Ends all square at Garden's Walk!!!
By Paul Munn
The Crows peg back the Marketmen to earn replay
Needham Market and Royston will both be in the hat for the Buildbase FA Trophy 1st round tomorrow lunchtime. Both no doubt looking for a nice plum home draw against one of the National league big boys. At the beginning of the tie at Garden Walk, the two Evo-Stik South Premier Central sides, who are currently only separated by 2 points and 4 places in the league. Needham made one change from their Tuesday night starting XI, with Joseph Marsden replacing the injured Tariq Issa.
Royston started the more lively, although they could not create any clear cut chances, in the opening minutes, they retained and passed the ball about well. To their credit the Needham defence stood firm. The first chance of the match however fell to Needham when a good cross by Adam Mills was met by the head of James Baker, alas the header went just over the bar.
The home side responded well and Needham were grateful to see an effort from a free kick go past the post.
Needham then had a little spell of possession in the Royston half. Samuel Squire linked up with Adam Mills, who put in a decent cross which unfortunately no Marketmen forward could get to. This was followed shortly afterwards by a clever free kick by Needham's skipper Gareth Heath allowed Callum Sturgess the time and space to deliver a cross, but the defender was in the right place and cleared the danger.
That can't be said for Needham defender Keiran Morphew whose slight mistake nearly let in Royston but they could not take advantage of the situation.
A couple of minutes later a Royston effort came their way when their number 7 Josh Castiglione drove forward and fired in a fierce drive goalwards luckily for Needham it just cleared the upright.
Needham pressed on again with Joseph Marsden bringing the ball forward and tried to find Adam Mills out wide, but was foiled by a good tackle from Scott Thomas. Unfortunately for him it ended his afternoon with an injury. He had to leave the field on 28 minutes and was replaced by Sam Corcoran. This started a sequence that saw 3 more substitutions in the next 10 minutes. For Royston injuries saw Spyros Mentis and Gus Scott-Morriss being replaced by Rohdell Gordon and Vance Bola respectively. Meanwhile in amongst all the Royston substitutions Needham had to replace Jake Dye with Reece Dobson.
In amongst all the changes Needham nearly to the lead, when a corner was swung in by Gareth Heath and was directed goalwards by James Baker, however the defender on the post was on hand to clear it off the line.
Needham did have another chance minutes later when a good break involving Joseph Marsden and Reece Dobson to set up James Baker, whose effort ended up going the wrong side of the post.
The home side did have their moments during the later stages of the half, but probably with so many forced changes it took them awhile to get going again.
Just before the interval Needham had a chance when a Callum Sturgess free kick was met by James Baker, however the defence managed to block it, but the clearance fell to Joseph Marsden, who took it on the volley but couldn't keep it down.
Half Time: Royston Town 0 vs Needham Market 0
Needham started the second half brightly, pressing forward and taking the game to the hosts. They were rewarded just two minutes later when Adam Mills bursted forward into the box and was clumsy brought down in the box by the Royston keeper Joe Welch. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, up stepped Joseph Marsden who, as we all know from previous situations, calmly slotted it into the right hand side bottom corner to give Needham the lead. 1-0 NMFC.
Royston responded well, a Rohdell Gordon shot called Needham's keeper Jake Jessup into action as he had to punch it clear. With an hour gone Royston were the ones pressing on searching for the equaliser, but found Jake Jessup difficult to beat. He was in inspiring form and displayed this when he had to get down quickly to deflect a Vance Bola shot on to the post and a minute later he used an outstretched leg to deny Rohdell Gordon.
Needham came back and tested the opposing keeper with a great move that ended with a shot which had to be well saved by the Joe Welch and eventually it was scrambled away to safety by the impressive Royston skipper Dan Brathwaite. This was quickly followed by a smart move involving Reece Dobson running on and finding Jeremiah Kamanzi in a good position to deliver a cross. He did so but once again the Royston defence were first to it and got it away.
The Marketmen continued to have reasonable possession during the second half but found it difficult to create an opportunity for the all important second goal, especially with both full backs having to be replaced which forced two midfielders in Luke Ingram and Joseph Marsden to deputise in the vacant positions.
Royston kept pushing on and from a free kick forcing yet another good save from Jake Jessup. They were certainly ramping up the pressure and they finally found the equaliser 13 mins from time. A corner from the right was swung into the Needham box, where the head of Tyler Corlett met it. The Needham defence managed to temporary clear the danger, but it dropped to James Potton, who was 18 yards out, he crashed his shot into the ground and onto the net to level up the scores. 1-1.
Looking for the victory, the hosts gained a corner which on delivery was met by Dan Brathwaite. His header was cleared but dropped to his compatriot centre half Tyler Corlett, who fired his shot wide to the relieve of the Needham supporters.
The hosts with their tails up, put together a good move that saw the ball end up in the net with less than 10 minutes left, however it was ruled out as the assistants flag had already been raised before it hit the net.
Jake Jessup continued his good work to keep Needham in the tie with an outstanding double save two minutes from the end. First he got down well to to push away a Vance Bola effort and he recovered to save the follow up from David Mooney.
The hosts were clearly on top at the end and the more likely team to settle the tie at the first attempt. Needham on the ropes battled well and held on to take them back to Bloomfields on Tuesday (27th) night for the replay, before heading back to Garden Walk on Saturday for a league match.
Full Time: Royston Town 1 vs Needham Market 1
Royston Town: Welch, Scott-Morriss (Bola 38), Norville-Williams, Mentis (Gordon 36), Corlett, Brathwaite, Castiglione, Thomas (Corcoran 28), Murray, Potton, Mooney
Needham Market: Jessup, Dye (Dobson 34), Sturgess (Kamanzi 52), Squire, Morphew (K), Morphew (K), Marsden, Heath, Baker, Ingram, Mills