Honours Even in Opening Day Fixture
A point a piece in Opening Bostik League Premier Division Match
Needham travelled to the Green Elephants Stadium, Burgess Hill, without skipper Gareth Heath (unavailable) and striker John Sands (injured).
Keiran Morphew took over as captain and almost opened the scoring in the 2nd minute. A free-kick reached Jack Simmons at the far post and he played it into the path of Morphew, but his shot was held by home keeper Max Hunter.
In a fairly even opening quarter, Hakeem Adelukan shot wide for Burgess Hill Town and Billy Holland had an effort saved for Needham. Joe Whight then fired in a free-kick which was comfortably saved by Hunter. Luke Ingram was then booked despite winning the ball as the referee deemed his challenge to be reckless.
A relatively uneventful first half ended goalless.
Needham opened the second half brightly and Jack Simmons shot from 20 yards went just wide. Adelukan was then booked for what looked to be a fair challenge and from the resultant free-kick Callum Harrison shot over the bar. Adelukan then tried with a free-kick of his own which clipped the top of the crossbar.
Needham took the lead after 55 minutes. Jack Simmons chased a long ball down the left wing and, when his cross was headed clear to the edge of the box, Callum Harrison took a touch and fired the ball back into the bottom corner.
Burgess Hill Town introduced substitute Matt Nazval and he made his mark after 76 minutes when, following a neat move across the edge of Needham's area, he turned and curled a shot into the far corner with Danny Gay appearing to be unsighted. Sam Nunn replaced Max Booth to add a bit of height up front, but it was Burgess Hill Town who nearly added to the score when full-back Ibrahim Diallo cut inside and shot just over the bar.
In the 85th minute Callum Harrison was through on goal but his shot was saved by Hunter and when Luke Ingram followed up the rebound he was unfortunate to see his shot hit Harrison and run clear. Both sides had chances to win it with Nazval heading wide for Burgess Hill and a Needham corner resulting in a scramble following which the referee decided that Hunter had been fouled.
FULL-TIME: BURGESS HILL TOWN 1-1 NEEDHAM MARKET
This was a deserved point for an under-strength Needham side in a fairly low-key game. The next game is at home to newly-promoted Thurrock on Tuesday.
MOTM: Keiran Morphew