Crucial home games could seal Needham Market’s Ryman Premier play-off place

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley.

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley. - Credit: Archant

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has played down his side’s chances of winning the Ryman Premier title, ahead of a crucial five days for the Marketmen.

The Bloomfields outfit host improving Merstham tomorrow, the Kent club winning 2-1 at Leiston a week ago, before a home game with seventh-placed Enfield on Saturday.

Needham are third in the table, five points off second-top Havant & Waterlooville and a further point behind leaders Bognor Regis.

However, despite a relatively small gap, Morsley, who saw his side come from 3-1 down to win 4-3 at 10-man Tonbridge Angels at the weekend, says finishing in the play-offs is the priority now.

“If we can beat Merstham and Enfield it will give us a fantastic grounding, as that would put Enfield 15 points behind us and out of the equation probably, in terms of catching us,” said Morsley, whose side are 11 points clear of sixth-placed Leiston.

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“I think Bognor will win it, with Havant second, so there are three play-off places up for grabs.

“The next two games are at home, where we are very good, so if we can take that belief and solidity from the weekend and play in front of another good crowd, and they get behind us, there’s a chance to take six points.

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“That will give us an incredible opportunity, one we weren’t expecting at the start of the season.”

On his side’s chances of lifting the title, Morsley added: “I never ruled us in to be fair.

“Hampton & Richmond won it last season and they’re a huge club.

“The clubs that usually win it are huge. You have to look at their size and their budgets and the experience they have in the dressing room. We are on the way (to achieving that).

“For us to reach a play-off semi-final would be fantastic as Havant and Bognor are up there, while if the season was to go on for another month, then Billericay would fancy their chances and Leiston will feel they have underachieved with the experience they have.

“We have two big games ahead, but I have not known a more focused group of players. Something special is happening here.”

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