Needham Market end their losing strike as Griffiths strikes to halt Olympic

Needham keeper Jake Jessup punches clear at Rushall Photo: BEN POOLEY

Needham keeper Jake Jessup punches clear at Rushall Photo: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

Rushall Olympic 0 Needham Market 1

Russell Short on the ball at Rushall Photo: BEN POOLEY

Russell Short on the ball at Rushall Photo: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

Jamie Griffiths’ superb free kick five minutes before the break gave the Marketmen their first victory in nine attempts, writes Paul Munn.

A standout moment in a gritty hard working performance that saw the Marketmen end their hosts six game unbeaten run.

The early exchanges gave both sides the chance to test each other’s defences from corners, with the Marketmen creating the first chance from one of them when James Baker just headed over. Rushall’s opening chance came a minute later when a long range effort from Danny O`Callaghan required a spectacular save from Jake Jessup.

The rest of the half saw both sides have plenty of possession but they struggled to create any chances of note and then five minutes before the break came an incident that proved decisive.

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A forward run by Joseph Marsden was halted 20 yards from goal by an Orrin Pendley challenge. Although a majority of the hosts thought that Pendley’s tackle on Marsden was fair the referee on the other hand never. Leaving Griffiths to place the ball, pick his spot and stroke the free-kick past the host’s defences into the bottom corner.

After the restart Rushall looked to get back into the game and had an early chance when Daniel Waldron headed over from a corner. The Marketmen on the other hand were looking to increase their lead, nearly doing so when a curling twenty yard shot from Joseph Marsden needed Matt Sargeant to make a fine save to tip it over. Adam Mills also fired one just over following a long free kick.

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Just over the hour Rushall had two back-to-back chances to equalise; firstly a Tyler Lyttle free-kick found Joe Hull in the area but the centre-half volleyed over and then an Ashley Sammons corner was headed inches over by Orrin Pendley. As the home side kept up the pressure Kieron Berry saw his shot blocked and when the ball fell to Massiah McDonald the striker`s shot was blocked for a corner.

The Marketmen dealt with the pressure and defended well throughout, this coupled with some good hold up play, including that of debutant Decarrey Sheriff, who is on loan from Colchester, gave the Marketmen the opportunity to create chances of their own. Samuel Squire was unlucky when his goal ward bound shot was blocked and then with five minutes remaining Griffiths could have doubled his tally when he just headed wide from a Marsden corner.

Two minutes into time added on Rushall had a great chance to rescue a point when a well struck Lyttle`s free-kick was brilliantly pushed on to the post by Jessup and when the rebound came back to Joe Hull he could only volley it over from close range. Thus giving the Marketmen the much needed victory to end their barren spell.

Rushall Olympic: Sargeant, Lyttle, Smikle, Smith, Hull, Pendley, Soleman, (McDonald 46) Maye, Waldron, O`Callaghan (Sammons 46) Lund (Berry 70).

Needham Market: Jessup, Morphew (D), Sturgess, Short, Morphew (K), Baker, Marsden (Kamanzi 89), Squire, Sheriff, Griffiths, Mills.

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