Gamble paying off with Needham Market youngsters
- Credit: Archant
NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws says his Academy youngsters have been “a breath of fresh air” in the first team.
Needham have picked up nine points during an undefeated five-match run in Division One North of the Ryman League that has also seen them break their 14-match winless streak at home.
The Marketmen ended their barren league run at Bloomfields courtesy of a 2-1 win against Redbridge last Saturday, before drawing 2-2 in an eventful match at Heybridge Swifts in midweek.
Laws said: “I was delighted to finally win at home – it wasn’t a classic, but we can now breathe a sigh of relief.
“We had lost a little bit of belief that we could win at home, and our opponents were aware of that.”
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At Scraley Road on Tuesday night Needham lost Sam Newson before the game after he turned his ankle in the warm-up and then two ambulances had to be called after injuries to Academy youngsters Ryan Charles and Sam Thrower.
Fears that Charles had broken his ankle subsequently proved unfounded while Thrower, who was knocked unconscious and suffered concussion, was released from hospital in the early hours the following morning.
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Laws admitted he was left “absolutely gutted” after Newson, who was looking forwards to playing against twin brother Ben, had to drop out.
“I needed calming down before kick-off. I was going to play Sam in midfield in a 4-4-2 formation and he had bought into that.
“He was desperate to play against his brother, so I felt for him because that’s the way this season has gone for him.
“Despite the setbacks the players deserve a lot of credit – Duane Wright has been brilliant for me playing upfront, Matt Redgrave was outstanding in marking Luke Callander and Pat Bexfield and Rhys Barber did well at full back. There was a great work ethic and every individual played well.
“It was definitely the best we have played this season and we kept them out for 87 minutes, but once they got one you just knew they would score the equaliser.
“We have taken nine points from five games and it could easily have been 11, but I am delighted with the positive impact of our young Academy players.
“When we released five senior players and decided to play the youngster it was a gamble, because we didn’t want to start losing every week.
“But they have been a breath of fresh air. We have been starting with one, two or three and finishing with four or five teenagers on the pitch.”
Needham today entertain second-from-bottom Ware and Laws said left back Connor Corrick could be the latest under-18 player to be handed his debut.