Reaction and gallery: Needham Market start Ryman Premier with home defeat to Burgess Hill Town

Needham Market, in red, played Burgess Hill in Needham's first ever game in Ryman Premier League.

Needham Market, in red, played Burgess Hill in Needham's first ever game in Ryman Premier League. - Credit: Su Anderson

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley delivered an honest verdict after his side’s 2-1 home defeat to Burgess Hill Town, the Marketmen’s first match in the Ryman Premier.

The hosts were 2-0 down after 48 minutes, Joe Keehan converting a penalty on the half hour after a harsh handball decision was given against Luke Ingram and Patrick Harding capitalising on a mix-up between Shaun Phillips and Joe Whight to extend their lead on 48 minutes.

Ingram pulled a goal back for the Marketmen four minutes later but last season’s Ryman North champions were not able to grab an equaliser.

“We weren’t very good in the first half and maybe the occasion got to some of my younger players,” said Morsley, who was missing two key players in Sam Newson and Kieran Morphew.

“We did not play the way we can and they dominated for large parts of the game, winning seven corners in the first half.

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“I thought the penalty was harsh, the ball, which was going away from goal, was played from right to left and has hit Luke Ingram on the arm or hand. Sometimes they are given, sometimes they aren’t.

“We were perhaps lucky, in some respects to be only 1-0 down at the break, but we started the second half much better and they scored against the run of play when a misunderstanding between Joe Whight and out keeper for a back pass, saw the ball squared to their player.

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“From there we settled down, scored a great goal and it was then a case of whether or not they (Burgess Hill) could hang on or we could score again.”

He added: From the off, I have said the first part of the season was all about finding our level and there were some positives to take from the game.

“When I was at Leiston I think we were bottom of this division by October in our first season, but by the time I had left in February, I had won two Manager of the Month awards and we were seventh in the league. It’s about slowly adapting to a new league.”

The Marketmen are back in action at Billericay tomorrow night and Morsley should have Newson back at his disposal, but Morphew is likely to miss out again.

“Everyone has players out at this stage of the season but in Kieran we were missing one of the top five holding midfielders in the division and in Sam, one of the best goalscorers.”

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