Needham Market held at home by Met Police
Another point and another step closer to safety, that was the message coming out of Bloomfields on Saturday as Jordan Patrick came off the bench to secure Needham Market a share of the spoils against Metropolitan Police.
The Marketmen’s first season in the Ryman League Premier Division has certainly had its fair share of twists and turns, and as they head into their final 12 league games of the season, survival is still very much in their own hands.
Needham went into the weekend’s clash with the Met having drawn their last two games 0-0, but a third stalemate did not look likely as the Suffolk side dominated the early stages and created a flurry of chances to break the deadlock.
Michael Brothers latched onto a loose kick up field by Oliver Pain on seven minutes, but the visiting goalkeeper reacted quickly to grab onto the Marketmen’s top goalscorer’s effort at an inviting net.
The hosts threatened an early breakthrough again just two minutes later when Sam Nunn’s header was cleared short of the line, before Luke Ingram capitalised on a slip by Met defender Rob Bartley and charged towards goal in the 15th minute.
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However, Ingram could not add to his five-goal tally this season as he fired wildly over, with Bartley inadvertently coming closer to a breakthrough for the hosts when he sent Joe Whight’s corner on to his own crossbar on 17 minutes.
The Marketmen’s bright start then faded as chances started to dry up, but at the other end the Met finished off the first-half on the front foot, with an excellent double save from Needham’s Danny Gay ensuring the teams went in level at the break.
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The Met continued where they left off and took the lead just seven minutes into the second-half, as Billy Crook’s shot sneaked under the dive of Gay to put them in front.
Needham were hanging on as Will Salmon and Joe Turner both spurned chances to double the Met’s advantage, before the introduction of Patrick and a change in formation turned the game around for Mark Morsley’s side.
The switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 immediately paid dividends as the Marketmen began to threaten the Met goal, with Brothers having two chances to equalise.
Morsley’s men finally found a breakthrough on 73 minutes, as Ingram’s shot was parried by Pain into the path of Patrick, who tucked away the loose ball to get Needham back on level terms.
Patrick’s goal set up an exciting conclusion at Bloomfields as, after looking like they were going to finish pointless, the Marketmen were now searching for all three points to hand their survival hopes a much-needed boost.
Ingram’s cross on 81 minutes found Patrick in a similar position again, but this time the substitute could only fire wide of the far post.
It would be prove to be Needham’s last chance as the match finished level and the Marketmen shared the points for a third consecutive game.