute as Gaffer rose to head Shopov’s free-kick across the face of goal but no-one was there to take advantage as Wanderers won the cup for the second time in three seasons.
The cup and medals were presented by Suffolk FA Chair Phil Lawler and Andrew Stevens, Chief Executive of competition sponsors CNet Training.
Ipswich Wanderers: Craig Brand, Josh Folkes, Lewis Kincaid, Anton Clarke, Adam Dunnage, Kris Rose, George Mrozek, Danny Cunningham (sub Evan Bolt, 68 mins), Matt Blake, Jacob Lay, Teon Leggett. Unused subs: Ben Stannard, Connor Field, Mark Roper, Liam Jennings.
Leiston Reserves: Harrison Podd, Kyle French (sub Ashdon Fowler, 86 mins), Callum Pearce, Liam Cork (sub Ash Wilding, 80 mins), Sam Allen, George Tuck, Ollie Godbold, James Gaffer, Kai Fletcher, Nyan Mesuria, Niki Shopov. Unused subs: Tom Bak, Cameron Rayworth, Jacobbi Tugman.
Referee: Jordan Sandwell.