Below-par Needham Market share the spoils with Halesowen
- Credit: Archant
This was a disappointing performance from the Marketmen in front of 305 spectators at Bloomfields against a West Midlands side, 21st in the table, and seeking to avoid relegation, writes John Campany.
The visitors were worthy of their point with a lively first half display often looking the more positive side, but shared in an indifferent second period where the football was often poor and at best mediocre, but exacerbated by the windy conditions.
Following the excellent showing at leaders Kettering last Saturday, losing to a 94th-minute winner, there was much anticipation as Richard Wilkins team, that included new signing Russell Short, sought to take closer order to the play-off positions.
In reality, such aspirations looked a distant dream on this showing, unless a sustained improvement can be achieved, but it must also to be borne in mind that, Wilkins side is more than punching its weight in a highly competitive league.
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No better illustration than this game, where struggling Halesowen were, on balance the better equipped side, appreciated by their vociferous supporters.
Needham started well with Adam Mills powering a volley saved by keeper Daniel Platt, but in response the Yetz took the lead in the 12th minute. Andre Wright did well to keep control before crossing to the far post where Matthias Curley headed home at the far post.
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The three visiting front runners Daniel Sweeny, Aaron Gilpin and Wright caused problems with there pace and Jake Jessup was called into action producing two point-blank saves from Gilpin.
However, Needham drew level on 20 minutes when a slick move was interrupted with a foul on Luke Ingram and the dependable Joe Marsden slotted home the equaliser from the ensuing spot kick.
There was an element of disquiet expressed from the Needham faithful in the second half through lack of quality, attacking support and the inability to work Platt in The Yetz goal
Wilkins substitutions provided hope particularly the introduction of playmaker Samuel Squires who added some much needed inventiveness, but insufficient to influence those around him to snatch victory.
For the visitors, Lee Hughes the ex West Bromwich Albion cult hero was summoned from the bench, but the home defence at least showed stability to ensure the shared points, albeit a late scare saw Jack Kelly’s shot saved by Jessup’s outstretched foot.
Referee Mr Aaron Farmer.