Needham Market disappointed with just one point from Staines Town clash
- Credit: citizenside.com
It was perhaps disappointing that the Marketmen could only muster a point from visiting Staines Town.
But the result needs to be put into some perspective in that Mark Morsley’s side retained their second spot in the Ryman Premier Division a point behind leaders Bognor Regis, whom they visit tomorrow night.
It must also be borne in mind that the Suffolk side is experiencing a resurgence this season as genuine title contenders in contrast to last season’s great escape from relegation.
Their previous seven matches have seen 16 points accrued enabling them to strengthen their play-off credentials that in probability is their primary realistic objective in the weeks ahead.
On a bitterly cold but sunny afternoon proceedings commenced on a sombre note with a minutes silence impeccably observed following the passing of goalkeeper Danny Gay’s father, who sadly died Saturday morning.
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There were three changes from the side that beat Folkestone Invicta last week with Samuel Nunn and Callum Harrison promoted from the bench and James Bradbrook deputising in goal.
The Needham side arguably has no outstanding players unlike some of the sides well placed around them but what they may lack in genuine quality is more than compensated through tenacity and resilience that combined with good organisation again typified their performance.
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The first chance fell to Luke Ingram taking advantage of Billy Holland’s penetrative pass but sliced wide from a good position.
The visitors’ first corner saw Bradbrook partially punch clear but Wasah Ahmidi’s resultant effort was cleared off the line by Nunn and at the other end a brilliant diagonal ball found Jack Simmons on the right who cutting inside drove that Jack Turner comfortably saved low down.
At this point there was little between the sides in a game that produced plenty of honest endeavour and some decent football to warm the crowd.
A poor clearance by Turner presented a gilt-edged chance to Ingram inside the box but the keeper atoned with an outstretched foot.
However the keeper was beaten on 37 minutes when Joe Whight’s free kick on the wide right was beautifully crossed into the box eluding defenders and culminating in Samuel Nunn ghosting in at the far post to steer the ball home.
For the visitors both Wadah Ahidi and Laurent Hamici presented challenging moments in the final third but stout defending ensured that Needham had maintained their advantage at the break.
Staines went close when Adrian Clifton released the impressive Max Worsfold whose cross struck the woodwork and moments later the same player dispatched a free kick that again found the woodwork.
Play was then held up for 17 minutes following an injury to referee Paul Burnham whilst a qualified official was sought from the crowd.
This resulted in the senior assistant Richard Pace taking control in the middle and his cameo appearance produced four yellow cards and some confusion.
Staines went close again when Ahmidi created the chance for Clifton but Bradbrook narrowed the angle and the opportunity went wide.
The visitors deservedly drew level in the 75th minute albeit a poor goal to concede. Skipper Tommy Brewer found some width and fired a decent attempt across goal that crept in off the far post.
Ingram then had the chance to secure the points forcing him self into the box jinking pass the last defender but striking against the post when the winner looked inevitable.
The closing minutes saw Needham defend with great determination but in the final seconds Keiran Morphew almost snatched the points from close in.