Needham made two changes to the side that started the win at Tonbridge Angels. Billy Clark replaced John Sands who was on the bench and Billy Holland replaced Cameron Norman who was unwell.
The first 15 minutes were fairly uneventful, with Needham making a few breaks down their left side. Merstham looked well organised and their first threat of note came from a free kick after 15 minutes. Keiran Morphew cut out the danger and went on a rampaging run which ended with the ball being lost near the Merstham area. Merstham took the lead in rather fortunate fashion a minute later when Sam Nunns clearance rebounded off Omar Folkes and, luckily for the striker, the ball ran clear into the box and he beat Danny Gay with a shot into the bottom corner.
The next 20 minutes were evenly contested, with neither side creating any real threat on goal. After 42 minutes Merstham were awarded a soft free kick on the left touchline and, despite being booked for time wasting, Xavier Vidal swung a fine ball to the far post which was met by the head of Simon Cooper. It looked to be heading into the top corner but Danny Gay tipped the ball onto the bar and from the ensuing scramble Tutu Henriques somehow couldnt manage to force the ball over the line before it was hacked clear by the Needham defence.
As a disappointing half came to end there was finally some goalmouth action when Folkes shot over from a left wing cross for Merstham and Billy Holland and Billy Clark both went close for Needham.
HALF TIME: NEEDHAM MARKET 0-1 MERSTHAM
Needham came out with more purpose in the second half and Henriques was forced to bring down Reece Dobson on the edge of the box, but the free kick came to nothing. Merstham then had a free kick of their own which skipper Tom Kavanagh fired straight at Danny Gay. Luke Ingram then set up Billy Clarke but his shot went high over the bar.
In the 56th minute, John Sands replaced Jack Simmons, who was feeling unwell, and Sands almost had an immediate impact when he met Jake Dyes pinpoint cross first time, but he was unable to beat Josh Smith in the Merstham goal. Ian Miller then replaced Sam Nunn who had tweaked his hamstring again.
Needham came close to the equaliser in the 63rd minute when Reece Dobson went on a run down the left and, when everyone was expecting a cross, he fired in a shot from the narrowest of angles which crashed against the far post. The rebound fell to Kem Izzet about 12 yards out but he was unable to control his shot which went wide.
Joe Whight replaced Billy Holland, with Keiran Morphew moving to the centre of midfield. Kavanagh then broke clear on goal for Merstham but he was thwarted by a fine tackle from Darryl Coakley. At the other end, John Sands found himself in space in the Merstham area but he shot over the bar.
Needhams pressure finally told after 80 minutes. Luke Ingrams shot was deflected behind and from the corner Ian Miller headed the ball across the area and Ingram hit a left foot shot which found the bottom corner despite Smiths attempt to claw it out.
Needham were now pressing for the winner and from Darryl Coakleys long throw, Billy Clark fired narrowly over the bar. However, Merstham were still dangerous on the counter-attack and Danny Gay was forced to tip over Tom Kavanaghs 30 yard effort. Kavanagh then shot wide as 5 minutes injury time was signalled.
Needham should have won it when Ingrams cross was met by the head of John Sands but the ball went agonisingly wide of the far post.
FULL TIME: NEEDHAM MARKET 1-0 MERSTHAM
After a lacklustre first half, Needham improved significantly in the second, but the lack of a telling final ball and some poor finishing meant they had to settle for a point against a Merstham side who looked capable of snatching a winner themselves.
Needham stay in 3rd place and welcome play off chasers Enfield Town to Bloomfields on Saturday.
Match Sponsors: IPSWICH GRAB HIRE selected Needhams MOTM JAKE DYE