Suffolk Premier Cup report - Leiston 4 Walsham-le-Willows 0.
Gareth Heath scored two and set the other two up as Leiston’s class eventually shone through against Walsham-le-Willows in a Suffolk Premier Cup quarter-final tie on Tuesday night.
Heath’s 16th and 17th goals of the season, as well as well-taken goals by Conor Hubble and Tom Winter, saw Leiston progress into the last four of the competition, although lower-level opponents Walsham put up a good fight for the best part of an hour.
A blistering start to the game saw Danny Gay block from Andrew Wood in the opening three minutes, before Heath was incensed he didn’t have a penalty after appearing to be tugged back by Lee Hammond in the area.
Stuart Boardley went close with a rasping trademark strike from range that Lee Pacey did well to push to safety on a rain-soaked Victory Road surface, with the keeper also reacting well to keep out Hubble’s free-kick as well as preventing Nathan Clarke from scoring an own goal with a point-blank save following a wicked Boardley cross.
Thurlow Nunn Premier Division outfit Walsham-le-Willows more than matched their opponents two leagues above them in the non-league pyramid in the opening half, and if Hammond and Wood had been more clinical, it could have been a different story.
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Wood in particular, whose clever movement and link-up play with partner Brame caused the Leiston defence a host of problems, ought to have scored after rounding Gay six minutes before the half-time whistle, but Joe Jefford recovered brilliantly to clear his effort off the line.
The same player then had another golden opportunity in the opening moments of the second half, but found a sprawling Gay in his way.
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From then on, Leiston started to dictate the tempo with Hubble’s excellent finish nestling into the net in the 50th minute following a neat knock-down from Heath.
The Leiston back-line always looked vulnerable to pace though, and Brame missed the best opportunity of the lot for Walsham in the 61st minute, but he woefully scuffed his effort into the ground when clean through on goal.
Man-of-the-match Heath was in no mood for prisoners, and two minutes later, he punished Walsham ruthlessly from the spot after he had been felled by Pacey.
That was the game as good as over, and after Alex Rossis replaced Gay in the home goal following an injury sustained earlier in the game, Heath cleverly flicked in Winter to power home number three in the 78th minute, before smashing home a sweeping team move less than 60 seconds later as Leiston eventually made their progression safe.
Leiston: Gay (Rossis), Saker, Boardley, Jefford, Tann, Mitchell, Hubble, Heath, Winter (Block), Ottley-Gooch (Mayhew), Brothers.
Walsham-le-Willows: Pacey, Sim, Easlea, McConnell (Last), Clarke, Bolton, Curry, Hammond, Musgrove, Brame, Wood.
Referee: Mr Paul Quick