GALLERY: Ipswich Valley Rangers reach Suffolk Senior Cup final, after defeating Debenham LC
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Valley Rangers upset higher-ranked Debenham LC to progress into the Suffolk Senior Cup final, on Saturday.
The Touchline Suffolk & Ipswich League Senior Division side toppled the Hornets, of the Thurlow Nunn First Division, and will now meet Lakenheath in the final.
First-half goals from Munro Laflin, starting his first game for seven months, and Jon Ince were enough for the Ipswich-based team to advance, despite disappointing Debenham pulling a goal back early in the second half through Reece Clarke’s penalty.
Progressing into the semi-finals of this competition was already the furthest stage IVR had ever reached, but they were deserved winners on the day and showed few nerves throughout, despite riding their luck on one or two occasions.
While the first half was busy, exciting, and fluent, the second was scrappy, scruffy, and uneventful. But IVR won’t care.
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They started quickly, with the powerful James Blades, a handful for the Debenham defence throughout, almost fortuitously scoring after two minutes as he closed down ‘keeper Steve Fenner’s clearance.
Thirteen minutes later, Blades was involved again as his cutting through ball sent Sam Taylor scampering away, but the skilful striker saw his effort well blocked by Tom Fenner.
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Taylor had another sight of goal in the 16th minute after a lovely interchange between Laflin and Clark Bruce, but could only shoot straight at Fenner.
The game jumped into life mid-way through the half when Ben Green’s effort was cleared off the line by IVR skipper Sam Cole as the ball crept under Lewis Higgins.
IVR opened the scoring in the 29th minute as the unmarked Laflin headed home Bruce’s deep free-kick, which was won on the left-hand touchline by Blades.
It was the youngster’s first goal of the season in what has been a frustrating season for him so it was no surprise that he was mobbed by his team-mates in the celebrations.
Those celebrations were almost cut immediately as less than 60 seconds later, Debenham captain Rob Kemp hit the bar with a header, following a melee after a corner.
However, the SIL side’s lead was doubled in the 36th minute when left-back Ince’s innocent cross, aimed for Taylor, eluded Debenham goalkeeper Fenner and rolled into the net.
In a breathless final few minutes of the half, Debenham should have grabbed a goal back on the stroke of half-time when Kemp, albeit under pressure from Alex Harvey, missed an open goal after Higgins could only parry Luke Austin’s effort into his path.
The Hornets did get a goal back moments into the restart as Ince went from hero to zero as he felled Austin, with Clarke coolly doing the honours from the spot.
Many would have expected Debenham to push on from there but they flattered to deceive, and it was in fact the SIL side who created the more and the better of the chances.
Harvey, Bruce, and Kris Howlett were all a whisker away from sealing the victory for IVR.
Those misses could have proved costly had Debenham equalised, Shaun Thorrold going extremely close in the dying moments, his long-range effort flying narrowly wide.
Debenham: S Fenner, Hardwick, L Kemp, T Fenner, Goddard (Golding 71), R Kemp (c), Green (Thorrold 59), Barker, Clarke, Quinton (Diaper 85), Austin.
IVR: Higgins, Harvey, Ince, Cole (c), Wales, Howlett, Laflin (Buck 68), Duzgan, Blades, Bruce, Taylor (Bradbrook 82) .
Referee: Antony Wickendem