Jake Hutchings scores hat-trick as Leiston beat Ipswich Town under-18s in nine-goal thriller

Leiston's Jake Hutchins (left) celebrates his hat-rick with teammate Regan Pelling, in the Leiston v

Leiston's Jake Hutchins (left) celebrates his hat-rick with teammate Regan Pelling, in the Leiston v Ipswich Town U18's (Suffolk Premier Cup) match at Victory Road, Leiston, on 15 November 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

New Leiston signing Jake Hutchings scored a hat-trick as the Blues defeated a young Ipswich Town side 6-3 in the Suffolk Premier Cup at Victory Road last night.

Signed recently from Grays Athletic, centre-back Hutchins scored three goals from close-range and added to strikes from Christy Finch, Joe Francis and Matt Blake as the Blues eventually put a promising-looking Ipswich under-18 side to bed.

Despite the final score, the visitors showed plenty of signs of promise, especially in the final third – Ben Folami, Declan Daniels, Conor McKendry and Steven Cahill impressing – but Leiston had too much nous in the end and capitalised on some poor defending to book their place in the semi-finals.

After a strong start, Town took a deserved lead on 13 minutes.

A through pass saw Leiston’s young goalkeeper Charlie Beckwith slide down at the feet of Ross Meldrum, but he could then only watch as the ball looped into the air, striker Daniels nodding home from close-range, despite the efforts of Joe Jefford to clear the ball on the line.

That came just seconds after Finch squandered a golden chance at the other end, the striker unable to get sufficient contact on Blake Saker’s right-wing cross to guide the ball towards goal.

After the shock of conceding, Leiston began to turn the screw and Francis wasted a good opportunity, when he failed to capitalise on Patrick Webber getting in a tangle in the six-yard box, the winger prodding the ball wide with the goal gaping.

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Leiston sensed blood, while Ipswich continued to pass the ball well. On one occasion Webber tried to play the ball across field and his pass was intercepted by Finch who launched a fierce effort from range past Nick Hayes, who got a touch on the ball, the striker’s effort however nestling in the bottom corner to level the scores.

Leiston scored twice again in quick succession before the break, Hutchings nodding home virtually on the goalline from Francis’ inswinging cross, before the latter tapped home after good play by Blake and former Ipswich youngster Byron Lawrence.

Trailing 3-1 at the break, Town struck first in the second half, left-back Corrie Ndaba hitting home from close-range after Cahill’s teasing cross was not dealt at all well by the Leiston defence.

However, within a minute, Blake had scored for the hosts, tapping home into an empty net after Hayes had thwarted Francis.

Beckwith then tipped Cahill’s fierce long-range effort on to the bar and the game swept from end-to-end, before Hutchings converted from close-range, a Gareth Heath cross.

Folami gave Ipswich hope with a superb individual effort, rifling the ball into the top corner after beating a couple of players, but Hutchings had the last word, heading home at the back post.