Needham triumph in shoot-out

Leiston 0 Needham Market 0 (after extra time) (Needham win 5-4 on penalties)A NEW name was today being etched on to the S1 Sports Suffolk Premier Cup after Needham Market won a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Portman Road last night.

Elvin King

Leiston 0 Needham Market 0

(after extra time)

(Needham win 5-4 on penalties)


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A NEW name was today being etched on to the S1 Sports Suffolk Premier Cup after Needham Market won a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Portman Road last night.

In an exciting game where both teams had chances - Needham the most - somehow the scoreline remained goalless.

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Jamie Stannard in the Leiston goal had an outstanding match pulling off save after save, but it was his opposite number Liam Jones who proved the hero when it came to penalty saves.

Richard Butler had the fourth Needham spot-kick saved by Stannard and when Danny George stepped up to take Leiston's fifth kick a goal would have won the trophy.

But Jones made a save diving to his left, and after Nathan Szyszlyk had netted the first sudden-death penalty Jones made a stop from Pip Boyland to decide the final.

Needham, beaten semi-finalists in the FA Vase now go on to seek the Ridgeons League title and also the Ridgeons League Cup as they seek a treble.

The high standard of football in Suffolk - emphasised by the county's success in national cup competitions - was highlighted by the skill levels shown by both sides.

Leiston had players who caught the eye, but Needham were a better equipped all round outfit.

This was Needham's first appearance, while Leiston have now suffered the heartbreak of being beaten in the last three Premier Cup finals - two on penalties and an 8-0 thrashing by Ipswich Town last year.

They included two players from the last year's side when a watching Jason Dozzell was their manager.

Influential skipper Liam Manning and the busy Blake Saker were the only survivors, while Luke Eagle and Danny George were substitutes last season.

Tommy Smith was a lively front runner for Needham, forcing Stannard into a number of saves although neither keeper really looked like being beaten in the opening period.

Both sides could and should have scored with Leiston having defender Ian Smith sent off in the 104th minute for bringing down his namesake who was running clear.

There were no complaints about that decision although Leiston continued to have much of a game that went from end to end in the final stages with Luke Eagle somehow missing an open goal from two yards out in the 98th minute.

Suffolk's one Football League referee, Mick Thorpe, took charge of the game - his third Premier Cup final, over which he kept calm control.

Teams

Leiston: Stannard, Button, Boyland, I Smith, Goldfinch, Lowe (sub Jennings 20 mins, Chenery 107), Saker, Manning, Crane (Allen 82), Eagle, George. Substitutes: Rose, Trotter.

Needham Market: Jones, Evans (Pemberton 75), Barber, Bailey, Butler, Wark, Denniss (Buckle 45), Berry, T Smith, Thrower, Wake (Szyszlyk 68). Substitutes: Foster, Thorogood.

Referee: Mr M Thorpe (Martlesham)

Attendance: 803

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