Leiston make it a glorious festive period as Odelusi strikes brilliant winner against Needham
- Credit: Archant
Leiston 2 Needham Market 1
Leiston made it two local derby wins on the bounce as the defeated Needham Market 2-1 on a cold afternoon at the Watson & Hillhouse Victory Road Stadium, writes Craig Cooper.
The Blues, having gained a confidence boosting win against Lowestoft Town on Boxing Day, were hit with a blow before the game as strikers John Sands and Tom Debenham were absent through illness.
Manager Glen Driver decided to play central defender Siju Odelusi up front, a decision that paid off as Odelusi grabbed the winner with just ten minutes of normal time remaining.
Leiston started the match well and Odelusi set up Byron Lawrence who released Rhys Henry and he forced ex-Blues keeper Marcus Garnham into a great save to his right-hand side.
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Moments later, and Odelusi's header was going out for a goal kick but Rob Eagle kept the ball in play to cross from the left to Henry but he shot into the side netting. Joe Marsden fired wide with Needham's first effort on goal as Needham started to come back into the match.
The hosts took the lead on 36 minutes as a Noel Aitkens through ball found an unmarked Lawrence who finished well into Garnham's bottom right hand corner.
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Kyle Hammond received a yellow card a couple of minutes later as Needham pegged Leiston back in their half but the Marketmen equalised a minute before the break when Callum Sturgess' cross was met well by Joe Marsden and he headed home into Sam Donkin's top right hand corner.
Two minutes into the second half, and Hammond stopped Adam Mills well as he was through on goal.
Sam Donkin made good saves in the home goal from Mills twice while a Needham break away saw Craig Parker shoot on the edge of the box and the ball deflected wide off Lawrence. From the corner, Dan Morphew headed against the crossbar before William Hunt was denied by the legs of an inspired goalkeeping performance by Donkin.
The winning goal came in the 80th minute as a ball into the Needham Market box was brilliantly turned into the net by an over head kick from Odelusi.
Needham applied late pressure to Leiston, with players throwing themselves on the line for the Blues to block shots, and sub Luke Ingram should have levelled but somehow headed over from four yards.
Teams: Leiston: - Donkin, Hammond, Saunders, Aitkens (Johnson 61 mins), Clements, Hutchings, Lawrence, Scott, Henry (Keys 90+4 mins), Odelusi, Eagle (Kamanzi 81 mins). Sub not used: - Potter.
Needham Market: - Garnham, Dye, Sturgess, Short, Kieran Morphew, Dan Morphew, Marsden, Heath, Hunt, Parker (Ingram 81 mins), Mills. Subs not used: - Squire, Page, Baker, Shorten.