Needham Market relish big challenge on the Dorset coast
- Credit: Archant
Needham Market face a big weekend on the Dorset coast as they take on high-flying Weymouth in an FA Trophy first round proper tie this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).
The Marketmen have done so well to reach this stage of this national competition, after overcoming three tricky away ties en route, but now they face their biggest challenge yet against a Weymouth side who are currently second in the Southern League Premier Central South.
Weymouth operate at the same Step Three level as Richard Wilkins’ Needham outfit, but it would be big ask for the Suffolk side to reach the second round, although they do have goals throughout their side.
“It’s a big weekend for the club,” enthused Wilkins, who travelled down with his squad to Dorset yesterday afternoon.
“It is good to get as far as we have done, in this competition, and this is also a very win-able game.
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“Weymouth did lose in midweek, at home to Gosport Borough (3-1 defeat), but I believe that was their first home defeat in about 14 months. Perhaps they had one eye on us this weekend?
“It’s a lovely pitch down there, and Weymouth are a good footballing side. They like to play from the back, because they have several ex-Bournemouth players in their side.
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“They don’t seem to give too many goals away, but we are on a good run of form ourselves. We have only lost three of our last 14 games, and we have goals throughout the team.
“Our main problem has been giving away too many soft goals, but if we can cut that out, then we have a good chance of being in the hat for the next round on Monday,” added Wilkins.
Needham won 2-0 away at King’s Langley, in Hertfordshire, and followed that up with a 1-0 victory at Herne Bay on the Kent coast, before beating Royston Town 2-0 in a replay at a wet and windy Bloomfields to earn the right to play in the first round proper.
Last weekend, the Marketmen drew 3-3 against Banbury United – they are currently seventh in the Southern League Premier Central.
They will be without Jamie Griffiths (his partner has recently given birth), while left-back Callum Sturgess faces a late fitness test on a sore ankle, sustained against Banbury last weekend.