Bury Town defeat Leiston to reach Suffolk Premier Cup final

Bury Town v Leiston Town in the Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final at AFC Sudbury
Leiston's Gareth Hea

Bury Town v Leiston Town in the Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final at AFC Sudbury Leiston's Gareth Heath on the ball - Credit: Archant

Holders Bury Town advanced to the final of the Suffolk Premier Cup with a 2-1 victory over Ryman League Premier rivals, Leiston, at AFC Sudbury last night.

Bury Town v Leiston Town in the Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final at AFC Sudbury
High flying Miles Sm

Bury Town v Leiston Town in the Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final at AFC Sudbury High flying Miles Smith - Credit: Archant

A goal by substitute Ryan Taylor, on the stroke of half-time, followed by a stunning Jordan Patrick strike nine minutes after the break, gave Bury a two-goal cushion, which they held until Craig Parker’s 88th-minute header halved the scoreline

Richard Wilkins’ side were the better team on a cool night at the MEL Stadium and deserved to hold on for their third successive victory over Leiston at the semi-final stage of this competition.

Danny Cunningham, who was replaced by Taylor in the opening stages, as a result of injury, struck the post for Bury on 18 minutes, while Danny Gay pulled off two superb saves to deny Taylor and Liam Wales, before the opening goal.

Leiston did have their chances, the best falling to Rhys Henry. His effort was miraculously kept out by Marcus Garnham at close range, just minutes before Patrick doubled Bury’s lead.

Had that gone in, it would have changed the whole complexion of the game and given Leiston a reprieve after they were twice guilty of a poor final ball in the first half when faced with two-on-one situations after breaking from their own area.

Just two points and two places separates Leiston (ninth) and Bury (11th) in the league, but that took a back seat last night with a place in the final at Portman Road, against Needham Market or Felixstowe & Walton, the reward for the winners.

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Having secured a victory apiece in their league games this season (Bury won 4-0 at Leiston and lost the reverse fixture 2-0), there was little to choose between the teams early on.

In a lively opening couple of minutes, Bury’s Adam Bailey-Dennis just failed to get on the end of a testing Billy Clark cross and, from the ensuing break-away, Leiston’s Joe Francis saw his intended cross to Henry blocked when in a two-on-one situation.

With local pride at stake, no quarter was given and Bury’s Miles Smith signalled his intent with a crunching tackle on Patrick Brothers that left the Leiston man requiring treatment. Bury’s Cunningham was then left limping after a full-blooded challenge from Adam Tann.

Bury almost went ahead in the 18th minute and were only denied by the width of the post.

Wales looked to have made a hash of a free-kick on the right, but the ball somehow found its way to Cunningham, 14 yards out, who stabbed an effort against Gay’s right-hand upright, the ball trickling towards goal – the keeper flat-footed.

That stirred what, up to this point, had been a poor affair and, a minute later, Blake Saker cut inside onto his left foot and forced Garnham into a save at his far post.

Cunningham limped off shortly after hitting the post and was replaced by Taylor on 22 minutes.

Bury began to exert some pressure on the Leiston defence, utilising Patrick on the left-hand side, and, after a set-piece was not cleared, Gay had to be alert to tip Wales’ curling right-foot shot over the bar for a corner.

Instead of building on their good play though, Bury then gave cheap possession away a couple of minutes later and Smith received the first booking of the game for a crude challenge on Francis, to the left of the penalty area.

A minute later, Leiston’s Gareth Heath embarked on a marauding run and finished with a shot that hit the outside of the right stanchion – a hopeful effort which reminded Garnham of Steve Ball’s men’s ability to produce quick counter-attacks.

Smith then took one for the team when a ball was driven towards goal following a melee in the Bury penalty area, the ball hitting him on the top of his right thigh.

Garnham then had to be agile to deny Heath’s effort at the near post as Leiston pushed for the opening goal.

However, they could not build on their pressure and Gay was on top form at the other end to palm away Taylor’s fierce shot for a corner.

From the resultant corner, Leiston once again had the chance to punish Bury on the break but Parker’s final ball was poor, allowing Callum Bennett to clear to safety,

That cost Leiston dear as, on the stroke of half-time, Bury went ahead through young Taylor.

Looking to play off the shoulder of his marker, he finally reaped his reward with stoppage time looming, latching on to Billy Clark’s through pass before coolly lifting the ball over the onrushing Gay.

Searching for an early equaliser in the second half, Francis’ close range shot was well held by Garnham, before Kennedy was booked.

Leiston then squandered a golden chance to level, a ball across the box finding Henry at the back post but his close range effort was miraculously kept out by Garnham, Parker’s rebound effort going over the bar.

Again they were to be punished as two minutes later, with 54 played, Bury doubled their lead.

Bailey-Dennis played a splendid lofted ball to Patrick on the left and, after cutting inside, the winger hit an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box that gave Gay no chance.

Leiston were trying their best to get back into the game but were being stopped by Bury, sometimes illegally, and one crude challenge brought a booking for Clark, who ended Stuart Boardley’s night, the midfielder being replaced by Mark Ray.

Leiston had three decent chances in the closing stages, Henry and Francis having long range efforts held by Garnham, before Parker headed through a crowd to create a frantic final few minutes.

Bury will play Needham Market or Felixstowe & Walton in the final at Portman Road.

Bury: M Garnham, M Smith, C Bennett, J Kennedy, A Bailey-Dennis, T Bullard, L Wales, R Bailey, D Cunningham (R Taylor 22), B Clark, J Patrick (T Allen 77). Subs not used: C Finch, A Roulston, A Bedingham

Leiston: D Gay, B Saker, A Tann, D Head, J Jefford, P Brothers, S Boardley (M Ray 66), G Heath, C Parker, R Henry, J Francis. Subs not used: B Deacon, P Westren, A Rossis.

Attendance: 263

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