Gallery and report: Needham Market 2 Soham Town Rangers 0

Sam Newson scores for Needham Market

Sam Newson scores for Needham Market - Credit: Su Anderson

A double strike from Sam Newson was enough to secure all three points for league leaders Needham Market as their quest for promotion kept on track at Bloomfields on Saturday.

The home striker scored one beauty and one tap-in as the Marketmen kept Soham Town at bay in what was a well-disciplined performance.

Newson struck after just seven minutes, latching onto Michael Brothers’ clever flick.

Without breaking stride Newson volleyed home superbly from 12 yards to give the home side just the start they would have been dreaming of.

And a minute before the break Newson got a second, bundling home Luke Ingram’s corner.

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The timing of the second goal could not have been better – and it left the visitors with a near-impossible task of taking anything from a game they always competed well in, but never looked like winning.

For Needham however, the finish line is getting tantalisingly close.

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In what has been for some time a two-horse race for the Ryman North title – and promotion to the Ryman Premier League – between themselves and Harlow Town, Needham are two points ahead of Harlow and have their game in hand tomorrow night at Brentwood Town.

Win that and the lead is five points over the Essex side, with both having just eight games to play – Harlow still having to visit Bloomfields.

On Saturday Needham were very competent.

Kem Izzet ran the game from minute one, with Ollie Fenn and Joe Whight solid at the back.

Ian Westlake was his usual all-action self, while there was lots of good work from full-backs Oliver Brown and Darryl Coakley.

Needham are not going to have a better chance of promotion than this season.

Westlake was in the action early on, winning a third minute corner, before Oliver Brown and Brothers combined to set-up Newson to fire home Needham’s opener.

Brothers and Newson both had shots saved by Soham ‘keeper Tom Warren, before Brothers felt he should have had a penalty after Kujo Ofori-Gyasi and he clashed going for a cross from Ingram.

Newson could have made it two when, one-on-one with Warren, despite the tight angle. And Warren was the Soham saviour a few minute’s later, saving Keiran Morphew’s bullet header from a Ingram corner.

Just when it looked like all the possession would only result in a one-goal half-time lead for the home side, Newson struck on the stroke of the break to give them the two-goal cushion their play deserved.

Despite starting the second half sloppily, with Shaun Phillips in the home goal spilling a couple of balls and Fenn clearing off the line after he and Phillips got in a pickle, the game returned to normal, with Mark Morsley’s side on top.

Westlake had a blatant penalty appeal waved away by referee Steel, who incredibly saw nothing in Alex Luque’s foul, before Newson almost grabbed his hat-trick, latching onto Ofori-Gyasi’s weak back pass, but toe-poking straight at Warren.

Brothers hit the bar with a header and while Soham kept Needham honest throughout, this result was never in doubt from the moment Newson vollied the first goal home.

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