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Needham Market retain the Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup for the third straight season, making it a fifth triumph in their history, following an entertaining, open, 3-3 draw with Isthmian League North Division side, and local neighbours, Stowmarket Town.

Both sides overcame fellow league opposition to book their place in the final, with Needham overcoming Leiston 1-0 at Stowmarket courtesy of a 70th minute Luke Ingram penalty, while Jack Ainsley was on target as Stow beat Bury Town 3-0 at Needham. 

The Pitching In Southern League Central Premier Division side started brightly and had the better of the early chances, great passing play saw Fitzgerald thread Dye through down the left wing, and just into the box, whose audacious cross is headed just wide of the top right-hand corner by Ingram at the far post after 3 minutes.

Kevin Horlock's side then took a deserved lead two minutes later, Taylor Clark found space to whip a brilliant right wing cross into Callum Page, who leapt like a salmon from 6-yards out, despite having two defenders around him, to bullet head home into the bottom far, right-hand, corner, 1-0 Needham.

Just sixty seconds later, Needham went close to adding a quickfire second goal, Jake Dye found Luke Ingram in space on the left-hand side of the box whose great strike curled narrowly wide of the top far corner. 

The Marketmen created another good chance in the 8th minute, Ingram worked space on the right-hand edge of the box although his sumptuous low ball across the face of goal flashes wide with nobody in Needham red around to provide the finishing touch. 

Five minutes later, Needham Man Of The Match Dylan Williams drove into space well, weaving between the Stow midfield to break onto the edge of the box, but only to smash his shot narrowly wide of the top right-hand corner. 

Jacob Lay then won possession well before driving through Stow's half, the winger weaved smartly into space as he broke onto the edge of the box, albeit he skewed his shot narrowly wide of the bottom left-hand corner on 16 minutes. 

Up the other end however, Stow equalised with the first shot and chance of note of the night a minute later, Ed Upson's left wing corner picked out Joe Jefford who headed home powerfully from close range, 1-1. 

Needham though looked to hit back on 20 minutes, as Jake Dye found Callum Page with a left wing throw, the former, after receiving back possession, then looked to slot Jacob Lay into space down the left-hand side of the box but the winger just couldn't latch onto it as Bradbrook gathered the ball on his line.

Three minutes later, Stow again struck from a set-piece with their 2nd goal from 2 real shots. Upson's free-kick on the left-hand side of the box was deflected, off the wall, back into play via the front face of the near post while Jack Ainsley was first to the rebound to cooly finish into the top right-hand corner, 2-1 Stow. 

Needham remained unfazed, as the game continued to be a thoroughly entertaining, open content, with Jake Dye's audacious left wing cross headed away only as far as Luke Ingram in space inside the box, whose first time seemingly goalbound volley was deflected just wide of the top near corner for a Needham corner on 25 minutes.

At the other end, a terrific save from Marcus Garnham thwarted Ainsley from picking up his second goal of the night on the half-hour mark, the Stow forward was threaded through into space, by a smart cutting low ball across, on the left-hand side of the box whose shot was smothered brilliantly by the onrushing Garnham. 

Dylan Williams meanwhile found space to shoot on the right-hand edge of the box after 37 minutes, but his fierce shot was blocked, while Kyle Hammond - who had found space from 35-yards out on the left-hand side - saw his low shot also blocked two minutes later. Ingram then saw a low shot deflected just wide of the left-hand near corner moments later.

The Marketmen though got back on level terms from the resulting left wing set-piece. Dylan Williams' audacious corner found Dan Morphew who ghosted in to power home a bullet header into the top near corner from point blank range, 2-2 after 40 minutes.

Williams though drew a smart save out of Stow goalkeeper James Bradbrook five minutes later, the midfielder sneaked a sumptuous 35-yard shot towards goal, which lifted over the defence before dipping towards the bottom right-hand corner, but for Bradbrook to hold onto the shot well. 

The Marketmen also had the last chance of the first half in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Jacob Lay threaded goalscorer Callum Page through on the left wing overlap whose driving run into the box saw the forward's brilliant ball squared across the box towards Ingram cleared away by a defenderm

The higher league Reds started the second half like the first, scoring quickly after the restart. This time round though just 42 seconds had been played when Horlock's side broke forward quickly with Kyle Hammond finding space out on the right wing to square a brilliant right wing low cross on a plate for Dylan Williams, who had found space from 10-yards out to smartly fire home into the bottom left-hand corner, 3-2 Needham.

Back came Stow though, as Casement's side found space to shoot on the right-hand edge of the box, which went just wide of the bottom far corner on 51 minutes. 

