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INGRAM FIRES NEEDHAM TO THIRD STRAIGHT COUNTY CUP FINAL

Needham Market edged an, all Southern League Central Premier Division, Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final tie 1-0 courtesy of a second half Luke Ingram penalty to progress to a third consecutive final.



The Marketmen made one change from Saturday's 3-2 home league win over Basford United with Hugh Cullum starting on the bench and Tom Fitzgerald taking his place in the starting eleven.



In truth, it was the Marketmen who had the better chances, though clear cut chances were at a premium throughout the nervy contest.



In the fourth meeting between the two sides this season, which have seen Needham come out on top in an Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round tie in September and Leiston edge both league encounters with goals in stoppage time, the Marketmen looked the more lively.



Sure enough, the first opportunity of note fell to the Reds in the 12th minute. Callum Page drove through onto the left-hand edge of the box whose unselfish attempted through-ball towards Lay rebounded off the pitch and wide for a goalkick, while Dylan Williams' fierce low 35-yard free-kick wax blocked 7 minutes later. 



Jake Dye meanwhile fed Ingram into space on the left-hand edge of the box on 24 minutes, but the striker's low shot was well blocked. 



Tom Fitzgerald then tried his luck at goal for Needham on the half-hour mark, the midfielder was threaded through in space onto the left-hand edge of the box but his shot rebounded off the ground and narrowly wide of the bottom near corner.

Leiston were then forced into an early change after 39 minutes as Rossi Jarvis was withdrawn due to an injury with George Quantrell on in his place.


Taylor Clark was fed into space down the right-hand side into the box, eight minutes later, where the midfielder's low shot was gathered by Donkin at his near post.


Despite clear cut chances being at a premium, the Marketmen had the better chances. Callum Page, the former Needham Academy graduate on loan from Ipswich Town, was fed into space on the left-hand side whose shot from just outside the box was deflected just wide of the near post for a corner in the first of four minutes in first half stoppage time. 


Seconds after the restart, Leiston forward Will Davies had a shot inside the box blocked, while a strike on the rebound was also blocked.

Needham arguably enjoyed more of the possession and had a great chance on 53 minutes, 


Dylan Williams' audacious right wing corner found Clark free at the far post who glanced his header, from 16-yards out, narrowly wide. 

While Leiston were forced into a second change on 63 minutes, which saw ex-Marketman Ben Fowkes replace the injured Will Davies, Needham were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute. Williams' right wing free-kick was swung in dangerously towards the near post, where Luke Ingram's header flicked across the six yard box was only partially cleared as far as Page whose ferocious shot was blocked by an arm.


As cool as you like, penalty specialist Ingram took the big moment in his stride, oozing confidence as the striker sent Donkin the wrong way to cooly place his spot-kick into the bottom right-hand corner, 1-0 Needham after 71 minutes.


Ex-Marketman Joe Marsden was soon the first player to go into referee Paul Quick's notebook for a late foul in his own half after 75 minutes, before Needham made their first, and only, substitution of the night three minutes later with striker Luke Brown replacing midfielder Tom Fitzgerald.


The substitute was quickly involved in creating a great chance on 80 minutes, Brown threaded Jacob Lay through into space on the left-hand edge of the box whose shot was smashed just wide of the bottom near corner. 


Meanwhile, at the other end 6 minutes later, Joe Marsden's free-kick on the edge of the box was blocked well by the wall before a shot on the rebound was also blocked, while Callum Page blazed a shot over from 10-yards out on 89 minutes.


Just before 5, nervy, added minutes were announced, Leiston replaced Ryan Jarvis with Zach Dronfield, while Williams was cautioned for Needham as Horlock's side held onto book a third straight Suffolk Premier Cup Final spot, aiming go make it a hat-trick of wins on the spin, and what would be a fifth overall triumph in the competition. 


Needham switch focus to two final league trips in the space of two days, starting with Hednesford Town on Thursday (7:45pm).

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