Needham gunning for three wins on the bounce

Needham Market players, celebrating a goal against St Ives in December, are hoping to make it three

Needham Market players, celebrating a goal against St Ives in December, are hoping to make it three wins in a row today. Picture: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

Under-performing Needham Market have struggled to string a run of victories together all season, hence their position in the lower half of the table, but there are signs that the tide has finally turned at Bloomfields.

The Marketmen, fresh from excellent away wins at bottom club Redditch United (3-0 last Saturday) and at AFC Rushden & Diamonds (2-1 on Tuesday night) have a chance to complete a hat-trick of victories when they entertain 10th-placed Hednesford Town this afternoon.

Most of Needham's problems have been at home, and manager Richard Wilkins is keen to rectify this as he aims to guide his team into the top 10 of the Southern League Premier Central.

The Suffolk side have won half of their away fixtures, with six wins from 12 starts on the road. In fact, only four teams have won more away games all season - Bromsgrove Sporting, Tamworth, Coalville and Stourbridge.

But at Bloomfields, the Marketmen have won just three league games, the fourth poorest home record in the division.

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"Something is not quite right there, in that way we are the fifth best team away, and yet have the fourth or fifth worst home record," rued manager Wilkins.

"We need to sort this out, because many teams have had success with smash-and-grab tactics. But it makes a change to be going for a third win in a row, and we should take confidence from the last two performances.

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"Redditch are struggling. We knew that we should be going there and winning, but you still have to do it. After the first 10 minutes I thought we were excellent, and most of our goals featured five or six passes, so that was very pleasing. We hit the post three times as well, so we could have won by five or six.

"Rushden were the form team, but we thoroughly deserved our win. Although Joe Marsden's winner was straight from a corner, we had two or three other very good chances," said Wilkins.

Needham's recent success has been achieved despite the absence of six players in keeper Marcus Garnham (calf), striker Luke Ingram (hamstring), midfielders Sam Squire (broken hand), Russell Short (knee) and Gareth Heath (dead leg), plus the experienced James Baker. The versatile Baker is the only one of these six who might return from injury today.

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