Needham Market 0 Wingate & Finchley 1 match report - Marketmen suffer first defeat of season

Needham's Keiran Morphew barks instructions. Pictures: BEN POOLEY

Needham's Keiran Morphew barks instructions. Pictures: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

Bostik Premier Needham Market 0 Wingate & Finchley 1 The North London side climbed off the bottom of the Bostik Premier table to inflict the Marketmen’s first defeat of the season, writes John Campany.

Needham stopper Danny Gay was in fine form despite their defeat

Needham stopper Danny Gay was in fine form despite their defeat - Credit: Archant

The visitors had been beaten in their two opening matches whilst the Suffolk side had gained four points from their two openers.

However, this was the most disappointing of encounters that provided little cheer to home supporters amongst the 234 spectators at Bloomfields.

Expecting to consolidate their early sixth position they rarely looked capable of threatening the visitors and had to thank Danny Gay for excellent second half saves to ensure some respectability.

The chief architects for the visitors were skipper Luke Ifil and Reece Beckles–Richards whose first half offensive play could so easily have put the game beyond Needham at half-time.

Joe Whight whips in a free kick for Needham

Joe Whight whips in a free kick for Needham - Credit: Archant

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The home side were constantly tested by crosses into the box, but the best chance came on 20 minutes when Ifil threaded the perfect ball to Beckles-Richards inside the box, but Gay, quickly off his line, smothered the effort.

The same player was then denied by Dan Morphew with a timely tackle as the visitors maintained their enterprising forward play against some resolute defending.

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Following a foul on the home side’s Jack Simmons, Joe Whight’s subsequent free kick was well saved by Shane Gore, but that apart, the Londoners largely dominated.

It was almost inevitable that the visitors would take the lead and in the 53rd minute Beckles–Richards raced clear down the right before his cross picked out Rob Laney, who slotted home.

Needham's Jack Simmons on the run

Needham's Jack Simmons on the run - Credit: Archant

Beckles–Richards then beat a pedestrian defence before shooting but Gay made a fine save and moments later Nathan Mavila tested Gay who palmed over at his near post.

Looking to ensure that the points went back to London a stunning shot by Ifil was parried away by the home keeper who then made a terrific save from Marc Charles–Smith.

The Marketmen showed late increased tempo in an attempt to salvage a point.

Keeper Gore was alert to claim a loose ball in the six yard box and then came through players to punch clear Gareth Heath’s cross, but it was all in vain.

An aerial battle at Needham

An aerial battle at Needham - Credit: Archant


Needham Market assistant manager Tom Rothery stated in his program notes “that the early games are always tough with players forming new relationships on the pitch while trying to get the match pace and intensity which is always evident in the Bostik Premier Division.”

These were prophetic words as Richard Wilkins’ side succumbed to a Wingate & Finchley team that were good value for their win and will have presented the management team with some searching questions, albeit this would hopefully have been a one-off performance.

Indeed Rothery cut a thoughtful figure at the final whistle. His honest post match assessment was clear “we lacked spark both on and off the ball. We never got going, it was a flat performance.”

He added: “We applied late pressure” but he was praiseworthy of ‘man of the match’ Danny Gay for some decent saves. He concluded “we will be better for this game.”

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