Needham Market’s frustrating season continues with home draw and a red card
- Credit: Archant
Needham Market 1 Alvechurch 1
Needham Market were held to a frustrating draw, at home to Alvechurch, which summed up the Marketmen's overall start to the campaign with too many points dropped, especially at Bloomfields.
Richard Wilkins' men, despite being the stronger team in most matches, have now only won only one of their six home league fixtures, with two defeats and three draws.
As a result, the Suffolk side are down in 16th position, in the Southern League Premier Central, going into Tuesday night's Suffolk derby away at Lowestoft Town.
Needham were by far the better team throughout and went close on eight minutes. The hosts found Joe Neal at the near post from a corner, but his shot was cleared off the goal-line.
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Ten minutes later and the Marketmen thought they had broken the deadlock. James Baker headed home a free-kick, only for the effort to be disallowed for a foul. The hosts were also unlucky not to score on 21 minutes. Gareth Heath hit a powerful low strike at goal but Joe Marsden could not get out of the way as the ball deflected behind off the winger.
That ensured the first half ended goalless.
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The second half was more of the same, with the home side hitting the woodwork just two minutes after the break. Neal's close-range shot beat the keeper, but not the outside of the post, with the offside flag up regardless.
Needham did get their reward on 53 minutes. Marsden's great free-kick was arrowed into the bottom right corner to give the Suffolk side a 1-0 lead.
However, Alvechurch struck against the run of play to net the equaliser, 15 minutes from time. Botfield advanced with possession upfield and, in acres of space, cracked in a shot that proved just too much for Marcus Garnham, who could only parry the ball into the roof of the net.
Two minutes later, Needham almost had the perfect response. Callum Sturgess' cross found Neal to flick on for Marsden, who smashed just wide of the far post.
Needham were then reduced to 10 men with six minutes to play when Baker was shown a second yellow for retaliation.
NEEDHAM MARKET: Garnham, Dye, D Morphew, Squire, K Morphew, Baker, Ingram, Heath, Neal (sub Parker, 80), Marsden, Sturgess. Unused subs: Page, Godward, Munson.