Young Marketmen Put Six Past Leiston To Return To Winning Ways
By Drew Kendall
A brace from Callum Page, as well as goals from Jack Stopher, Evan Collard, George Clayton-Leek and Jamahl Godward see Needham pick up a League double over Leiston.
Needham Market Under-18s smashed their Leiston counterparts 6-2 at Bloomfields, in what was a superb all round performance from the Young Marketmen.
Needham were high fiving at half-time, after having found the net five times by the time the referee blew his whistle for the interval. Leiston though had the first chance with just a minute into proceedings.
The away side's corner in on the right found McGucking close to goal at the near post but put the ball wide of the post. From that point on however, the majority of the opportunities fell the way of the Young Marketmen, the first one coming with 3 minutes on the clock but shot just wide off the left post.
Soon after, Needham were the first to go close in the ninth minute, as the hosts' shot on the left hand side in the box from close range was saved well by the keeper. Captain Noah Collard meanwhile heades the rebound just wide off the left post of an open goal. Moments later, Needham then had a shot on the right hand side in the box, only to be blocked behind for a corner.
The Young Marketmen took the lead though in the tenth minute, Jack Stopher applying a right footed finish from a corner to make it 1-0 Needham. Five minutes later, Needham went close again, as a corner in on the right went just wide off the near post. It didn't take Needham long however to double their lead, after the original shot from the left hand side in the box was saved well by the keeper, Evan Collard was on hand to net the rebound superbly into the bottom right corner, 2-0 Needham on 18 minutes.
Leiston meanwhile, did force a save out of Needham stopper Bradley Cook, albeit a routine save on 25 minutes, as Josh Roberts’ shot from close range on the right hand side in the box was deflected straight at the keeper at his near post. The home side then burst upfield, on the counter, setting Callum Page through on the right hand side in the box. However, Leiston stopper Harvey Garnham was up to the task, advancing off his line to dive and make a good stop at his near post.
Needham extended their lead to three a minute after the half-hour mark, as the hosts’ cross in on the right drew Garnham off his line, leaving George Clayton-Leek with an open goal to tap into from a yard out, at the near post. It wasn’t long until three became four, with a Leiston shot sandwiched in between the two Needham goals. The visitors shooting just wide off the top right corner on 38 minutes, before Needham picked up their fourth goal a minute later, Callum Page finding the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Still though, Needham were not done yet, Callum Page picking up a brace in quick succession, after a ball squared into the box from the right Page finished it off instinctively, one touch, into the bottom right corner, 5-0 Needham after 42 minutes.
Leiston on the other hand, would be disappointed that they didn’t reduce the arrears to 5-1 a minute before the break. The Blues’ free-kick on the left edge of the box found Callum Pearce in acres of space unmarked at the back post, whose header at goal was headed superbly off the line by Evan Collard. Down the other end, George Clayton-Leek was given the freedom of the right hand side in the penalty area, but couldn’t take advantage shooting straight at the keeper, who simply had to reach up and grab at his near post on 45 minutes, on that note the half-time whistle blew, with Needham leading 5-0 at the interval after a very one-sided first half.
HALF TIME: Needham Market Under-18s 5-0 Leiston Under-18s
The second half began in similar fashion, Needham winning possession a minute into the half and instantly sending George Clayton-Leek through down the right wing, the cross however ending up on the roof of the net. The young Marketmen did add a sixth goal on 47 minutes, Jamahl Godward getting in on the act, after being set through on the left hand side in the box thanks to a brilliant through bll, leaving the Needham man with a simple finish into the net past the diving keeper. Needham went close to adding to their tally on 53 minutes, when Godward became provider- releasing George Clayton-Leek down the left wing who dribbled on into the box, but shot just wide off the top near corner.
Leiston meanwhile, grew into the half as time passed, putting an effort wide of the left post on 58 minutes. Down the other end, Needham won a corner on the right on the hour mark, which found a Red player in the centre, whose shot was blocked by Aaron McGucking. Harvey Garnham in the Leiston goal just avoided adding to his side’s woes a minute later, when a Needham through ball down the left forced the Leiston keeper to charge out of his box and just about clear it away to his defender.
Still though, Needham had chances to add to their tally, as Connor Moore got through brilliantly to the left byline, to pull the ball back to Kadir Akbaba in the centre, where the substitute just missed the ball. However, Alfie Miles was in the right place to pick up the ball across at the far post, forcing a great diving save out of Garnham on 63 minutes. Two minutes later however, Leiston pulled a goal back as Connor Fletcher tried his luck from the left hand side in the box, only to see his shot blocked before poking the rebound towards goal, which just creeped inside the bottom lef corner, 6-1.
The visitors then had a chance to pull a second goal back on 67 minutes, as a curling shot from the left edge of the box had to be deflected away from the top near corner and behind for a corner. After which, Needham went down the other end, but had a shot blocked from twenty yards out, still 6-1 after 68 minutes. Back came Leiston though, who volleyed a shot from the edge of the box over the bar, with quarter of an hour to go. Next to try their luck was Needham substitute Daniel Hayes, whose shot from 25-yards out was blocked by a defender on 76 minutes. The young Marketmen then won a corner on the left a minute later, which was taken short to Alfie Miles, who looked to find a teammate in the six yard box but only found the keeper standing at his near post.
There were still opportunities though, for both sides as the clock reached 80 minutes, with Leiston the next to try their luck from thirty yards out on the left but fired wide of the top near corner, although the referee pulled play back for an earlier foul. Following the set-piece Connor Fletcher had a go at adding to both his own and his team’s goal tally, volleying a shot wide of the right post on 81 minutes. Needham then had three opportunities within four minutes, with Kadir Akbaba having the first in the 83rd minute, firing a shot at goal from 25-yards out but was dealt with by a defender. The other two saw Evan Collard involved in both, as the first of the two saw Collard’s free-kick in on the left wing look to be creeping in at the far post, forcing Garnham to punch away, keeping the scoreline at 6-1 with 4 minutes left to play. Needham’s final chance of the evening almost saw them add a seventh goal, as Evan Collard raced through down the left to square a great ball across the box, finding a Needham man running in whose shot hit the outside off the right post and rebounded behind.
Leiston on the other hand, did add to the scoresheet on 88 minutes as Josh Leggett found the bottom right corner to round off the action, 6-2 Needham. The win takes Needham up to fourth in the table, putting the icing on the cake of a good night’s work for the Reds, in what as their penultimate home game of the season, with Coplestonians to come in two weeks’ time.
FULL TIME: Needham Market Under-18s 6-2 Leiston Under-18s
Needham Market U18:-
1 Bradley Cook
2 Jack Stopher
3 Connor Moore
4 Evan Collard
5 Ryan Pitt
6 Ben Hunt
7 Jamahl Godward
8 Noah Collard
9 Callum Page
10 Tom Fitzgerald
11 George Clayton-Leek
12 Alfie Miles
14 Sam Garrod
15 Daniel Hayes
16 Kadir Akbaba
17 Jamie Taylor
1 Harvey Garnham
2 Hayden Ling
3 Dale Pearse
4 Harry Eyre
5 Josh Roberts
6 Aaron McGucking (capt)
7 Dylan Barrack
8 George Cricker
9 Kai Fletcher
10 Owen Pierce
11 Josh Leggett
12 Oliver Seymour
14 Connor Fletcher
15 Zac Gissing
16 Callum Pearce
17 Reece Kerry
Goals: Stopher (10'), E.Collard (18'), Clayton-Leek (31'), Page (39', 42'), Godward (47'); C.Fletcher (65'), Leggett (88').