Needham Market have the edge over AFC Sudbury in Suffolk Premier Cup
- Credit: Mecha Morton
Needham Market bounced back from their FA Trophy disappointment with a pleasing 1-0 win over local rivals AFC Sudbury in the Suffolk Premier Cup on Tuesday night.
The Marketmen saw their 10-match unbeaten run come to an end after losing 2-1 to Harrow Borough in the Trophy on Saturday.
But Mark Morsley’s men returned to winning ways with a hard-fought victory against their Suffolk rivals to progress to the semi-finals.
Both sides made three changes to their line-ups from the weekend, with hosts Needham handing a start to back up goalkeeper James Bradbrook.
And the young shot-stopper was called into action straight away, keeping out a shot from Craig Parker which looked to be heading for the corner before the goalkeeper’s vital intervention.
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The Marketmen were lining up with a three man defence as part of a 3-4-3 formation, but struggled early on to contain AFC’s lone striker Luke Callander, who should have done better with his header from Rob Eagle’s cross.
The miss would prove to be decisive as, on 12 minutes, the deadlock was broken at the other end. Manny Osei’s cross from the left looked to be heading out of play, but Callum Harrison kept the loose ball in.
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The Colchester United loanee’s delivery found Reece Dobson in the box, and the Needham frontman showed great composure to create space and fire past Marcus Garnham in the Sudbury goal.
Garnham came to the rescue for the visitors on several occasions during the rest of the first half, keeping out efforts from Osei and Dobson.
AFC could have gone in level had Jordan Blackwell’s strike not drawn an excellent save from Bradbrook.
The half ended on a sour note with Darryl Coakley’s tackle on Blackwell prompting a yellow card, but the Sudbury bench were adamant it was the wrong card given.
The visitors were much improved in the second half and came close on a number of occasions to equalising.
James Baker volleyed narrowly wide from a Jack Wilkinson cross, Parker headed an inviting chance into the hands of Bradbrook, and Rob Eagle’s shot came agonisingly back off the crossbar.
Bradbrook put in a fine performance in the second half to preserve the home side’s lead, his most impressive save palming away Parker’s header.