Needham Market 4 Blues 4 AET (Needham Market win 4-2 on pens)
Penalty shoot out heartbreak for Blues
The Blues were knocked out of the Suffolk FA Premier Cup at the semi-final stage against Needham Market on Wednesday night writes Ollie Fairs. 120 minutes of football could not separate Leiston and Needham Market as the Marketmen came away 4-2 winners on penalties after eight goals were evenly distributed between the two sides in open play.
Leiston dominated throughout the entirety of the first half, as they enjoyed the vast majority of the possession, with Needham being limited to the occasional opportunity to counter. Needham struggled to make it out of their own half and because of this Leiston had a lot of good chances. An attempted ball over the top of the Needham defence was headed back to an onrushing Niko Muir but his first-time volley was saved. Needham keeper Danny Gay was tested once again when Jack Ainsley threaded a ball through to Patrick Brothers whose shot looked to be heading into the bottom left hand corner, but Gay was quick to get down and palm it round the post. Leiston got the breakthrough they needed when a ball was fired in to the feet of Matt Blake. The Leiston striker's first touch was good and allowed him to turn towards goal and drill his shot hard and low into the bottom left hand corner of the net, just seconds before the end of the first half.
It was clear straight away that the second half would be a completely different story to the first as Needham straight away pushed forward to try and get themselves level early on. This strategy worked as just minutes into the second half Needham were awarded a penalty after Reece Dobson was brought down in the box. However, the subsequent penalty was saved by Jacob Marsden and everyone in blue let out a sigh of relief. That was not the end of the story however, as seconds after missing a penalty Needham were given another. This time Kem Izzet stepped up to take it and coolly slotted it away to pull his side level. Leiston fought back however, and after 77 minutes found themselves back into the lead. A corner was swung in towards the near post and it was defender Joe Jefford who did well to get in front of his marker before glancing his header past the keeper. Leiston only had the lead for a matter of minutes before Needham had gone down the other end to level the scores. This time it was Luke Ingram who hammered home a cross field pass on 80 minutes following a lung busting run up the pitch. The scoring was not done there though and with just 3 minutes of normal time to be played Needham took the lead for the first time in the match. Substitute John Sands was left unmarked in the penalty area before heading home a cross from the right wing. Deep into injury time it looked as if Needham had done enough to win the game, but as Leiston pressed forward the ball found its way through to Matt Blake in the box who fired it home to take it to extra time.
Leiston took the lead once again in the first half of extra time as a cross from a corner was allowed to bounce in the box before Jake Hutchings volley it through a crowd of bodies and into the net. However, it looked as if the game was destined to go to penalties when a late, late free kick was hammered home by Sands to put the two teams level once again.
After all was said and done it was Needham who would progress through to the final as they came out 4-2 victors on penalties. Sands took Needham’s first penalty which was saved by Jacob Marsden, Conor Hubble and Adeyinka Cole scored for the Blues but misses from Matt Blake and Ollie Brown gave Reece Dobson the opportunity to score the winner penalty, which he took with both hands.
FT - Needham Market 4 Blues 4 - After Extra Time (Needham Market win 4-2 on pens)
Needham Market - Gay, Dye, Coakley, Morphew, Miller, Whight, Ingram, Izzet (Sands), Dobson, Norman, Simmons (Holland). Subs not used - Crisell and Bradbrook.
Blues - Marsden, Brown, Brothers (Hubble), Hutchings, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence (Cole), Heath, Blake, Muir, Ainsley. Subs not used - Pelling and Beckwith.
Man of the Match - Matt Blake
Attendance - 287