Two minutes later, Needham midfielder Taylor Clark broke similarly broke into space on the right-hand edge of the box, but the midfielder's low goalbound shot towards the bottom far corner was well blocked by a Stow defender.

Callum Page then exploited space on the left-hand edge of the box, but his low fierce strike was well held by Bradbrook guarding his near post, keeping the score at 3-2 to Needham on 56 minutes. 

Stow meanwhile equalised on 61 minutes, Casement's low right wing dangerous cross picked out Ainsley unmarked at the far post who controlled the ball before slotting home into the gaping bottom left-hand corner from point blank range, 3-3. 

Goalscorer Page then picked out Kyle Hammond with a great left wing cross, the defender then dangerously headed the ball back across the box towards Jacob Lay whose glanced header towards the top left-hand corner was gathered by Bradbrook on 69 minutes. 

Taylor Clark then saw a 12-yard shot blocked a minute later, while Dylan Williams' right wing corner was looped just over the top far corner onto the roof of the net by fellow goalscorer Dan Morphew from close range on 76 minutes.

Four minutes later, Needham captain Keiran Morphew shot just wide of the bottom near corner from a low right wing corner from 10 yards out, while Williams' fierce shot on the left-hand hand edge of the box was well caught by Bradbrook on 82 minutes. 

Lay meanwhile saw his shot on the left-hand side of the box blocked by Casement two minutes later, while substitute Luke Brown found space to shoot on the left-hand edge of the box but his shot - which looked to have taken a deflection off a defender - went just wide of the bottom near corner for a goal-kick just moments later. 

The ex-Stow forward then fired a half-volley over the bar from 30-yards out on 88 minutes, while Taylor Clark was fed into space just outside the box only to fire his shot agonisingly just over the crossbar two minutes later. 

Around five minutes or so of stoppage time then passed before referee Bradley Mingay drew to a close a pulsating 90 minutes, meaning that the final would be decided by the lottery of penalties. 

Stow took first, in front of the (car park) end the majority of their supporters were stood behind during the second half, with Jack Ainsley stepping up first to kick off a just as dramatic and entertaining penalty shootout. The double goalscorer cooly sent Garnham the wrong way to slot home into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 1-0. 

Regular Needham penalty taker, and the club's all time appearance maker, Luke Ingram stepped up first for Needham and levelled the shootout, dispatching into the top left-hand corner, despite a reaching hand from Bradbrook, who guessed correctly, 1-1. 

Ed Upson then sent Garnham the wrong way to make it 2-1 to Stow, firing home smartly into the bottom right-hand corner. 

Taylor Clark, who helped the club's Under-18s reach their own County Cup Final - which will be played at Colchester United (17th May, 7:30pm), oozed confidence as he smashed home ferociously, low, right down the middle of the net as Bradbrook dived to his left hand side, 2-2.

Jack Wilkinson then just beat Garnham, who guessed correctly, to make it 3-2 to Stow, by finding the bottom left-hand corner, while former regular Needham penalty taker Dan Morphew took no prisoners as he smashed home past Bradbrook into the top left-hand corner to keep it level at 3-3.

Player-manager Chris Casement then stepped up for Stow's fourth spot-kick, with the defender smartly sending Garnham the wrong way as he slotted home into the bottom left-hand corner. 

Goalscorer Dylan Williams ensured it would remain level after 4 penalties each, with ice in his veins the midfielder sent Bradbrook the wrong way as he smashed home into the top right-hand corner. 

Having won the competition with Needham last season, in a 5-4 shootout victory over Leiston, Harvey Sayer stepped up against his former side and confidently sent Garnham the wrong way, powerfully finding the bottom right-hand corner. 

Luke Brown though ensured the shootout would continue into sudden death, getting just enough power to slide his spot-kick underneath Bradbrook, who'd dived just to his left, 5-5. 

The Stow goalkeeper then took next for Stow, but couldn't beat Garnham, who guessed right, as the former lifted his effort over the bar.

That meant that another member of Needham's Under-18s had the responsibility of taking the match-winning penalty. Seth Chambers though showed no sign of any nerves, brilliantly beating Bradbrook for power, leathering home into the top left-hand corner to make it a hat-trick of Suffolk Premier Cup triumphs for Kevin Horlock's side. 

The victory likely sets up a Suffolk Champions Charity Cup clash - a competition Needham have won both times since it's inception - between either Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League First Division North sides Framlingham Town or AFC Sudbury Reserves, who meet in the Suffolk Senior Cup Final (12th May), in pre-season.


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