Former Colchester United stalwart Kem Izzet loving life in non-league and thinks Needham Market are on right path for Ryman North promotion

Kem Izzet flys into a tackle against Cambridge United for Needham Market

Kem Izzet flys into a tackle against Cambridge United for Needham Market - Credit: James Ager

Needham Market captain and playmaker Kem Izzet is relishing his time at the club, and thinks the Marketmen are on the right path for promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division.

After Thursday’s excellent 2-1 away win over fellow promotion hopefuls VCD Athletic, Needham moved up to sixth in the Ryman North, just one position off a play-off place.

That sealed Needham’s fourth league victory in a row, following manager Mark Morsley’s call to get more points on the board.

“Thursday was a good result and I thought it was a fully deserved one,” said Izzet, who has virtually been an ever-present in Morsley’s midfield this season following his release from Colchester United in the summer.

“We started off slowly but pressed them further up the pitch in the second half and we grew stronger and stronger into the game.”

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Needham started with former Ipswich Town midfielder Ian Westlake as the main striker at VCD, but after a switch around in the second period, new signing Ryan Crisp came off the bench to score two goals and sink VCD on their own patch.

“Crispy has been great, and it’s good to see him back,” added Izzet.

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“Along with Sam Newson, he’s a natural goalscorer and gets in the all the right positions for us.”

Looking ahead to the bigger picture, Needham are now level on points with Suffolk rivals AFC Sudbury, who, with a greater goal difference, sit in the final play-off place before today’s fixtures kick-off.

Needham are hot on the heels of Sudbury though, as Izzet explained: “We’re getting there now, we’ve hit a decent bit of form just at the right time.

“Our legs might be a little tired after all these games but we’ve just won four huge games in a row against Dereham (1-0), Brentwood (3-1), Heybridge (2-1) and VCD (2-1).

“And in two of those we’ve come back from 1-0 down so it shows the strength of character we have at the club.

“We’ve got to carry that momentum on now for the rest of the season.”

Needham host Thurrock today in another big battle at the top of the league, and ex-U’s favourite Izzet, who made over 400 league appearances in a 12-and-a-half year stay at the north Essex club, is enjoying life further down the footballing pyramid.

“I’m really enjoying it here,” declared the 33-year-old.

“We try to play the right way and get the ball down, it’s very encouraging.

“Of course it’s different to what I had at Colchester, but I’m at a different stage of my career now.

“I was very fortunate to have such a long career in the pro game and am still playing at a decent standard now, where I want to help the club as much as possible.”

Depending how rivals Sudbury and Dereham Town get on, a win for Needham today could see the Marketmen leapfrog the Yellows and the Magpies into fourth position in the Ryman North, as things continue to heat up.

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