Needham Market back to winning ways thanks to Billy Holland’s double
- Credit: Archant
Looking for redemption following the Bank Holiday drubbing at Leiston, two goals from Billy Holland proved sufficient for Needham Market to complete the double over visiting Folkestone Invicta.
Looking to maintain their title challenge in this Ryman Premier League encounter at Bloomfields, Needham’s 2-1 victory was a hard-earned one against the Kent side, promoted last season as champions of Ryman South.
The visitors were unchanged following their recent win 3-1 over Burgess Hill, while the Marketmen boss Mark Morsley gave a home debut to new signing Jack Simmons from Canvey Island who, on this performance, looks to be a useful acquisition to the squad.
With leaders Bognor Regis also winning, Needham retained their second position in the table and are a point behind the Sussex side who have a game in hand.
The match was close-fought throughout but the home side made the perfect start going ahead in the first minute.
Simmons crossed from the right and the ball eluded Luke Ingram and Keiran Morphew who both missed the chance to net. However, the ball ran through to Holland who struck a powerful shot, giving visiting custodian Tim Roberts no chance.
The visitors immediately responded when Ronnie Dolan’s free kick took a deflection, but keeper Gay was well positioned.
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Moments later, Joe Taylor released Josh Vincent who rifled a decent angled strike that Gay saved at his near post. Taylor then worked an opening before unleashing an effort that again the keeper was equal to with a fine low save.
At the other end the home side squandered a great chance to extend their lead when Holland crossed from the left flank but Daryl Coakley fired wide from a good position.
With Needham having a good spell, Roberts failed to grasp a cross and the ball fell to Holland whose subsequent shot struck the post. The ball ran to Luke Ingram, following up, and he also struck the woodwork. Holland then set up Ingram who drove across Roberts but the keeper managed to palm the ball to safety.
Folkestone fought back and showed some creativity but when necessary the Marketmen defended in depth, ably marshalled by Ian Miller and Joe Whight, to take a slender half time lead. The visitors made an immediate change with Carl Rook replacing Jordan Wright, and skipper Liam Friend set up Miles Cornwell whose shot went just wide.
The home side went close when Roberts denied Simmons, cutting inside from the right and firing low, and then Morphew headed fractionally wide.
The visitors equalised in the 75th minute. After some sustained pressure, Cornwell struck a superb volley from the edge of the box that was still rising as it entered the roof of the net.
With the visitors contemplating their second away win of the season they then conceded a second when three minutes later, following a corner, Simmons shot against the bar but Holland flashed home the rebound to breathe renewed life into the Marketmen’s title challenge.
Folkestone rallied in the closing minutes and a Davies header was tipped over by Gay.
The home defence was under some pressure and in stoppage time Callum Davies fired a tremendous shot that Gay brilliantly saved.
Appeals that the ball had crossed the line, notably from the vocal visiting support, were waived away and Needham survived to acquire three more vital points.