Gallery & report: Needham Market 2 Leiston 2
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Ten-man Needham Market and Leiston shared four goals as the Ryman Premier Suffolk derby finished 2-2 at Bloomfields yesterday.
The Blues, who were knocked off top spot as a result of the draw, took an early lead on six minutes through summer signing, Christy Finch.
However, Mark Morsley’s men, who have now drawn four and lost three from their opening seven games, drew level through Adam Mills on 12 minutes.
Billy Clark restored Richard Wilkins’ side lead three minutes later, before Mills completed the scoring, grabbing his third goal in two games, five minutes before the break.
Injuries to two Needham players meant that a younger side took on the visitors from Victory Road, and their task was made even more difficult when Joe Whight was shown a red card on 52 minutes.
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Leiston were soon into their stride and Finch got in front of the Needham defenders to touch home a Seb Dunbar cross after five minutes but goalkeeper Shaun Phillips blocked his shot, before the striker knocked the rebound wide.
It did not take Finch long to make amends though when, following a Stuart Boardley free-kick, the ball fell to the former Gorleston striker and he made no mistake in opening the scoring.
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Needham sought an immediate response and after Mills, who scored his first goal of the campaign on Saturday, charged down a clearance by Leiston goalkeeper Ashlee Jones, the ball was cleared.
However on 12 minutes, Mills was found with a right-wing cross from Kem Izzet and he made no mistake with his header.
However, Leiston were not to be denied and a few minutes later after the ball was sent into the Needham box, former Ipswich Town and Bury Town midfielder Clark showed great composure to net the Blues’ second goal.
The action continued from end to end with both sides trying to secure the points but it was to be Needham that equalised on 40 minutes when a high ball from Karl Duguid found that man Mills in the box again.
His header on goal was not dealt with by keeper Jones and bounced off the bar, Mills following up to score his second of the afternoon.
The second half continued to be played at the same pace until poor control by Whight on the edge of his box, seven minutes after the break, gave John Sands the opportunity to challenge and win the ball.
In trying to recover, ex-Ipswich Town defender Whight fouled Sands and was shown the red card.
Down to ten men, Needham re-organised with Keiran Morphew going to centre back alongside the dominant Sam Nunn, leaving Mills as the lone striker.
Leiston were now dominating large portions of the game in the Needham half but were unable to find that elusive goal.
Wilkins tried to freshen up his side using all his substitutes but little changed.
Needham’s attacks were sporadic but kept the Leiston defence on their toes and, with the help of a good crowd, they were able to withstand the assault on their goal and come away with a very creditable draw.
The result meant that Leiston dropped to second and Needham were able to climb up one place in the league.
The crowd was treated a fine spectacle and one that was well worth the admission charge.