Classy Clark bags cup brace

TWO sublime strikes by Billy Clark underlined the gulf in class between a youthful Ipswich Town Reserve side and Haverhill Rovers at Portman Road last night.

Nick Garnham

TWO sublime strikes by Billy Clark underlined the gulf in class between a youthful Ipswich Town Reserve side and Haverhill Rovers at Portman Road last night.

Clark scored two superb goals to secure a LB Group Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final berth for Ipswich, who played an hour of the match with 10 men after striker Reggie Lambe was sent off.

Their Rigeons League Premier Division opponents, who entered the match on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run, gave a good account of themselves without ever seriously threatening Town keeper Ian McLoughlin.

Ipswich almost went ahead after an uneventful opening 10 minutes when Callum Bennett's right-wing cross was headed back across goal and against the far post by David Cawley.

Ipswich, watched by first team manager Roy Keane from the directors' box, broke the deadlock in the 26th minute, ironically just after Marc Abbott had dropped a free kick onto the roof of McLoughlin's net as Haverhill threatened for the first time.

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A long ball over the top of the Haverhill defence left Caolan Lavery in the clear and as Dave Walton hesitated, the centre-forward rounded him before taking his time to slot home from close range.

Lee Salmons' shot on the turn from the edge of the area forced McLoughlin into his only serious save of the night after 28 minutes before Lambe saw red after inexplicably stamping on the prostrate Stuart Kingham after they had tussled for a loose ball.

A clever Lavery flick saw him play a one-two with Josh Carson but Kingham's last-ditch tackle prevented a second goal.

However, the reprieve was short-lived as Clark's 28-yard thunderous free kick in first-half injury time entered the net via the underside of the bar with Walton beaten all ends up.

Haverhill, with ex-QPR professional Stuart Wardley showing his class in defence and Marcus Hunt prompting in midfield, displayed more attacking purpose at the start of the second period.

However, any hopes of a fight-back were ended by Clark's second stunning goal in the 63rd minute.

The midfielder showed good skill to set overlapping left-back Rory McKeown free, and when the ball was laid back to him he nonchalantly side-footed home over the stranded Walton into the top far corner of the net from just outside the box. Lavery added a fourth with eight minutes to go, racing clear of the defence onto Cawley's ball and poking home between Walton and his near post to underline the finishing ability between the two sides.

Line-ups

Ipswich Town: McLoughlin, Bennett, McKeown, Cawley, Brown, Eastman, Clark (sub Cramer 80 mins), Griffiths (sub Brandon 72 mins), Lavery, Lambe and Carson.

Haverhill Rovers: Walton, P Abbott, Newnes, Wardley, Holmes, Kingham (sub Harvey 67 mins), M Abbott, Hunt, Salmons, Halls (sub Wilby 46 mins) and Harper (sub Hickman 67 mins). Unused subs: Westcott and Challis.

Referee: C Fitch (Ipswich).

Attendance: 242.

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