Enfield stand between Needham Market and the Ryman Premier
NEEDHAM Market are just one match away from a place in the Ryman League Premier Division after arguably the most dramatic match in the club’s history.
The Marketmen won 4-3 after extra time at Tilbury last night in an epic Division One North play-off semi-final which fully encapsulated the agony and ecstasy of the play-offs to book a place in tomorrow’s final at Enfield Town, kick-off 3pm.
Sam Newson, who was the division’s leading scorer earlier in the season until he spent six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury, rediscovered his scoring touch which has deserted him since his return to action at the end of January.
Newson netted a hat-trick, scoring twice in extra time, in a match that lasted close to two-and-a-half hours.
Needham, who trailed to a Gary Henty goal after six minutes, equalised through a Newson penalty four minutes before the break.
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Duane Wright then put the Suffolk side ahead just seconds after coming on as a 72nd minute substitute, but Tilbury incredibly equalised when Eljay Worrell bundled home from close range in the 13th of 18 minutes of time added on mainly due to injuries.
It looked bleak for the Suffolk side when Jack West broke through to put Tilbury ahead for a second time just five minutes into the first period of extra time.
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Needham restored parity through Newson just before the sides turned around and then netted the winner after being set up by substitute Deakan Napier in the last minute of extra time with the prospect of penalties looming large.
It was a magnificent effort by Danny Laws’ side, who must now lift themselves again for tomorrow’s final at Enfield to see if they can join Leiston in next season’s Ryman Premier.
Enfield defeated Grays Athletic 3-1 on penalties after the two sides drew 2-2 after extra time in Thursday’s other play-off semi-final.
For updates of tomorrow’s final follow Nick Garnham on Twitter @Nick_Garnham
See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for a full report, pictures and reaction.