Long Melford book Ipswich Town cup final date

Long Melford v Felixstowe United in Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final
Long Melford v Felixstowe United in Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final

TWO-GOAL hero Dan Cann hailed a true team performance for taking him to only his third cup final of his life.

SUFFOLK SENIOR CUP

SEMI-FINAL

Long Melford 2

Felixstowe United 0

by Russell Claydon at the Millfield, Hadleigh

TWO-GOAL hero Dan Cann hailed a true team performance for taking him to only his third cup final of his life.

And the 22-year-old, who joined The Villagers during last season, is now dreaming of scoring in a Portman Road final against current holders Whitton United next month.

Man-of-the-match Cann’s predatory instincts were responsible for both of his first half goals, a stooping header and a toe poke from three yards, building a scoreline from which Felixstowe were unable to recover.

In a tepid second half, the visitors huffed and puffed in front of goal before hitting the bar and post late on while Martin Westcott almost put the game to bed with a dipping shot on the turn that went inches over the bar.

Cann’s brace was more than enough though to book their place in their first final in the competition since the 2004 penalties defeat to Hadleigh United, but the striker was not prepared to take all the glory.

“It was nice to get one again as I have not scored a competitive goal for a while and to get two was a bonus,” he said. “It is not very often I score one with my head and if the manager almost keeled over, so did I when I saw it go in!

“But it was a team effort, I came off after about 60 minutes and they battled well right to the end.

“The defence was awesome today, the midfield was solid and I was playing upfront with Westy (Westcott) and he did his job and flicked on the header for me.”

On an immaculate surface at Hadleigh, Cann’s 30-yard strike almost caught Felixstowe goalkeeper Gary Hammond out with the sun in his eyes early on.

Villagers’ skipper Ashley Skeggs headed wide from a corner before Suffolk & Ipswich League side Felixstowe enjoyed a dominant spell but had nothing to show for it before Cann struck in the 21st minute.

The dominant Craig Wilson set Craig Springett off down the right and his cross was met by Cann’s glancing near-post header with the ball settling in the far corner.

Melford were looking far the more dangerous side and went into a 2-0 lead on the stroke of half-time when Skegg’s free-kick from inside the centre circle was nodded on by Westcott and Cann anticipated it well, stabbing the ball beyond Hammond with the outside of his right foot, without a defender within reach.

It took Felixstowe 25 minutes into the second half to cause a threat to the Melford goal, with Paul Wood having to tip over his bar from the otherwise excellent Luke Wilson, after his own midfielder had flicked on Matthew Morgan’s header.

The final quarter of an hour saw Westcott almost kill the game with a good strike while Felixstowe had late chances when Robbie Smythe grazed the top of the bar and Jimmy Andrews hit the outside of the post.

But for Cann and his Melford team-mates, the daydreams of playing at Portman Road are now set to become a reality, and they can’t wait.

“I have only played in two finals; one as a youngster we lost 9-0 and the other one I was lucky enough to be on the winning side in a close game,” he said. “Whitton are a class side but anything can happen in a final.”

*FOR match stats and more pictures, see this week’s paper.