Needham Market fail to take advantage of visitors’ mammoth journey as they draw at Bloomfields
Needham Market 1 Rushall Olympic 1
The visitors arrived late following a protracted five hour journey from Walsall necessitating a 3.15pm kick off on Saturday.
Nevertheless they made light of their traffic problems to deservedly gain a point at Bloomfields in front of 283 spectators.
The game opened brightly for Richard Wilkins side but, in a disappointing second half performance, they failed to impose themselves sufficiently, particularly in the final third, to rarely threaten ‘The Pics’.
Indeed the visitors, in 16th position and three points behind ‘The Marketmen’, were well organised throughout and nobody could begrudge them their point.
Keiran Morphew was on hand to repel early attacks, and then home keeper Jake Jessup made a fine early block from Liam Truslove after Daniel Wardron had outpaced Jake Dye and crossed into the box.
At the other end, Jamie Griffiths released Luke Ingram whose shot was deflected for a corner and Gareth Heath had a powerful attempt blocked and then followed up with a header that was narrowly wide, as the ‘The Marketmen’ pressed.
Both teams were well matched playing expansive football with attacking full-backs probing with their range of passing, but generally the defences were largely in control.
However, the visitors went ahead on 26 minutes when Daniel Morphew was guilty of a clumsy challenge and, after some debate, Daniel Waldron calmly slotted home the resultant penalty.
Jessup then comfortably saved from the same player, while moments later Heath set up Griffiths whose fiercely struck shot went inches wide.
Needham deservedly equalised in the 33rd minute when a flowing six-man move culminated with Adam Mills neatly setting up Luke Ingram who rifled a low shot beyond Joseph Slinn.
The half concluded with a terrific shot from Reece Dobson following fine work from Callum Sturges, that went close.
Needham made a strong restart but ‘The Pics’ stood firm with Sam Whittall a rock in defence, ably supported by his fellow defenders.
Ashley Sammons and Whittall went close as Needham were forced back, and for them, there seemed no further penetration or focal point of attack, as much of the initiative was with the visitors, who faced another lengthy journey, but with a deserved share of the spoils.
Referee Mr Elliott Kaye.