After a long journey to Leiston on a Wednesday evening, you could not have blamed Chris Gibson
's Soham side coming out the blocks slowly, but it was far from the case as the young Greens dominated the opening forty five.
From the off, Soham forced a series of attacking plays in the Leiston half, Sterna and Phillips both going close with efforts.
earned a start from his positive performance the week before and Callum McDermott
replaced Will Holmes
who had been called into the Reserves. Even with an exceptionally young side, Soham bossed the game on and off the ball, as their movement and possession created gaps in Leiston's defence.
It was on twenty minutes when Soham took the lead; Scott Callaghan
's through ball to Phillips saw him venture into the box before flicking to Sterna, who rifled home an unstoppable volley from 12 yards to make it 1-0. Leiston found their pace after this and forced the Greens back and from a corner kick nearly equalised. A free shot on goal from 10 yards was deflected and as McDermott looked beaten, he clawed away an almost impossible save over the bar.
Within five minutes of that save, Soham crucially scored a second. Nathan McGrath found James Prewett
, who in turn squared to Harry Horton
in the centre of midfield and his threw ball saw Phillips muscle in to slide the ball under the keeper, into the far corner.
Soham could have had a third on the stroke of half time, but after Leiston couldn't clear a corner, Sterna's cross found Sean Reed
but he volley wide from eight yards.
Into the second half and Leiston came out offensively, obviously regrouping to get a grip back in the game and McDermott was required to pull off two smart saves, before flinging his legs at a ball on the line. Gibson made a tactical switch to stop Leiston overloading the midfield and his change proved correct, as Charlie Russell
making his debut quickly got his foot in the game.
First he fed Callaghan, who just drove wide and then Phillips whose shot grazed the far post. Callaghan forced a corner as pressure began to tell and from the delivery, skipper Alex Martin
rose and powered his header in for 3-0. The Greens introduced Will Crisp
and then Mason Newman
to give his attack some pace as Leiston tired, although they did get a late conciliation after Martin slipped on the edge of his own area.
As the whistle blew, the young Greens had demonstrated the perfect away performance against a very strong Leiston side.
Gibson was delighted and very pleased in the way in which his side set up and played.
"First half we set out to absorb any pressure but maintain a good attacking presence, taking our chances when presented. I wanted us to keep possession though and not give Leiston a sniff. We were solid throughout and the way we drove forward, it just proved a little too much for them I think. 'Derm' (McDermott) pulled off a stunning save at 1-0 and then equally important saves at 2-0 and the three to keep our heads on the job. As we closed at the time, it was a stupid goal to give away - but effectively that was game over anyway. Tyler (Phillips) gave them a handful up top tonight and Luke (Sterna) was tricky as you like! I am pleased the manner in which we took on the game and how we acted throughout."
C. McDermott, N. McGrath, A. Martin (C), S. Clayton, S. Reed, S. Callaghan (W. Crisp), H. Horton, J. Prewett, J. Zammer (C. Russell), T. Phillps (M. Newman), L. Sterna
: J. Free, D. Cowley
Man of the Match
: Callum McDermott