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Joao Aguilar’s goal the difference as Soham Town Rangers knock Newmarket Town out of Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup





Joao Aguilar’s composed one-on-one finish was enough for Soham Town Rangers to see off Newmarket Town in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup, as the Greens booked their place in the semi-finals.

This was the fifth attempt to play the tie after it had previously been postponed for floodlight failure, a waterlogged pitch and a frozen pitch on two occasions.

But Soham will not care about the previous four attempts, as when it mattered they defeated fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division opposition at Julius Martin Lane.

Soham Town Rangers defeat Newmarket Town Picture: Sean Doyle
Soham Town Rangers defeat Newmarket Town Picture: Sean Doyle

The Greens’ number nine sparked the contest to life six minutes into the second half with a left-footed effort that James Young in the Newmarket goal had no chance of stopping.

A much-changed Soham side dug deep and showed togetherness, as well as individual moments of brilliance, to put away the second-placed Premier Division visitors.

Michael Shinn’s side did have chances to get on the scoresheet and their best opportunity came at the end of the first 45, when Jordan Foster’s shot from point-blank range was blocked by the presence of Lee Chaffey.

Soham Town Rangers defeat Newmarket Town Picture: Sean Doyle
Soham Town Rangers defeat Newmarket Town Picture: Sean Doyle

Alex Cross’ side showed seven changes from their 1-0 defeat away at Heacham on Saturday. Only Lewis Jackaman, Cameron Watson, Kai Nicholls and Jordan Chipps survived the cut as Finley Iron, Lowin Hercules, Jude Iron, Chaffey, Robert Cristica, Aguilar and Charlie Sutcliffe all made their way into the starting 11.

As for the visitors, Shinn named only two changes from his side’s 3-2 victory away at Downham Town on January 13.

Josh Wells and Issacc Maynard dropped out in place for Oscar Dean and James Seymour. The latter occupied a spot on the bench.

The contest took a while to get going and the opening quarter of an hour lacked quality, but it was the visitors who fashioned the first meaningful chance of the game.

Robinson’s wicked delivery from the right was headed back across goal to an unmarked Foster, but Newmarket’s frontman directed his header way over the bar.

Buoyed by their first sniff at goal, Newmarket came forward again. Once more Robinson was the architect, who slid a perfectly-weighted ball through to Conway who bared down on goal. The visitor’s number 10 struck with his right but a deflection took all the sting out of the effort and the ball found the grateful palms of Iron.

After a lengthy stoppage to Newmarket’s Eady, who was replaced by Maynard after 20 minutes, the hosts registered their first attempt of the contest.

Sutcliffe charged forward with intensity and his blocked effort fell to Jackaman, who struck from just outside the area, but he could not pick out the top-left corner.

Substitute Maynard, who had not yet touched the ball after only being on the pitch for a matter of minutes, showed quick thinking to chop onto his left foot and unleash a curling effort from the edge of the box. Iron had to be alert to tip the ball over the bar.

From the resulting corner, Robinson thought he could do one better as he lined up a speculative effort from 25-yards, but his half-volley caused more danger to the cars in the car park than Iron in the Soham goal.

The Greens’ midfielders had shown glimpses of their quality with clever one-touch passages of play to create space and the crowd lauded over fantastic work from Chipps mid-way through the first half.

The Soham winger sent two players in yellow to the deck with a sharp turn on half-way and broke with only Cristica in support. He eventually laid the ball off but the visiting defenders efficiently got back to thwart the attack and clear away the danger.

The first half was petering out and begging for the interval, until Newmarket created the best opportunity of the game in stoppage time.

Cole’s free-kick deflected kindly to Foster’s feet in the penalty area but his instinctive strike from point-blank range was blocked on the floor by Chaffey.

He may not have known much about it, but the Soham defender’s last-ditch block sent the teams into the break level.

Newmarket started the second half well as they starved the hosts of possession, but for all their early control it was Soham that took the lead.

A well-weighted pass by Sutcliffe sent through Aguilar one-on-one with Young and he made no mistake with his left-footed finish, as he powerfully slotted past the Jockeys’ shot-stopper to break the deadlock.

Newmarket almost hit back five minutes later when Maynard’s cross-come-shot was diverted towards the far corner by the wind, but Iron was on hand to tip the ball round the post.

Turning up the tempo, the Jockeys came forward again. A brilliant defence-splitting pass from Dean calved Soham open, and slipped Conway through on goal. However, his cut-back was cleared away by the Greens with Foster desperately waiting for a tap in.

Newmarket kept pushing for an equaliser and Julius Martin Lane was stunned that the Jockeys did not find the back of the net with 15 minutes of the tie to play.

A low cross from the right was somehow bundled behind for a corner by a Soham defender, as it looked for all the world that the ball had crept between the posts.

The wind swirled the rain around the ground as the contest drew to a close, with the Soham players running their bodies into the ground to protect their goal advantage. With just seven minutes left on the clock, Watson produced a fantastic sliding block to deny Robinson from close range.

That proved to be the last action of the tie. No frozen pitch, no waterlogged ground and the lights certainly shone bright at Julius Martin Lane for Cross’ young side.

Soham Town Rangers: F. Iron, Hercules, J. Iron, Jackaman, Chaffey, Watson, Nicholls, Cristica (Zeneli 79’), Aguilar, Sutcliffe (O’Byrne 82’), Chipps.

Unused substitutes: Ryan, Cowie, Johnson, Gent

Newmarket Town: Young, Ballester, Eady (Maynard 21’), Walter, Seymour, Williams, Robinson, Dean (Mingay 71’), Foster, Conway, Cole.

Unused substitutes: Brozorwiec, Chivers, Frank

Suffolk News Man of the Match: Jordan Chipps – while he was not the match winner, he ran the Newmarket Town defence ragged and showed great individual moments of brilliance.