Striker John Sands tipped for key role in Needham Market run-in

Needham Market's John Sands, right, is being tipped for a big finish to the season. Photo: BEN POOLE

Needham Market's John Sands, right, is being tipped for a big finish to the season. Photo: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

John Sands could be Needham Market’s key man between now and the end of the season.

So says Needham boss Mark Morsley, and flying winger Luke Ingram, who believe Sands has got what it takes to fire the Marketmen to success between now and May.

Sands entered Wednesday’s amazing Suffolk Premier Cup victory over Leiston as a 69th-minute sub, and within moments of entering proceedings against his former club, he attempted an overhead kick and clattered into goalkeeper Jacob Marsden.

The striker then preceded to set up Ingram’s smashing finish to make it 2-2, before making it 3-2 to Needham with a brilliant header, and then took the game to penalties, where Needham prevailed, with a 116th-minute free-kick equaliser for 4-4.

“John was a bit disappointed about not starting the game which I expected, but I knew he’d play a big part and he did that,” said Morsley, whose side visit Hendon, in the Ryman Premier Division, on Saturday afternoon.

“I’ll make no secret about it, the game against Hendon is a bigger one for us as the league is our priority, and I worry about John’s fitness levels, having just come back from a knee injury.

“He made a big difference for us and has got a bit about him.

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“He’s the biggest pain in the a*** I’ve ever had to deal with, but you can’t ignore the bloke, he’s a big game player!”

Seventeen-goal winger Ingram mirrored his manager’s comments.

On scoring his magnificent finish, one not too dissimilar to Bradley Johnson’s piledriver against Ipswich a few years back, he said: “It was nice to get a pass from Sandsy!

“I’ve set him up a few times this season, and he’s taken his time to return the favour, but he’s put a very good ball for me to smash in, and he always has an impact when he comes off the bench.

“He gives you something so different and I think anyone in the league would want him to come off the bench, he’s a good player.”

Wednesday’s result saw Needham defeat Leiston for the first time since March 17, 2009, a 1-0 win eight years ago, and erase this season’s earlier thrashings of 5-0 and 4-1.

- Buy Monday’s paper for a full non-league round-up.

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