Needham Market grab a point at Tooting and will feel they could have picked up more

Ryan Gibbs battles through the heavy rain to create a Needham chance at Tooting

Ryan Gibbs battles through the heavy rain to create a Needham chance at Tooting - Credit: Archant

Tooting & Mitcham 1 Needham Market 1

Needham Market made their first ever trip to Imperial Fields on Saturday to take on newly-promoted Tooting & Mitcham.

In an entertaining match which finished 1-1, the hosts will feel aggrieved not to have picked up their first three points of the campaign having been on the front foot for a lot of the first half, however Needham’s rally in the second half was to be commended.

Those in attendance didn’t have to wait long for the first goal of the game as it arrived in just the second minute through centre-half Sam Nunn. Joe Whight’s in-swinging corner found an un-marked Nunn who headed beyond goalkeeper Joe Tupper and into the bottom corner.

Despite taking this early lead, it was Tooting who continued to play on the front foot and looked threatening when going forward. Needham goalkeeper Danny Gay picked up a knock in the pre-match warm-up but played through the pain barrier in the first half.

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He made several crucial saves to keep the hosts at bay. With 24 minutes on the clock he parried Billy Dunn’s strike, before denying Danny Bassett just moments later.

Needham’s defence was very much under threat, as the hosts searched for an equaliser from numerous corners.

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It was of little surprise when The Terrors deservedly equalised in additional time in the first half. From yet another corner, Eddie Dines prodded home from close-range to ensure the sides were level at the break.

The earlier injury meant Gay was unable to continue and he was replaced by Nathan Munson. The second half began with thunder and lighting, with heavy showers thrown in for good measure.

It was very much end-to-end, with neither side appearing to be pleased with a point. Ryan Gibbs came close for Needham when he struck the woodwork from inside the penalty area.

The hosts’ forward Omar Folkes saw his shot deflected wide for a corner but clear cut chances were proving elusive.

Needham should have benefitted from their second half dominance as in the fifth minute of injury time but substitute Kieron Turner saw his shot blocked on the line.

Losing custodian Danny Gay was a huge blow and the result was probably about right. The Marketmen manager Richard Wilkins was pleased with the solidness of Nunn and Joe Whight at the heart of the defence and overall felt the draw was about right.

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