Big non-league round-up: Southern League, Isthmian League and all the other local action
- Credit: Archant
League leaders NEEDHAM MARKET extended their unbeaten record with a deserved 1-1 draw at Banbury United in the Southern League Premier Central over the weekend.
It was a mixture of rain and sunshine in Oxfordshire, and it was a mixed bag from both teams with the Marketmen securing a point through substitute Luke Ingram’s late equaliser.
Ingram steered home at the far post from fellow substitute Joe Marsden’s fine delivery.
Centre-half Kelvin Langmead had headed Banbury into a 77th minute lead, from a corner, only for Ingram to hit the target just six minutes later.
Needham have now taken 11 points from their first five league fixtures, with three wins and two draws.
Banbury made the early running, but without ever really threatening Marcus Garnham’s goal during the first half.
In fact, Callum Page had the game’s first chance, dragging a shot wide from a central position on 11 minutes.
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A minute later and Needham came the closest to a first-half goal. Billy Hunt’s well-struck 20-yard shot almost deceived keeper Jack Harding, the ball bouncing off his head as he dived to his right to block. The ensuing corner led to a goalmouth scramble, but no clear-cut chance.
On 23 minutes, midfielder Byron Lawrence let fly from 25 yards was a shot that Harding gratefully smothered as the Marketmen began to have some joy as an attacking force.
At the other end, Garnham safely gathered a low cross-cum-shot by danger-man Amer Awadh, while James Constable was just a whisker away from diverting home a cross with a diving header in the 28th minute.
A minute before the break, the visitors threatened via a strong run down the left by Callum Sturgess. The ball found its way to Gareth Heath at the far post, and he in turn teed up Hunt, who rather scuffed his shot from just 10 yards out.
Ingram was introduced as a substitute early in the second half, and within 60 seconds he had ballooned a speculative long-rage shot over the bar.
Banbury had more pressure in the second-half, but another Needam substitute looked to make a quick impact when Marsden lashed a rising shot across the face of goal and wide in the 72nd minute.
But it was Banbury who took the lead, defender Langmead climbing high to firmly head home a 77th minute corner. There were plenty of bodies on the goal-line, but no one was able to prevent the ball from ending up in the back of the net.
However, Needham grabbed the equaliser in the 83rd minute thanks to substitute Ingram’s finish at the far post.
Banbury tried to regain their lead quickly and it needed a superb last ditch header from Dan Morphew to deny Awadh, who was homing in on goal.
At the other end, Needham were desperately close to taking the lwad themselves in the 85th minute. Marsden’s superb angled shot cannoned back off the bar.
BANBURY: Harding, Brown, Langmead, Roberts, Rasulo, Westbrook, Constable (sub Johnson, 46), Awadh, Haysham (sub Landers, 59), Henshall (sub Morrison, 75), Finch. Unused subs: Heap, Endall.
NEEDHAM: Garnham, Dye, Sturgess Lawrence, Pollard, D Morphew, Page, Heath, Hunt (sub Marsden, 69), Collard (sub Ingram, 55), Fowkes.
Elsewhere in the Southern League Premier Central, a big crowd of 523 were at Top Field to see hosts Hitchin Town recover from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against LEISTON.
The hosts had good early chances, Callum Stead being denied on a one-on-one situation with keeper Sam Donkin in the sixth minute.
Donkin also saved well from Alex Marsh, on another one-on-one following Stead’s through ball.
But it was Leiston who began to settle better and they were deservedly 1-0 up at half-time.
It was Will Davies, in fine form this season, who broke the deadlock by finishing well from a narrow angle.
The Suffolk side doubled their lead in the 75th minute, after home player Ben Walster had lost possession and handed Davies a chance.
Davies’ shot crawled under keeper Tiernan Parker, so notching his eighth goal of the season.
Hitchin halved the deficit just two minutes later with Layne Eadie converting a penalty.
And the home side snatched a point on 88 minutes, Lawrie Marsh powerering in a header from a corner taken by his twin brother Alex.
In the Isthmian League North, AFC SUDBURY staged a fine second-half recovery to draw 2-2 at Basildon United.
Tyrone Baker gave Basildon a 12th minute lead, and although AFC Sudbury had their chances to level, they found themselves 2-0 down at the interval as Luca Collins conceded a 44th minute penalty, wit Sonny Dutton converting.
However, Mark Morsley’s men came storming back in the second period.
Daniel Collinge halved the deficit with a towering header on 51 minutes, before Marley Andrews bagged the equaliser in the 63rd minute.
The Suffolk side had plenty of chances to take all three points. Ben Hunter hit the post, while substitute Ethan Mayhew was denied by a late save, in front of a crowd of 145.
In-form BURY TOWN warmed up for their FA Cup tie against Nuneaton Borough on Tuesday evening with a hard-fought 1-0 home victory over Dereham Town.
Cemal Ramadan has been scoring goals for fun this term, and he came up trumps with the only goal of the game in the 55th minute.
Dereham finished the game with 10 men following Dion Fray’s 94th minute dismissal.
It was yet another all-ticket crowd of 400 at Ram Meadow, and all tickets have already been sold for next week’s FA Cup tie.
