NEEDHAM Market manager Kevin Horlock is expecting Tuesday’s Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-final versus Leiston to be ‘more fiery’ than their recent league meeting.
A 90th minute strike from former Needham Market player Adam Mills saw Leiston claim all three points in a 1-0 win when the two sides met at Bloomfields on Easter Monday.
They now face each other again in the first semi-final of this season’s competition at Greens Meadow, home of Stowmarket Town FC, on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7.45pm.
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Their last-four meeting is a repeat of last season’s final which saw Needham retain the cup thanks to a 5-4 win in a penalty shoot-out following a 0-0 draw at Colchester United FC.
Asked if he felt the Bank Holiday result would have any bearing on the semi-final, Horlock said: “I don’t think so, both were and are massive games. We still needed league points and the Suffolk Premier Cup is something that we hold in high regard.
“We have been successful in it and there are bragging rights with being the best team in Suffolk in terms of the competition. We have won it two years on the spin and want to make it three.
“Every round is massive for us but added to the fact that it is Leiston in the semi-final it is a big game.”
Three wins and four draws in their last nine matches have seen Needham secure their Pitching In Southern League Premier Central status for next season after a disappointing league campaign.
With any lingering fears of relegation now banished, evenn through they have league games to come on Thursday and Saturday, Needham can focus on retaining the cup that they have won four times previously.
Horlock is hoping that Tuesday’s tie will be a much better match than the two teams’ recent league meeting.
He said “I would like to think it will be a better-quality game. Without being disrespectful I think both teams were awful on the day. I don’t think there was any real bite to the game, and it didn’t play out like a local derby.
“It didn’t look like a game that had so much riding on it and it was strange, but I expect the Premier Cup tie to be more fiery as there is silverware at stake.
“I would like to think the semi-final will be way better than the league game and hopefully the result will be different.”
The winners will play either Bury Town or Stowmarket Town, who meet in the second semi-final on Wednesday evening at Needham Market FC (kick-off 7.45pm).
Callum Page (far left) and Luke Ingram (second right) are pictured during Saturday’s game against Basford United at Bloomfields. Ingram scored twice and Page once in Needham’s 3-2 victory.
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Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final: Needham Market v Leiston at Stowmarket Town (7.45pm).
Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final: Stowmarket Town v Bury Town at Needham Market FC (7.45pm).