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Needham boss Wilkins: We felt we could hurt Felixstowe & Walton United

14 February, 2018 - 12:02
Needham's Gareth Heath celebrates his winner against Felixstowe & Walton United. Picture: STAN BASTON

Needham's Gareth Heath celebrates his winner against Felixstowe & Walton United. Picture: STAN BASTON

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Needham Market had to fend off a Felixstowe & Walton United fightback before booking their place in the semi-finals of this season’s Omni Freight Services Suffolk Premier Cup.

Gareth Heath's free-kick gives Needham the lead. Picture: STAN BASTONGareth Heath's free-kick gives Needham the lead. Picture: STAN BASTON

The holders established a two-goal lead inside the opening half hour of Tuesday’s quarter-final tie at Bloomfields in front of 262 spectators.

Gareth Heath’s tenth minute free-kick and a Dan Morphew penalty after Ethan Clarke fouled Luke Ingram appeared to put the home side on course for the last four.

Joe Francis then poked home to reduce the deficit in the 33rd minute and a minute later Kye Ruel burst clear to level the tie.

After a flurry of second-half substitutions – the visitors lost both Francis and Clarke before the hour mark to injuries – Heath turned home at the near post in the 81st minute to settle the outcome.

Dan Morphew sends Seasiders' stopper Danny Crump the wrong way to double the score from the penalty spot. Picture: STAN BASTONDan Morphew sends Seasiders' stopper Danny Crump the wrong way to double the score from the penalty spot. Picture: STAN BASTON

Needham Market manager Richard Wilkins said: “Before the game we had everything to lose with people expecting us to go through, but people were interested to see how Felixstowe would get on against us.

“They are a very good offensive team, but we felt we could hurt them with our attacking threat, even though we left out John Sands and Jack Simmons.

“After we went 2-0 up the next goal was always going to be important, and we gave it to them and then they equalised straightaway.

“In the second half we were more compact and we controlled the game better than we did in the first half and we created more opportunities to score.”

Joe Francis squeezes through the Needham Market defence to open the scoring for the Seasiders. Picture: STAN BASTONJoe Francis squeezes through the Needham Market defence to open the scoring for the Seasiders. Picture: STAN BASTON

Needham join fellow Bostik League Premier Division side Leiston, Bury Town and Kirkley & Pakefield in the semi-final draw which will be announced a week on Saturday

Wilkins quipped: “This is a good competition, and one we want to do well in as the holders – no doubt we will draw Leiston in the semi-final!”

- Kirkley & Pakefield pulled off a stunning comeback from 2-0 down to win 5-2 at The New Croft against Haverhill Rovers in another Premier Cup quarter-final.

Goals from Luke Haines and Rafal Wozniak appeared to put the home team in command, but Kirkley drew level by the break and scored three unanswered goals in the second period.

Liam Harvey-Cooper (2), Kyle Baker, Lee Will and Jack Herbert were on target for the visitors, who will be the only Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side in the final four.


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