McCarthy hails Walsham after welcoming Ipswich to the village

FULLY COMMITTED: Shaun Thorrold toughs it out with Ipswich Town star Michael Chopra
FULLY COMMITTED: Shaun Thorrold toughs it out with Ipswich Town star Michael Chopra
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Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy praised Walsham-le-Willows after the village club put on a great show when welcoming the Tractor Boys.

A record crowd of 745 packed into Summer Road for the Suffolk Premier Cup first round tie on Tuesday night, with Ipswich fielding a side packed with Premier League and Championship experience.

Young midfielder Luke Hyam scored twice, while Jason Scotland, Michael Chopra and Ronan Murray were also on target, but the biggest cheer of the night went to Jack Brame, who netted a consolation with almost the final kick of the match.

“The players needed to play and it was nice to come down and get a big crowd for Walsham,” said McCarthy.

“It’s been great, they treated everyone really well and there were no silly tackles so I’m very pleased.”

Walsham were the better of the two sides in the early stages with Shaun Thorrold twice shooting for goal, but Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Chopra were denied by Duncan McAnally before ex-Newcastle United and Sunderland striker Chopra pulled the ball back for Hyam to emphatically open the scoring.

The Willows responded with Paul Musgrove’s 30-yard free-kick being clawed away by Scott Loach and Brame putting the home team’s best chance wide as they looked to respond before the break.

However, after the interval, fitness told as Scotland slid home a second and Hyam drilled a 30-yard rocket into the roof of the net, while McAnally also denied Chopra twice and Andy Drury.

Inside the final 10 minutes, Emmanuel-Thomas released Chopra to make it 4-0 before Murray rounded McAnally to add a fifth.

Walsham rallied in the closing stages, forcing four corners, the last of which yielded a goal as Town failed to clear and Brame rifled the loose ball high into the net.

“I’ll be talking about that goal for a while to come,” said winger Brame.

Meanwhile, Walsham boss Paul Smith was full of praise for his players.

He said: “I’ve been here 12 years and seen the club grow — being part of this with all the boys and Mike (Powles) the chairman is fantastic.”

The only sour note for Walsham was that veteran ex-Ipswich player Gavin Johnson was ruled out with a knee problem.

He was not able to watch the game either as a last-minute hospital appointment allowed him to have a scan on his injury.

walsham chairman mike powles said: “It was unbelievable to see the amount of people here and our performance was good as well — to hold them for 30 minutes before they scored was good. The volume of people we had and having a professional club here makes everything very special. If we got 10 or 15 people come back occasionally it would be great.”