Keeper is match-winner at both ends of the pitch

GOALKEEPER Andrew Plummer was Needham Market’s match-winner at both ends of the pitch after scoring an injury-time equaliser and then saving two penalties in their League Cup win at Concord Rangers.

Needham were trailing 3-2 in the time added in the Alan Boon Cup on when Plummer headed home at the far post from Jose Espinosa’s right-wing cross to send the tie to penalties – there is no extra time in the competition – and then saved two spot kicks for good measure as the Suffolk side went through.

Plummer, who joined the Marketmen in the summer after spending three years playing in the Irish League, recalled: “There were four minutes of time added on and we were in the last minute.

“We had a corner a minute before and I had gone to the half-way line but didn’t take the plunge to go all the way, but as soon as the free kick was given I went up of my own accord, although Danny Laws (Needham’s manager) was shouting for me to go up as well.

“Before the ball came across I was thinking I had created a bit of space for myself – I was outside the six-yard box – and it came naturally to me as I headed it. I saw the keeper dive and I thought he was going to save it, but it went in.”

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After Concord scored their first penalty in the shoot-out that followed, the second went over the bar, before Plummer then saved the next two to seal a 3-1 victory and send Needham through to the third round and a home tie against Brentwood Town.

“It was the sort of stuff you dream about. It was a great night,” added the 22-year-old goalkeeper, who used to play in goal and on pitch as a midfielder or striker for Stow Youth.

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He joined Ipswich Town as a 12-year-old, signed a two-year apprenticeship at 16 and played for both the youth team and reserves before being released.

Plummer then opted to try his luck playing in Northern Ireland, first for Bangor and then Glenavon. He originally signed for Bangor on a one-year deal, but after six months switched clubs and spent two-and-a-half years at Glenavon.

Plummer said: “My contract was up and I had the chance to stay there, but I was not really enjoying my football and I looked at the bigger picture and decided to come home because I wanted to get an education and play over here.

“I spoke to several clubs but Needham was the one club who were especially keen on me and I haven’t regretted it,” said Plummer, who started a three-year sports & exercise science degree in September at UCS in Ipswich.

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