Bury Town Under-18s will face Dagenham and Redbridge in the FA Youth Cup first round after beating Long Melford on penalties.
Goalkeeper Jake Hayhoe saved the crucial spot-kick and then converted his own to send the Blues through to a meeting with the youth team of the Football League Daggers at Ram Meadow on Monday (7.45pm).
Youth-team manager Richard Wilkins, whose side predominantly features 16-year-olds, said: “We have some very good first years coming through and there will be a few names on the teamsheet on Monday that fans will see in the first team’s starting XI in years to come.”
Bury, mainly made up of West Suffolk College sports academy players, started in positive fashion and should have been 2-0 up with only five minutes gone on the clock, with Joffy Anselmi twice missing from close range.
With more opportunities going begging from the visiting Blues at Melford’s Stoneylands ground, the hosts started to believe it might be their night and took the lead through Richie Abbot.
Bury eventually drew level when Tanner Call finished calmly, but it looked as through Melford — who were down to 10 men through injuries for the last 25 minutes of normal time and all of extra-time — had booked their place in round one when Harry Liskus struck in the additional 30 minutes.
Bury continued to miss chances, with Alfie Bedingham and Charlie Reed going agonisingly close, but Dion Dozzell drew the Blues level from close range after some great skill by Bedingham on the left-hand side, sending the match to penalties.
The score was locked at 8-8 on spot-kicks when Hayhoe saved the final Melford penalty and then found the target to fire Bury through to their meeting with Dagenham.
Wilkins added: “As a coaching team, we were disappointed with the performance against Long Melford, but we did have seven players missing from the previous two rounds through injury and Suffolk call-ups.”
In the Eastern Junior Alliance on Sunday, Bury’s under-18s came from 2-0 down to defeat Braintree Town Under-18s 6-2.
The comeback began when Jed Wigley was fouled in the box and Ryan Jolland made no mistake from the penalty spot and five goals followed after the interval.
Alfie Bedingham’s volley levelled matters up before Wigley put the Suffolk side in front for the first time with a left-footed strike into the top corner.
Charlie Read added a brace and Mason Grieg completed the scoring.
Brandon Lasses Under-13s drew 1-1 at Firside, with Jasmine Lopez, Ellie Gookey, Georgia Reardon, Abbie Clarke, Ellie Hales, Alsiha Spurling, Faye Rumsey, Rosie Ramos, Beth Peacock, Lene Winstone, Olivia Skikunas and Lauren Standard performing well.
n Needham Market players scored three of Suffolk Under-18s’ goals as they swept aside Berks and Bucks at Bury Town’s Ram Meadow ground on Saturday.
The Marketmen’s Sam Thrower bagged a brace and Ace Howell got one, while clubmates Jon Carver and Brendon Heath and Bury Town’s Alfie Couldron and Tevan Allen were also involved in the 6-1 success for Suffolk.
Needham’s Jordan Dye was an unused substitute.