GALLERY: Touchline SIL champions Crane Sports lose to Lakenheath in Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final
- Credit: James Ager
Cambridgeshire County League side Lakenheath are still on course for a league and cup double after this fine victory against SIL champions Cranes.
The defeat left Cranes’ unused substitute and assistant boss Matty Cunningham still searching for a final appearance after eight semi-final defeats.
An early strike from Tony Wright was added to by goals at the start of the second half from James Morley and Luke Catchpole as Iain Radnor’s side were made to pay for not converting their chances before the half-time break.
As both sides were on long unbeaten runs, a tight game was expected, however Cranes were caught cold on two minutes as Adam Piggott’s cross eventually found its way to Wright whose effort slowly bounced into the corner of the net.
Cranes took a while to recover from the early setback, with Lakenheath continuing on the front foot. However, striker Tye Webb eventually sent an effort wide of the post for Cranes. Lakenheath’s leading scorer Matty Hayden then went clear, only to lob his effort into the grateful arms of keeper Kevin Holland.
Cranes began to push forward with Mo Fike being moved to a more central role, his pace beginning to cause problems.
Chris Pratt had an effort saved by Danny Corsten before the Lakenheath ‘keeper could only punch Ross Rands’ high ball into the path of Fike but the striker somehow headed wide of an unguarded net.
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Almost immediately, fellow front man Webb flicked a header narrowly over from Harry Froud’s corner. Fike had another chance but, having gone beyond the last man, could only shoot weakly at Corsten.
The half-time break came at an opportune time for Lakenheath as they regrouped and went more direct, going ahead on 53 minutes when Ricky Cornish drilled a free-kick from near the halfway line into the area and an unmarked Morley powered home a header from near the penalty spot.
Almost immediately Catchpole broke clear and drilled home an angled drive across Holland for his 24th goal of a productive season.
Cranes struggled to get back into the game on a very bobbly pitch which made passing extremely difficult.
Eventually substitute Leigh Cooper had a 20-yard volley tipped over by Cawston.
Lakenheath’s experienced defence, well-marshalled by Colin Vowden and Cornish, resisted fairly comfortably until Rands broke away in injury-time but his side’s day was summed up when he failed to convert with only the keeper to beat.
Shortly afterwards the celebrations began with Lakenheath reaching the senior cup final for the first time since 2011 when Whitton United denied them.
SIL side Ipswich Valley Rangers will be Lakenheath’s opponents in the final.
Crane Sports: Holland, Rands, Miller (Smith 71), Froud (Rumens 65), Roper (capt), Pratt, Woolard, Clarke (Cooper 56), Webb, George, Fike
Lakenheath: Corsten, Fincham, Cornish, Wright (Green 85), Vowden, Carter, Bellingham, Morley, Catchpole, Hayden (Amery 83), Piggott (Sanders 87)
Referee: Dean Ricci
PHOTOS: JAMES AGER