What a fantastic comeback from the lads having been 3-1 down to turn things around and win the game 4-3.
Needham kept the same team who held leaders Bognor Regis Town last week and were looking to avenge two home defeats to the Angels earlier in the season.
Needham started brightly, winning a number of corners and from one of these Keiran Morphew had a shot deflected narrowly wide. Another corner by Darryl Coakley was headed on by John Sands but Luke Ingram was unable to flick the ball home. Tonbridge were also looking dangerous in what was shaping up to be an entertaining game and the lively Alex Akrofi had a shot saved by Danny Gay, having been put through by Nathan Elder.
In the 18th minute Tonbridge took the lead with a well worked short corner routine, which saw Tom Phipps cross headed home by right back Ugo Udogi, despite the ball hitting Danny Gay before crossing the line. Needham rallied and after 20 minutes Darryl Coakley fizzed a shot narrowly wide. The visitors continued to take the game to their hosts and Mitchell Nelson was booked for bringing down Reece Dobson.
Tonbridge doubled their lead after 37 minutes when Luke Allens cross was met by the head of Nathan Elder, who scored his 50th goal for the Angels. Just before half time, home keeper Anthony Di Bernardo needed treatment and was clearly struggling to continue.
HALF TIME: TONBRIDGE ANGELS 2-0 NEEDHAM MARKET
Di Bernardo failed to appear for the second half and was replaced by the Angels goalkeeping coach, Stewart Copeland. 4 minutes after the re-start he was picking the ball out of the net after John Sands headed into the far corner from a Luke Ingram cross. However, any thoughts of an equaliser were dashed just 3 minutes later when Nelson headed home. The ball was hooked clear by the Needham defence but the referees assistant flagged to say the ball had crossed the line.
The game turned in Needhams favour just a minute later when Copeland came out of his area and, following a mix-up with his defence, the ball fell to John Sands who was crudely brought down on the edge of the box by Udogi. Although he did not appear to be the last defender, the referee decided that, as Copeland had left his goal wide open and was struggling to get back, Udogi had prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity and produced his red card. From the resultant free kick, John Sands blasted the ball narrowly over the bar.
Needham were now on top and Home Manager Steve McKimm sacrificed Akrofi to bring on a another defender, James Folkes. Needham pulled a goal back on 63 minutes when a superb long ball by Cameron Norman went over the defenders head and fell at the feet of Luke Ingram. There was still a lot of work to do, but Ingram cut inside the defender and found the bottom corner.
Tonbridge were hanging on now and the prolific Elder was replaced by Dan Thompson in the 67th minute as they tried to protect their narrow lead. 5 minutes later Jack Simmons was through on goal but shot straight at Copeland, but Needham only had to wait another 5 minutes before the equaliser arrived. Although Luke Ingram was brought down just outside the box, the referee played an excellent advantage as the ball ran on to Reece Dobson who fired a low shot into the far corner.
Needham made changes with Billy Holland and Billy Clark replacing Kem Izzet and John Sands. In the 85th minute, Needham won another corner which was flicked on by Keiran Morphew and eventually fell to Sam Nunn who blasted the ball into the roof of the net from 2 yards, sparking wild celebrations behind the goal by both players and fans.
Tonbridges 10 men were sparked into action and came close to an equaliser. Sam Nunn made a great block to keep out Thompsons shot and from the ensuing corner, Danny Gay got a fist to the ball and it was scrambled to safety.
FULL TIME: TONBRIDGE ANGELS 3-4 NEEDHAM MARKET
Although it was concerning that Tonbridge scored 3 headed goals, Needham played good football throughout and showed great fight to turn the game around in the second half, admittedly helped by the injury to Tonbridges keeper and Udogis sending off.
The win sees Needham move back into third place, above Tonbridge.
The Chairman and Supporters agreed that Cameron Norman just edged the MOTM award from Kieran Morphew.