Not much to shout about as Needham and Havant grind out a point, but no goals
- Credit: Archant
Needham Market 0 Havant & Waterlooville 0
The Marketmen slipped to fourth place in the Ryman Premier following this goalless draw with promotional hopefuls Havant & Waterlooville but still cling to their hopes of a play-off place.
An attendance of 434 gathered at Bloomfields but witnessed a dire first half that improved in the second period which the home side mostly dominated and with luck might have claimed the three points.
The strong wind was hardly conducive to good football as defences controlled affairs with neither keeper called into action. In fact it was a non-descript opening 45 minutes with wayward shooting, misplaced passes and little finesse.
It was a lively start after the break and both John Sands and Luke Ingram of Needham, having shots blocked by the meanest defence in the Premier Division – Sands also had an effort into the side netting. At the other end James Prior produced two wayward shots, but the home defence was resolute when the second-placed visitors threatened.
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The match was littered with free-kicks and creativity was at a premium as both sides struggled for rhythm influenced by the conditions.
The first shot of note came from the visitors on the hour when Prior unleashed a decent shot that forced Daniel Gay into making a fine save.
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This isolated incident inspired the hosts into increased determined action and the visitors were severely tested.
Positively competing for balls in midfield and penetrating down the flanks the visitors were vulnerable particularly when Billy Holland’s header culminated with an overhead kick from Sands that went close.
Then, on 75 minutes the visiting supporters were temporarily silenced when Callum Harrison sent a stunning low shot on target that Ryan Young finger tipped on to the base of his post and the ball rebounded running agonisingly along the goal line before being cleared.
The prominence of Luke Ingram and Reece Dobson caused much anxiety in the closing stages but the ‘Hawks’ defence stood firm.
However, the home side had a narrow escape with five minutes remaining when Bradley Tarbuck crossed to James Prior who from eight yards powered in a header that was brilliantly saved by Daniel Gay.