Also in Isthmian League North, FELIXSTOWE & WALTON UNITED suffered their first league defeat of the season, going down 3-0 at Maldon & Tiptree.
A crowd of 224 were at Park Drive to see Adam Vyse poach a hat-trick for the dominant Jammers.
Vyse’s hat-trick took his tally to five goals in the last three games.
Felixstowe had their chances in a game where they were always second best, but struggled to really test the goalkeeper.
Vyse scored with a sweet finish after 13 minutes and added his second on 64 minutes after the visitors keeper couldn’t hold a swirling cross.
Vyse completed his hat-trick three minutes later from the penalty spot following a trip in the box.
The Seasiders hit the post from Armani Schaar but couldn’t find a way back into the game.
In the FA Vase, IPSWICH WANDERERS rounded off a superb week by beating London Colney 1-0 to advance into the next round.
Wanderers had lifted the Suffolk Senior Cup on Tuesday night, with a 1-0 win over Coplestonians, and they repeated that scoreline at Humber Doucy Lane in the second round qualifying tie this weekend.
The only goal of the game arrived in the first half, deadly marksman Matt Blake dispatching a penalty after a foul in the box on George Mrozek.
There were defeats for DEBENEHAM LC (lost 2-0 at Whittlesey Athletic) and CORNARD UNITED (lost 3-0 at New Salamis), but there was a terrific 1-0 away win for WALSHAM LE WILLOWS at Sheringham, also in the FA Vase.
Matt Collins popped up with a very late winner for the Willows, after Sheringham had been reduced to 10 men late on, keeper Milligan dismissed for a professional foul.
The West Suffolk derby, also an FA Vase second round qualifying tie, saw higher level MILDENHALL TOWN win 3-1 away at local rivals LAKENHEATH.
Centre-half Casey Phillips broke the deadlock in the 20th minute, volleying home after his initial header had been blocked, and Tanner Call doubled the lead just five minutes later with a superb solo goal, capping a mazy run with a lethal finish.
Mildenhall made the tie safe by adding a third in the 48th minute, through James Hall’s shot, althogh Lakenheath did score a 65th minute consolation through Tom Thulborn after a mistake by keeper Daniel Crump.
In the Thurlow Nunn Premier, HADLEIGH UNITED secured a 0-0 draw at Ely City, while NEWMARKET TOWN thumped KIRKLEY & PAKEFIELD 4-1.
Ross Paterson scored a hat-trick for the Jockeys, with Carver netting the other one.
STOWMARKET TOWN’S match at high-flying Wroxham was postponed bue to Covid-19 concerns.
In the top-of-the-table clash in the Suffolk & Ipswich League, BENHALL ST MARY recorded a fine 2-1 away win at league leaders HALESWORTH TOWN.
Chris Sillett converted two first-half penalties, on 31 and 35 minutes, with Halesworth netting via an own goal from Ben Snowling’s deflected cross.
This was Halesworth’s first defeat of the season, after four straight wins, leaving them on 12 points, still on top but now only on goal difference from Claydon and Benhall St Mary.
TRIMLEY RED DEVILS are two points behind in fourth spot, after suffering only their second defeat of the season. They were thumped 5-2 at home by HENLEY ATHLETIC, who have won three of their only four league fixtures to date.
Trimley raced into a two-goal lead, through goals by Alex Breadman and Ryan Chidlow (penalty), but Henley had levelled at 2-2 by half-time through goals from Byron Tejano and Clark Bruce.
It was one-way traffic in the second period, with Bruce adding three more goals, two of them penalties, to take his own tally to four goals.
Bottom club LEISTON ST MARGARETS are still without a point, losing 3-1 at RANSOMES. The hosts triumphed thanks to first-half goals by Danny Allen and Neil Calver, plus a second-half effort by Tye Webb, with Butler replying for the visitors.
ACHILLES are still searching for their first league win of the season, after being edged out 2-1 at East Bergholt United.
Elsewhere, Suffolk Senior Cup losing finalists COPLESTONIANS drew 1-1 at BOURNE VALE UNITED. Ten-man Cops earned a point via Yani Duke’s goal.
BILDESTON RANGERS cantered to a 6-2 home win over CAPEL PLOUGH, who have only collected one point so far this season. Keiran Dilloway bagged a hat-trick for Rangers, with David Bart Lorimer contributing a brace of goals.
The latest round of the predictions duel, between sports desk colleagues Mike Bacon and Carl Marston, co-hosts of the weekly non-league podcast, ended with another win for Bacon.
After Marston had narrowly won the first two weekends, Bacon has now won three on the trot.
With three points awarded for a correct scoreline, and one point for a correct result, Bacon accumulated eight points to Marston’s five over the most recent weekend.
Marston impressively called the result of the match he was reporting on, a 1-1 draw between Banbury United and Needham Market, but otherwise had little success.
Bacon also predicted one correct scoreline, AFC Sudbury’s 2-2 draw at Basildon, as well as getting five other results right of the nine fixtures that took place.
But this promises to be a long season, with many more ups and downs to come!