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Kevin Horlock proud of steely display as Needham Market hold firm with 10 men to lift Suffolk Premier Cup at Lowestoft Town





Needham Market manager Kevin Horlock praised his players’ steel after winning the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Final despite surrendering a two-goal lead, writes Nick Garnham.

Two goals inside three first-half minutes saw Lowestoft Town, who Needham had defeated 3-1 in the first leg of the delayed 2019/20 final at Bloomfields a week earlier, cancel out their advantage inside half-an-hour of Tuesday’s second leg at Crown Meadow.

Jacek Zielonka scored from the spot after 28 minutes after he had been fouled inside the box by Ben Fowkes and then Louis McIntosh curled home a 20-yard free-kick with goalkeeper Marcus Garnham rooted to the spot.

Needham Market celebrate winning the delayed 2019/20 Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Final following the second leg at Lowestoft Town Picture: Shirley Whitlow (42814070)
Needham Market celebrate winning the delayed 2019/20 Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Final following the second leg at Lowestoft Town Picture: Shirley Whitlow (42814070)

Horlock, who said he considered his side ‘slight favourites’ going into the second leg, watched his players respond through Joe Marsden’s 48th minute goal, a curling shot into the far corner after cutting in from the right.

The Marketmen had substitute Luke Ingram shown a straight red card for something he said five minutes after coming on as a 70th minute substitute but held on to lose 2-1 on the night and win 4-3 on aggregate.

Horlock, who picked up his first trophy as manager of Needham Market, told Suffolk FA: “I am really proud of the lads.

Joe Marsden celebrates after scoring for Needham Market in the Suffolk Premier Cup Final second leg at Lowestoft Town Picture: Shirley Whitlow (42814074)
Joe Marsden celebrates after scoring for Needham Market in the Suffolk Premier Cup Final second leg at Lowestoft Town Picture: Shirley Whitlow (42814074)

“Everyone made us red-hot favourites. We knew that we were slight favourites with a two-goal advantage, but it was never going to be easy, and I think tonight proved that – it was touch and go at times.

“I said to the lads at half-time we were not that poor, but they scored a penalty, which gave them a lift, and then it was a great free kick.

“I said we just haven’t played as well as we could, but don’t play with fear – the worst thing that can happen is we don’t win this trophy tonight.

“I thought in the second half we showed a calmness and a bit steel about us when we were up against it going down to 10 men, so we were tested, but I have learnt lots of positives about my side tonight.

“I know they can play – we have shown that on a number of occasions already this season, but tonight showed me we have a bit of steel about us when we were up against it, so I go home tonight really proud.”

Horlock praised Marsden, who also scored in the first leg against his former club in the first two-legged final since 1980/81, which both clubs were keen on, rather than a one-off tie.

He said: “I am pleased for him because it has been tough for a number of lads – Joe, Adam Mills and Luke Ingram – we have been really good and they have had to be patient.

“They are experienced lads who have played a lot of games, but I would like to think I have created an environment where if lads do well they keep their place as much as possible.

“I have got to be consistent with that and I have been and testament to Joe – he has been given the nod tonight and it could have been Luke – and he has produced that bit of quality that we all know he possesses with what turned out to be the winning goal.”

Needham Market's Billy Hunt in possession with Josh Curry in close attendance in the Suffolk Premier Cup Final second leg at Lowestoft Town Picture: Shirley Whitlow (42814072)
Needham Market's Billy Hunt in possession with Josh Curry in close attendance in the Suffolk Premier Cup Final second leg at Lowestoft Town Picture: Shirley Whitlow (42814072)

Horlock said the trophy – Needham’s third Premier Cup win – was a reward for everyone involved behind-the-scenes at the club.

“The trophy itself is for a lot of people. The lads are the ones that go on the pitch and win it, but our club has evolved so much over the last five years, from top to bottom, and we are led from the top really, really well.

“We have got a lot of good people involved in the football club that help out as well, so this is for all of them and all their hard work and it is nice sometimes to see some fruit from your labour and that trophy is for everyone at Needham.”

Lowestoft Town manager Jamie Godbold said: “I think over the course of the 90 minutes we have got to take the positives as we won the game, but over the two games it was not enough.

“We came into the game with a bit of a mountain to climb and at half time it was like we were on top of it and just needed to go for another, but a little bit of quality from Joe (Marsden) again, which I think was the only shot they had all game, just flew into the top corner of the net.

“I am disappointed to lose the cup final, as you would be, but certainly not disappointed with our players’ efforts.”

Lowestoft Town: Warren Burwood, Jacek Zielonka, Owen Murphy, Rossi Jarvis, Levi Andoh, Josh Curry, Louis McIntosh, Andrew Fisk (sub Miguel Lopez, 82 mins), Colin Oppong (sub Anthony Cox, 70 mins), Kieran Higgs, Connor Parsons. Unused subs: Josh Wells, Luis Tibbles, Jay Barbor.

Needham Market: Marcus Garnham, Jake Dye, Callum Sturgess (sub Adam Mills, 62 mins), Noah Collard, Keiran Morphew, Dan Morphew, Callum Page, Gareth Heath, Billy Hunt, Joe Marsden (sub Kai Fletcher, 90+1 mins), Ben Fowkes (sub Luke Ingram, 70 mins). Unused subs: Tommy Northwood, Owen Elsdon.

Referee: Ollie Morris-Sanders.

Attendance: 269.