Needham Market maintain solid form in Ryman Premier with Worthing win

Needham goalscorers Billy Holland and John Sands

Needham goalscorers Billy Holland and John Sands - Credit: Archant

Needham Market maintained third position in the Ryman Premier Division with this, their fourth consecutive league win.

It took a late goal from Billy Holland to settle the issue when both sides looked set to earn a point.

The visitors looked the better side in the first half but the second period saw crucial substitutions that gave the hosts a better balance and ultimately the points.

The Marketmen made the perfect start and took the lead in the fifth minute.

Darryl Coakley played a fine, high 40-yard diagonal ball from the left into the path of John Sands who coolly slotted the ball home beyond keeper Rikki Banks.

Moments later Jake Dye sent Sands on his way but this time his shot was blocked.

Both sides were looking to play good football but the visitors were marginally more decisive and cohesive, moving the ball with more pace, and presenting the greater threat to the home defence.

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A Jack Cook free-kick for Worthing caused confusion and was scrambled away, and when the ball returned to the Worthing player, he fluffed his lines in front of goal.

The visitors’ top scorer Omar Bugiel then showed some individual skill before releasing Harvey Sparks whose driven shot was saved by Danny Gay.

Then a timely tackle by Dye denied Lloyd Dawes, before Sparks sent an effort just wide of the goalkeeper’s far post.

With half-time approaching, Bugiel sent Cook through but Gay brilliantly blocked and then Sparks drilled a powerful attempt from distance fractionally wide.

At the restart Needham introduced Max Booth and Michael Brothers to freshen up their play and early on Luke Ingram had a chance to double Needham’s lead but his half-volley went over.

The visitors went searching for the equaliser and increased their possession but the home side nullified their threat, while the influential Bugiel was finding less space to operate.

However the visitors deservedly drew level on 67 minutes.

Poor play from the home side gave Worthing the ball and Lloyd Dawes moved forward before steering the ball past the helpless Gay. Needham were operating largely on the counter attack now but again, through good defending, little chances were created.

However Morsley’s side’s fortunes changed in the 84th minute.

Another deep free kick from the left picked out Ingram whose header fell to Holland to unleash a powerful volley past Banks.

It was hardly a vintage performance from the Marketmen but a result that maintains their lofty position in a strong and competitive league.

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