Laws left devastated by Vase defeat

NEEDHAM Market boss Danny Laws was devastated after his side faltered at the final hurdle in their bid to play in a dream cup final at Wembley.In a tense encounter, Needham had their chances to take the tie to extra time but, as they threw men forward in the final stages, they were cruelly hit on the counter-attack in the 89th minute to spark scenes of delirium on the Lancashire side's bench.

Stuart Watson

NEEDHAM Market boss Danny Laws was devastated after his side faltered at the final hurdle in their bid to play in a dream cup final at Wembley.

In a tense encounter, Needham had their chances to take the tie to extra time but, as they threw men forward in the final stages, they were cruelly hit on the counter-attack in the 89th minute to spark scenes of delirium on the Lancashire side's bench.

A deflated Laws said: “I just want to pay tribute to our fans, I'm just sad that we weren't able to repay them with a day out at Wembley in May.

“The way I look at it is that if a team beats you in both legs they deserve to go through.

“There's nothing I can do about that now apart from give them credit. They kept us off at the end so I wish them well in the final - although I will be supporting Lowestoft.

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“They've come here with something to protect so we were always chasing the game.

“It didn't fall for us, but we didn't really get enough shots and crosses off.

“Yes we can feel a little bit unfortunate that the ball didn't quite drop in the box, but the fortune favours the brave.”

Ultimately Needham were left to rue conceding two goals in the final five minutes of the first leg of this tie.

Despite Needham controlling the possession in the first half, Kirkham enjoyed the better of the goal scoring opportunities as striker Sean Paterson fluffed a one-on-one chance and Mark Wane headed wide from an unmarked, close range position.

Needham looked far more of a threat after the break but, despite a growing number of corners and dangerous balls into the box, the ball would simply not fall for them.

When it did, the Kirkham defence were in heroic form.

A great saving tackle denied Danny Thrower while, from the resulting corner, Craig Parker saw his volley from 12 yards headed off the line.

Laws shuffled his pack on the hour mark, bringing on Glenn Snell and Nathan Szyszlyk for Jay Denniss and Thrower respectively.

It was Szyszlyk, who has so often been the hero from the bench this season for Needham, who almost provided the spark this game needed.

Playing out wide on the left, Szyszlyk constantly looked a threat and, after he had seen one effort hit the side netting, it required a wonder save from Kirkham keeper Pete Summerfield to deny him in the 88th minute.

Kirkham then broke from the ensuing corner and, with everyone pushed forward, Ritchie Allen slid the ball across for his fellow substitute Matt Walwyn to tap home as appeals for offside were turned down.

Needham's frustrations at missing out on their big day were summed up just seconds later when, straight after the restart, Snell ploughed through Tony Keefe to earn a straight red card.

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