Needham Market were not knocked off their Perch!!
The Marketmen welcomed fellow Suffolk side AFC Sudbury to Bloomfields for this Festive Ryman Premier League Derby Match on Boxing Day.
The current league leaders were second best to the dominant Yellows in the first half, but a hard-fought second period ensured them all three points with a 2-1 victory.
Sam Clarke and James Baker had the better of the few Sudbury chances as they found Danny Gay in inspired form. The Marketmens best chance fell to Reece Dobson who struck the post in what was a rather lacklustre opening 30 minutes.
However, on 43 minutes the deadlock was broken through Sam Bantick. After an initial strike, Needham goalkeeper Danny Gay could only parry as far as Bantick who made no mistake from close range.
Once Needham Market player Craig Parker was then cautioned before the half time whistle.
Half Time: Needham Market 0-1 AFC Sudbury
This match was in store for a dramatic turn around five minutes after the interval.
Firstly, Luke Ingram was tripped in the penalty area and Needham equalised through substitute Kem Izzet. Izzet sent goalkeeper Marcus Garnham the wrong way from 12 yards on 46 minutes.
Matters were to go from bad to worse just two minutes later when the guests were reduced to 10 men. Ryan Henshaw was shown a straight red card after he was adjudged to be the last man with Reece Dobson bursting through on goal.
The Market then took the lead for the first time in the match through midfielder Billy Holland, with 50 minutes on the clock. He climbed the highest to score from an in-swinging corner and in the aftermath of this goal AFC Sudburys Manager Jamie Godbold was dismissed from the dug out.
Needham were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon when the impressive Colchester loanee Callum Harrison was fouled in the penalty area. Although on this occasion Garnham saved low to his left denying Izzet from doubling his tally.
Winning continues to be a habit and the table toppers held out for a tight victory despite Sudburys pressure and an additional five minutes of injury time.
A big result especially given the fact that Bognor Regis Town and Havant & Waterlooville played out a 1-1 draw, and Leiston suffering a 3-2 defeat away at Lowestoft Town.
Full Time: Needham Market 2-1 AFC Sudbury
Match Sponsors: THE WINDSCREEN COMPANY selected Needhams MOTM BILLY HOLLAND