LEISTON won a penalty shoot-out to become the first club to make it into this season’s Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Finals.
They defeated Lowestoft Town 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Tuesday night’s quarter-final tie at the Fosters Solicitors Community Stadium.
Leiston had taken the lead after 36 minutes following a defensive mix-up between defender Dylan Ruffles and goalkeeper Warren Burwood, allowing Joseph Chiyausiko to roll the ball home off the inside of the post.
After an even opening period, it was Lowestoft who got on top in the second-half without really troubling Leiston goalkeeper Sam Donkin, but they equalised after 79 minutes.
Substitute Ben Batho fouled Sam Johnson as he burst into the penalty area and Harvey Sayer tucked away the resulting spot kick.
Leiston almost won it in injury time, Burwood tipping over Chris Casement’s free-kick after Travis Cole received a red card for fouling Wyatt Hill right on the edge of the penalty area.
The outcome was settled in a shoot-out and the only player to miss was Lowestoft’s Rob Eagle, ironically a former Leiston player, who tried a Panenka (chip down the middle of the goal) but Donkin didn’t move and was able to save easily.
Lowestoft’s Jake Reed, Louis McIntosh, Kyle Haylock and Sayer all scored their spot kicks, while Hill, Ross Crane, Seb Dunbar, Joe Marsden and Casement were all successful for Leiston.
Leiston had also won their last match 9-8 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at home to Hornchurch in the Isuzu FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round ten days previously.
Lowestoft Town's Sam Johnson (blue shirt) is challenged by Leiston's Cameron Rayworth (red shirt) during Tuesday night's Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Final tie. Main photograph: Lowestoft keeper Warren Burwood saves an early shot from Leiston's Ross Crane (red shirt) at the Fosters Solicitors Community Stadium. Photographs: Shirley Whitlow.
Darren Eadie, joint manager of Leiston, said: “It has been a difficult season for us and we are looking at a re-build in terms of the league after last season.
“We have had a few injuries compared to last season when we had hardly any, so it is important to have a decent cup run, and we have done that so far in both the FA Trophy and the Suffolk Premier Cup.”
Skipper Seb Dunbar, who scored Leiston’s third penalty, added: “I think we are good at pens – I don’t remember the last time we actually lost a penalty shoot-out, so we were confident we were going to see it through.”
Lowestoft manager Jamie Godbold said: “It’s disappointing as I felt we had the better chances and were the better team on the night, but credit to Leiston and we wish them good luck in the semi-finals.”