Craig Stuart is the Ipswich Wanderers hero against Brantham Athletic
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Craig Stuart’s 101st-minute goal saw Ipswich Wanderers edge past Brantham Athletic after extra-time, in the Suffolk Premier Cup on Tuesday night.
After the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division pair cancelled each other out in normal time, despite both creating several goal-scoring chances, Stuart struck with a decisive header to leave Wanderers victorious in a game that could have gone either way.
Following a fast start to the game, Wanderers fashioned the first chance in the fifth minute as an intelligent clip from Tom Bradlaugh found Darius Laws, but the midfielder slid wide under pressure.
Four minutes later, a mishap from Mark Goldfinch allowed Brantham’s Sean Gunn to latch onto Sean Lorimer’s slipped pass, but the striker lashed over from the angle.
The impressive Lorimer was then caught just offside as he beautifully looped a header over James Bradbrook following Dan Easlea’s precise free-kick.
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Laws did well to block Simon Mann’s cross-cum-shot after another dangerous Brantham break, before the same player straight at Paddi Hawkins after patient build up from Billy Holland and Matt Mackenzie as the teams went in to the half-time break level pegging.
Sustained pressure at the start of the second half from Wanderers saw Laws presented with another chance, but he could only poke at Hawkins after Holland’s accurate cross.
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Willing frontrunner Gunn then saw his effort chalked off for offside after Lorimer’s excellent burst from midfield, with Gunn’s touch letting him down after being presented a sniff of goal in the 57th minute.
Myhill lashed wastefully over in the 71st minute as Wanderers pressed for a winner in normal time, and Shaun Webb mis-controlled for Brantham in the 85th minute with the goal gaping.
A series of pinball saw Holland’s overhead attempt just clear the bar with seconds on the clock, before substitute Deryn Clarke forced a save from Hawkins 10 minutes into the first period of extra-time.
And it was from the ensuing corner that Stuart, a recent signing from Woodbridge Town, headed convincingly home as Wanderers dug in to progress into the last eight of the prestigious competition.
Elsewhere in the Premier Cup on Tuesday, Lowestoft Town, last season’s winners of the competition, defeated Hadleigh United 2-0, with goals from Shaun Bammant and Danny Crow.
A Sam Newson double helped Needham Market creep past last season’s beaten finalists Whitton United 3-2, while two goals injury-time goals from Stuart Ainsley and Miles Powell saw Felixstowe & Walton United topple AFC Sudbury 3-1 away from home.
The other tie saw Haverhill Rovers come from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at Mildenhall Town.
Brantham Athletic: Hawkins, S.Mann (Page 35), Nobbs, Travis (c), Sibbons, Lorimer, Webb, Bartlett, Easlea (Ward 79), Cole (Lawler 105), Gunn.
Subs unused: None.
Ipswich Wanderers: Bradbrook, Tredray, Corrick, Head (c), Goldfinch, Laws (Clarke71), Holland, Myhill, Stuart, Mackenzie, Bradlaugh.
Subs unused: Severy, Hitching.