FELIXSTOWE & Walton United left it late to reach the semi-finals of this season’s Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup.
Winger Charlie Warren scored a stunning 91st minute free-kick to seal a 2-1 victory over Hadleigh United in Wednesday’s quarter-final tie at the AGL Arena.
The home team had dominated the first half and taken the lead after 17 minutes when Josh Hitter turned home from close range.
However, Hadleigh equalised through a Carlos Edwards penalty in the 26th minute, the ex-Ipswich Town player smashing the ball past Callum Robinson who conceded the spot kick for a rash challenge on Mason Harvey.
Felixstowe & Walton United's Josh Hitter (red shirt) turns the ball home past Hadleigh United goalkeeper Nick Punter to put the Seasiders ahead in the 17th minute of Tuesday's quarter-final tie. Main photograph: Charlie Warren's stunning 91st minute free-kick enters the net off the inside of the post. Photographs: Paul Voller
Felixstowe found it more difficult to create chances in the second period and the prospect of penalties loomed large as Hadleigh, who play a level lower than their hosts, defended doggedly.
The outcome was settled by Warren’s sweetly-struck free-kick from the edge of the area that went in off the far post in time added on to break Hadleigh’s hearts.
Seasiders boss Stuart Boardley said: “I thought in the first half-an-hour we were excellent, created chances, got a goal and arguably could have been two or three up at that point and the game could have been dead.
“Credit to Hadleigh, they re-grouped at half time and really got together as a back four and defended stoutly and hit us on the counter dangerously at times and were very difficult to break down.”
Boardley praised Warren for his winning goal, but said the winger needed to not be so reluctant to step up in situations like that and have more confidence in his own ability.
He said: “What a strike from the young lad and he just needs to have that belief to take charge of those situations and do that on a more regular basis.”
Felixstowe & Walton United goalkeeper Callum Robinson, who conceded the penalty, is powerless to prevent Hadleigh United's Carlos Edwards (not in picture) equalising from the spot. Photograph: Paul Voller
Boardley, who along with assistant manager Andy Crump had watched Ipswich Town Under-18s triumph 2-1 at Ipswich Wanderers the night before, has now guided his side to the semi-finals of the competition as well as second place in the Isthmian North table.
He said: “I am delighted with how the season has gone. We started the season well, playing some good stuff. The target this year was to score more goals and be more dangerous in that half of the pitch and we have done that, possibly to the detriment of our goals against column at times, but it is certainly an entertaining watch – not so great for a manager now and again – but an entertaining watch nonetheless!
“I think the way we are going we can beat anyone and it is just a case of us turning up each game and performing and taking one game at a time.”
Felixstowe & Walton United join Ipswich Town Under-18s and Leiston in the final four, with the remaining quarter-final between Needham Market and Stowmarket Town scheduled for next Tuesday at Bloomfields, kick-off 7.45pm.
Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Final: Ipswich Wanderers 1 Ipswich Town U18s 2.
Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Second Round: Framlingham Town U23s 0 Brantham Athletic U23s 4.
Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Final: Felixstowe & Walton Utd 2 Hadleigh Utd 1.
Veo Suffolk Under-18 Midweek Cup First Round: Ipswich Wanderers v Cornard Utd, Stowmarket Town v Hadleigh Utd.