Needham Market are on way to becoming Suffolk’s top non-league club - Morsley

This was Needham Market manager Mark Morsley's final league game in charge

This was Needham Market manager Mark Morsley's final league game in charge - Credit: Archant

‘We are disappointed, but not ashamed’.

Those were the words Needham Market boss Mark Morsley muttered following his side’s close shave with the Ryman Premier Division play-off places on Saturday afternoon.

The Marketmen missed out on the top five following a 2-1 home defeat to Billericay Town on a day where other results went their way, meaning finishing in the play-offs was possible – if they could have beaten their opponents 6-0!

“Unfortunately, two of the three components we needed came in, we just needed to beat Billericay by six,” laughed Morsley, who will take charge of Needham one last time when his side meet Ryman Premier rivals, Lowestoft Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup final on Monday, May 8.

“We are disappointed, but not ashamed as (this season) was another important step for us.

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“We spent most of the season in the play-offs, but have finished ninth – and they say that where you finish at the end of the season is where you deserve to be.

Morsley continued: “Our target this season was to finish 10th.

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“We wanted to become an established side at Step 3 (Needham only just survived in the division last season), which we’ve done this year and I think it’s a great legacy for Richard Wilkins (Morsley’s assistant who will be Needham’s first-team manager next season) to take on.

“I couldn’t be more proud of what the lads have done throughout the campaign and we need to look at the bigger picture.

“We’ve gone from a side fighting relegation to one nearly getting into the play-offs.

“Our our average attendance has gone up to more than 300, which is fantastic, and I think we are well on the way to being the top non-league club in Suffolk.”

After Havant & Waterloovile were crowned champions of the division, on a dramatic final day, Bognor Regis Town, Dulwich Hamlet, Enfield Town and Wingate & Finchley were the sides to finish in the play-offs.

“I hope Bognor win it (the play-offs) because they were so close to winning the league and are a really good club,” explained Morsley.

“Enfield and Dulwich Hamlet are the form teams, and I think Dulwich will win it, but what do I know!?”

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