Slick Ipswich Town side prove too good for plucky Walsham-le-Willows in Suffolk Premier Cup
First-half goals from Zak Brown and Levi Andoh were added to by a Colin Oppong second-half finish to send a young Ipswich Town XI through in the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup with a 3-1 victory at Walsham-le-Willows tonight.
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division hosts - with Ipswich having conceded the home advantage as in previous years - had replied to Brown's 18th minute opener through Charlie Norman's fine low effort in the 26th minute.
But a sublime 25-yard rocket from centre-half Andoh in the 38th minute sent Ipswich into the interval with a deserved lead.
The second half saw the side managed by Adam Atey show their class with some slick passages of play a joy to watch. But the actions of goalkeeper Steve Fenner kept the scoreline respectable, with just Oppong's 59th minute goal having taken the tie away from them.
Walsham had gone into the match off the back of two big home victories, having beaten Newmarket Town impressively 5-2 the previous Tuesday while inflicting a third consecutive 4-0 defeat on Haverhill Rovers on Saturday.
But manager Trevor Collins rested Kieran Twinn, who scored all four goals at the weekend, along with 37-year-old former Ipswich defender Ian Miller.
The Ipswich side feature former AFC Sudbury and Bury Town wide player Ross Crane, following his professional debut 24 hours early in the Blues' EFL Trophy victory against Gillingham.
Walsham started well with Craig Nurse sending an overhead kick wide before the experienced midfielder found the hands of Lewis Ridd with a 30-yard effort.
But with their first effort at goal the young Town side took the lead in the 18th minute.
Fraser Alexander ran unmarked through the centre of the park and threaded a pass through to Brown who took it past Fenner and the covering defender before rolling it into the net.
There was almost a quickfire second but Fenner was alert to push a Zanda Siziba effort around his right-hand post.
Walsham got back on terms though in the 26th minute when the ball was worked to Norman who turned well before producing a fine low curling finish from just outside the penalty area.
Fenner proved his worth again three minutes later when making a good low save to deny Brown a second while Cameron Nichols' long-range effort up the other end was comfortbaly dealt with by Ridd.
It was a special strike that saw Ipswich regain the lead in the 38th minute with centre-half Andoh picking out the top right-hand corner with a curling effort from 25 yards out after Walsham failed to get a corner clear.
The half ended with former Bury Town loanee Tommy Smith flashing an angled effort across the face of goal.
There was a big chance for Walsham to draw level early in the second period but Kyran Cooper saw his far post free header from a corner go over.
Home skipper Sam Peters came to his side's rescue in the 57th minute, clearing off the line after Brown produced a clever flick towards goal from a header following a corner.
But two minutes later the Blues had their all important two-goal cushion. Brown's electric pace saw him dart inside Karl Saffrey from the right wing, drawing out Fenner before cutting back for Oppong who steadied himself before firing past two covering defenders into the net.
After taking a powerful shot in the face, Nurse had to leave the field in the 65th minute, having put in a lively performance.
Fenner made a block to deny Smith and got hand to divert a Crane effort after some fine passing moves while Walsham came close to pulling one back in the 79th minute but Cooper was unable to keep his connection with a looping cross to the far post down.
Walsham were ending the match strongly with Norman sending a low effort from long range wide after some neat build up.
But ultimately Ipswich were good value for their 3-1 win with some of their passing and movement in the second period a joy to behold as they booked themselves a place in the quarter finals.
Walsham: Fenner, Harvey, Peters, Lucraft, Saffrey, Nurse (Hubbard 65'), Cooper, Collins, Clark (Dove 58'), Norman, Nichols (Smith 58').
Ipswich: Ridd, Crowe, Smith, Alexander, Andoh (Bradshaw 75'), Kabongolo, Crane, Siziba, Brown (Barek 83'), Viral, Oppong.
Referee: George Byrne
Free Press Man of The Match: Steve Fenner. The Walsham goalkeeper made some important saves to keep the scoreline respectable.