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Needham Market Under-18s book their spot in the Veo Suffolk Boys U18 Midweek Cup Final in a 3-1 win over Cornard United at Long Melford.

The young Marketmen, who will face the winners of AFC Sudbury Under-18s or Ipswich Town Under-16s - which is scheduled to be played next Thursday at Hadleigh, went into the break 3 goals up.

The young Reds had a good chance after just 17 seconds, straight from kickoff Needham broke through smartly down the left wing with an audacious cross curled into the six yard box, forcing the goalkeeper to get a crucial touch to tip it away as far as Taylor Clark on the right-hand edge of the box whose fierce shot was blocked.

At the other end, Fenton-Jones intercepted possession to shoot from 30-yards out but his low strike was straight at Lawrence Robinson who dived down smartly to hold onto the ball well in the 2nd minute.

Two clinical goals in the space of 3 minutes meanwhile saw Needham race into a quickfire 2-0 lead, Lucas Vance was threaded through by a great through ball into acres of space on the left-hand edge of the six yard box before slotting home cooly into the bottom near corner, 1-0 Needham in the 3rd minute.

Captain Seth Chambers notched his side's second goal soon after, a great right wing ball released Luca Braddon free in acres of space on the right wing, the winger then lifted an audacious ball over the defence, releasing Chambers through, who exploited space well, one on one with the keeper, to smash home well into the bottom far corner, 2-0 Needham.

A great save from Cornard goalkeeper Elliot Game denied Lucas Vance from scoring his second goal of the night in the 11th minute, the Reds broke through smartly down the left-hand side of the box before cutting the ball back to Vance whose fierce shot from close range was bravely blocked away by the goalkeeper.

Clayton Osborn then picked out Seth Chambers with a clever dinked ball through onto the right-hand side of the box, the forward held the ball up well to find space to sneak an awkward half volley on the turn at goal, but for it to dip narrowly over the crossbar on 14 minutes.

Needham then saw a dangerous right wing low cross in towards goal held well by Game down well at the near post on his line four minutes later, while Eddie Barker was found on the right wing edge of the box who wrapped a sumptuous cross-shot creeping into the bottom far corner, requiring Game to get down well and push it behind for a Needham corner on 22 minutes.

Needham arguably dominated proceedings first half and had the better chances, while Cornard arguably had the more of the ball in the second forty-five minutes, with the roles reversed and Needham having to battle hard to maintain their advantage.

Good pressure from Seth Chambers almost paid off for the Reds in the 25th minute, the striker closed down the goalkeeper's clearance only for the ball to ricoshade just over the crossbar for a goal-kick. Cornard however broke straight up the other end down the left wing seconds later, with Lawrence forced into a low diving save to hold onto the ball well.

Eddie Barker then curled a brilliant 40-yard left wing free-kick into the danger area, forcing Game to come off his line and punch it away only as far as James Letts in acres of space on the far side of the box whose chipped shot over the onrushing goalkeeper was well smothered by Game on 32 minutes.

A great save from Game again thwarted Vance three minutes later, a clever through-ball threaded the forward through in space down the left wing who cut inside smartly into the box, weaving into a shooting position only for his fierce low shot at a tight angle to be smothered away well by the goalkeeper, down low at his near post. The rebound fell to Eddie Barker whose ferocious 17-yard shot went just wide of the bottom far, right-hand, corner.

Chinake then saw a fierce low shot, from the edge of the box, well denied by Lawrence off his line - with offside given against a Cornard man just behind the Needham goalkeeper after 40 minutes, before Vance picked up his ninth goal of the season for the Under-18s on the stroke of half-time.

The forward added his second goal of the night, and Needham's third, pouncing on a bouncing ball from flick on from a brilliant Eddie Barker left wing corner to stab the ball home into the roof of the net from inside the six yard box, 3-0 Needham.

The better chances though still went the way of the young Marketmen, who were forced to weather often large spells of Cornard possession before breaking on the counter.

Needham meanwhile had the first chance after the restart, as Eddie Barker curled a 30-yard free-kick narrowly wide of the bottom near, left-hand, corner on 58 minutes.

Good defending from Cornard blocked a Lucas Vance shot wide well for a corner two minutes later, the forward exploited space after racing through onto the left-hand side of the box following a great defence splitting pass, but a good defensive recovery prevented the winger from testing the goalkeeper once more.

The resulting Eddie Barker corner found Seth Chambers, whose scorpion kick flicked effort went over the crossbar in the 61st minute.

Cornard though drew a goal back on 65 minutes, after a free-kick on the left-hand edge of the box at goal was smothered away well by Robinson on his line a Cornard player was on hand at the left-hand post to bundle home from point blank range, 3-1.

At the other end, Needham went agonisingly close to restoring their three goal lead five minutes later, Chambers was fed through to break into the penalty area, down the right-hand side, before weaving past a defender and teeing the ball up to Taylor Clark who lashed his shot a centimetre wide of the bottom far left hand corner.

A great save from Game denied substitute Dimitri Gayle from getting on the scoresheet in the 87th minute, a brilliant defence splitting pass threaded Gayle through in acres of space down the left-hand side of the box though Game advanced off his line brilliantly to narrow down the angle and smother the close range shot away.

Cornard however ended the night with nine men with two straight red cards in the fourth minute of added time, following a dangerous tackle inside the Needham half.

Needham's hopes of a possible League and Cup double remain on track, as the young Marketmen await either AFC Sudbury or Ipswich Town Under-16s in the Suffolk U18 Midweek Cup Final. Needham return to league action and their quest for a second consecutive Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Youth League Central Division title on Tuesday 6th of April when they travel to Stowmarket Town (7:45pm).


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