Premier Cup SF Needham Leiston April 2023 1

Needham on course for three in a row

NEEDHAM Market remain on course for three Suffolk Premier Cup wins in a row.

NEEDHAM Market remain on course to make it three Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup wins in a row.

They defeated divisional rivals Leiston 1-0 in Tuesday’s semi-final at Stowmarket Town FC thanks to a 70th minute Luke Ingram penalty.

The penalty was awarded after a Callum Page shot struck the arm of Leiston’s Ollie Saunders after a free-kick had been flicked on.

Needham looked the more threatening of the two teams in a game of very few chances that was played on a difficult surface following the recent wet weather.

Premier Cup SF Needham Leiston April 2023 2

Needham Market's Luke Ingram scores the only goal of the game from a 70th minute penalty. Main photograph: Needham Market players mob Ingram after he converted from the spot. Photographs: Ben Pooley

After a frustrating campaign in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central, Needham manager Kevin Horlock said his side’s season rested on the result.

He said: “We had a great FA Cup run that people were really pleased about, but I would have preferred to have done well in the league, if I am totally honest, so with that in mind tonight was massive.

“They are our local rivals, and we know how well they have done in the league, and it’s the play-offs for them, so tonight was everything.

“It is anyway. The Premier Cup is massive for us. It is something that we hold very highly, being the reigning champions for the last two years as well, so I said to the lads before we are safe and the league campaign is coming to a close and this is our season here tonight at Stowmarket.

“The fact it was against Leiston, who we lost to quite recently as well, meant everything was on the line for us tonight and that was the only outcome I would have been satisfied with.”

Horlock, who said he felt Needham looked the more dangerous side and whose goalkeeper Marcus Garnham did not have a save to make, added: “Was it a penalty or was it not? In all honesty I don’t care.

“If anyone is going to have a penalty under that pressure it’s Ingers. He has done it before for us, so I had all faith that he was going to put it away.”

Premier Cup SF Needham Leiston April 2023 3

Needham Market's Taylor Clark comes away with the ball as Leiston's skipper Seb Dunbar (left) and Adam Mills (right) look on. Photograph: Ben Pooley

Joint Leiston manager Darren Eadie said: “It is always disappointing to lose in semi-finals. The frustrations are that you had two teams that like to play football and I am not quite so sure I have seen a pitch in such a state for a county cup semi-final.

“I think it was awful and that played a big part in the game. I don’t think there were any shots on target, the keepers haven’t had to make any saves.

“It was that scrappy and one moment was always going to decide a game like that and unfortunately the ball struck Ollie (Saunders) on the arm from a yard away and the referee deems it to be a penalty, so it was one of those things and it was always going to be decided by a moment like that.”

Leiston’s cause was not helped by losing Rossi Jarvis (shoulder) and Will Davies (ankle) to injury in either half.

In the final Needham will play either Bury Town or Stowmarket Town, who meet in the second semi-final at Needham Market FC on Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm.




The Teams

Needham Market: Marcus Garnham, Kyle Hammond, Jake Dye, Taylor Clark, Keiran Morphew, Dan Morphew, Jacob Lay, Dylan Williams, Luke Ingram, Callum Page, Tom Fitzgerald (sub Luke Brown, 77 mins). Unused subs: Hugh Cullum, Seth Chambers, Ollie Fraser, Fin Shorten.

Leiston: Sam Donkin, Joe Marsden, Jake Hutchings, Seb Dunbar, Rossie Jarvis (sub George Quantrell, 39 mins), Ollie Saunders, Adam Bailey-Dennis, Fin Barnes, Will Davies (sub Ben Fowkes, 62 mins), Adam Mills, Ryan Jarvis (Zach Dronfield, 90 mins). Unused subs: Iuri Fernandez, Billy Johnson.

Referee: Paul Quick.

Attendance: 227.

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