Woodpeckers soar to the summit with a win at nine-man Market

Ben Garnham fires Woodbridge into the lead at Needham in spectacular style. Picture: PAUL LEECH

Ben Garnham fires Woodbridge into the lead at Needham in spectacular style. Picture: PAUL LEECH - Credit: Archant

Thurlow Nunn First Division Needham Market Reserves 1 Woodbridge Town 2 Woodbridge Town are top of the league table after an away win over a young home side who fought back well and ended the match with nine men after a late injury, writes John Middleditch.

Ben Garham enjoys his fine strike for Woodbridge at Needham. Picture: PAUL LEECH

Ben Garham enjoys his fine strike for Woodbridge at Needham. Picture: PAUL LEECH - Credit: Archant

Woodbridge Town are top of the league table after an away win over a young home side who fought back well and ended the match with nine men after a late injury.

A superb effort from Ben Garnham and Matt Mackenzie’s strike in the early stages of the first half sealed the win, with ex-Under 18s Woodpeckers keeper Finlay Shorten in the home side’s goal and midfielder George Exworth netting for Needham before seeing red.

The away side took the lead after only three minutes as Garnham’s stunning strike from 30 yards gave Shorten no chance.

George Bowman’s free kick went just wide of the post after nine minutes and from Garnham’s corner captain Liam Scopes’ header was well saved by Shorten.

Matt McKenzie makes it 2-0 to Woodbridge at Needham. Picture: PAUL LEECH

Matt McKenzie makes it 2-0 to Woodbridge at Needham. Picture: PAUL LEECH - Credit: Archant


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Mackenzie’s excellent turn and first time shot after 15 minutes doubled the lead to make it 2-0 as the away side threatened a big win. Substitute Liam Riley’s shot after 20 minutes went over the bar and a minute later Ryan Keeble’s pass found Mark Ray but his shot was blocked by Shorten.

The home side battled on and Exworth pulled a goal back with an accurate shot from an acute angle to make it 2-1 after 27 minutes.

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A minute later his shot was blocked for a corner as the home side came close to an equaliser.

Scopes’ header went over the bar and it was 2-1 at the break.

Finlay Shorten makes a great penalty save for Needham Reserves. Picture: PAUL LEECH

Finlay Shorten makes a great penalty save for Needham Reserves. Picture: PAUL LEECH - Credit: Archant

Jamie Smith’s shot went wide of the post for the home side after 49 minutes but after 53 minutes Mackenzie’s pass found Ray and his shot was well saved by Shorten.

Exworth then received a red card for handling on the goal line. Mackenzie stepped up to take the spot kick but Shorten saved well, diving to his left and parrying the ball onto the bar.

Taylor Southgate’s shot just missed the target after 59 minutes and Ray and Bowman efforts after 65 minutes were blocked by a hard working home defence. On 83 minutes Dale Hammond’s accurate cross found the returning James Hubbard, on as a sub, and his towering header hit the post with Shorten beaten.

With a late injury and having used all their subs the home side were reduced to nine men for the latter stages.

Thurlow Nunn First Division

Needham Market Reserves 1

Woodbridge Town 2

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