Rivals beware, Needham Market have ‘a raw desire to win the league.’

Needham Market striker Ryan Crisp, who has returned to the club from Dereham Town

Needham Market striker Ryan Crisp, who has returned to the club from Dereham Town - Credit: Gregg Brown

There’s a new saying circulating Needham Market Football Club this year – ‘a raw desire to win the league.’

Before today’s home encounter against Thamesmead Town, Mark Morsley’s Marketmen sit in second position in the Ryman North Division, with all eyes on winning promotion into the Premier Division.

After last weekend’s postponement at Brentwood, Needham’s last game was the last-gasp 1-0 triumph over Suffolk rivals AFC Sudbury, a victory Morsley sees as highly significant.

“It was one of those games that had subplot after subplot with my Sudbury connections, and Danny (Laws, who was in temporary charge for Sudbury at the time following David Batch’s exit) returning to Needham,” declared Morsley, whose side won the derby courtesy of Sam Newson’s injury-time winner.

“As a spectacle the game was hugely disappointing and the quality of the game went when they lost a player (Craig Pope was shown a straight red card early in the first half).

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“From their point of view, I think it was then a case of damage limitation, but we tried to keep playing, and stuck at it.

“Sam Newson and Michael Brothers did not have their best games for us, but their levels of commitment and work rate were phenomenal.

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“Sure enough, when Bruvs finally got one bit of space, he pulled the ball back for News, who only had one chance in the box all game, but it was a decisive one.”

Morsley continued: “Credit to them and credit to the team to keep going.

“I think we would have drawn or maybe even lost that game last season and there’s a real belief and desire to be successful this year.

“There’s been a saying around the place that ‘we have a raw desire to win the league’, and everyone wants to achieve that.”

One player returning to Bloomfields with the aim of doing just that is striker Ryan Crisp.

Crisp has been out on loan at fellow Ryman North outfit Dereham Town, and did have the option of returning to Aldiss Park, but opted to stay at Needham to fight for his place.

“Ryan came back from Dereham and said to me that he knows he has been poor for us this season, but he wants to prove people wrong, and he wants to win a league winners medal with Needham Market,” Morsley explained.

“I said fair play to him, he’s got the bit between his teeth to do well, and I think that sums up the atmosphere we have at the club at the minute.”

Morsley also paid compliment to versatile player Luke Ingram.

“Luke had to play centre-half against Sudbury and, for 70 minutes he was fantastic,” continued the boss.

“We then moved him out wide to right wing-back, and again, he was fantastic, like he has been all season.

“He’s a really talented player, but what I was most pleased about in that game was his discipline, something he has had problems with before.

“One of their players really went after Luke (in an incident), who was on a yellow card, but he stepped back from it.

“A couple of years ago he would have seen red, but he is determined to keep on playing and enjoying his football this season.

“Likewise with Ollie Brown, he was suffering from flu for two days before the Sudbury game, but he somehow managed to drag himself out of bed to play, again reflecting the superb attitude of the squad.”

Kick-off this afternoon at Bloomfields is 3pm.

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