DEFEAT IN LAST HOME MATCH OF THE SEASON
THE LEAGUE HOME CAMPAIGN ENDS IN DEFEAT FOR THE MARKETMEN
A sunny Bloomfields hosted its final Bostic Premier game of the 2017-18 season, as the ‘Marketmen’ took on Harrow Borough. The match itself had no bearing on promotion or relegation, but was important that the ‘Marketmen’ finished their home campaign on a high and ensure that, for pride, a bottom 4 finish was avoided. Without the league re-structuring this would have meant a return to the Bostic North. Not something that any at the club would have wanted.
Earlier in the week the board announced their kind gesture of reducing the admission prices for this game to say thank you to the all Needham fans for their support throughout the season. This was certainly appreciated by all and it boosted the crowd to an above average 303.
The starting XI included Dan Morphew who replaced the injured Kieran Morphew and another Kieran, Turner in this case who was given a start as Jeremiah Kamanzi took a place on the bench.
The game started with both teams settling down in which the early exchanges saw a ball find Luke Ingram out on the left who saw his effort easily dealt with by the visitors’ keeper. Harrow in turn had a shot that cleared the ‘Marketmen’s’ crossbar.
Then in the 8th minute Harrow attacked down their right, with the Needham’s defence unable to clear their lines, the ball found Harrow’s Ryan Moss 15 yards from goal, who dispatched his shot passed Danny Gay, 1 nil Harrow.
Harrow then enjoyed a small period of ascendancy in which they played some dangerous looking balls in and around Needham’s area with the ‘Marketmen’ defence standing firm and repealing any danger the best way they could. Although one such attack found a Harrow attacker, in a similar position to the goal, this time the effort cannoned off the crossbar and luckily did not fall to a Harrow player for the follow up, a let off for the ‘Marketmen’.
Then came a bit of controversy when a good move by Needham saw the ball come to Gareth Heath in the Harrow area which he then buried his shot into the Harrow net, only for it to be ruled offside. The Needham players and many Needham fans disputed the decision, which did seem a bit harsh.
The ‘Marketmen’ did have their chances including a couple of free kicks in range of the Harrow goal, with Charley Edge having a long range shot which unfortunately sailed over the bar.
Then potential disaster for the ‘Marketmen’ as Harrow midfield played a ball through to the goal scorer Ryan Moss, who took it round the on-coming Danny Gay, but his touch was too strong and he was only able to send the ball tamely back into hands of the relieved ‘Marketmen’ keeper.
As the half progressed it was honours even, which both sides creating some decent efforts. For Needham Ryan Gibbs found space out right and found Jamie Griffiths in the box, but his effort went just wide of the right hand post. A long ball forward from Charley Edge was just too long for the Needham attack to take advantage off. Then it was the turn of the two left backs to trade shots for their respective sides. Firstly, it was Callum Sturgess, who after a good build up from Needham, saw his shot from the left hand side of the penalty area well saved by Harrow’s Melvin Minter. Then it was the turn of Harrow’s left back Chinua Cole to unleash a speculative shot towards the ‘Marketmen’ goal, but it ended up going well wide of the right hand post. That was the last real action of the half.
Half Time: Needham Market 0 vs Harrow Borough 1
At the break the ‘Marketmen’ replaced Luke Ingram with Jeremiah Kamanzi.
Could Needham muster a second half performance to grab some points? Early indications looked good as they pressed forward, with Jamie Griffiths unable to take advantage of a through ball, whilst at the other end there was some good strong defending too.
In the 50th minute whilst trying to stop a Harrow attack Charley Edge tripped an opponent, which resulted in him receiving a yellow card, also there was a yellow card for Harrow’s Shaun Preddie for his reaction and comments made on the incident.
The ‘Marketmen’ were awarded a free kick soon afterwards and it nearly provided the equaliser. Charley Edge sent the ball from the right into the Harrow box it was met by Gareth Heath who sent it goal wards which produced a great save by Melvin Minter diving to his left, again frustrating the Needham players and fans alike.
A couple of minutes later Melvin Minter was called in action again, following a quick Needham throw in, flicked on by Gareth Heath the ball was picked up Jeremiah Kamanzi just outside the area, his shot was goal bound until Melvin Minter diving to his right pushed it round the post. So close.
With his side not able to make the breakthrough Richard Wilkins decided it was time to introduce George Exworth to the action on the hour. He replaced Kieran Turner and slotted in to the midfield to try and help unlock the Harrow defence.
The ‘Marketmen’ continued to try to find a way through the Harrow defence; with Ryan Gibbs having a shot on the right, alas that was easily saved. Callum Sturgess, a little later, provided a great cross from the left hand side which was met by Gareth Heath, with the ball heading towards the bottom right hand corner it again required the Harrow keeper to be at his best. It was then the turn of Charley Edge to swing in a free kick from near the left hand corner flag, it was met on the edge of the 6 yard line by Sam Nunn, who unfortunately sent it over the bar. Surely it was only time before one went in.
Meanwhile Harrow themselves also created a couple of opportunities to increase their lead. An attack down the Needham right side saw a Harrow forward get pass Jake Dye and pull it back, only to see his fellow forwards shot saved well by Danny Gay.
In the 70th minute Harrow made a double substitution probably too sure things up and maintain their slender lead. However with only 3 on the bench their options were probably limited.
A few minutes later Harrow again launched an attack down the Needham right, but this time Jake Dye stood firm and cleared the danger.
There was more danger for Needham to follow, as the Harrow number 3 Chinua Cole ventured forward deep into the Needham half, beat George Exworth on the edge of the box and let fly. The outcome was a good save by Danny Gay, who also showed good reactions to save the follow up shot as well. Both goalkeepers definitely earned their match fee today.
Needham did have two further chances towards the end but both efforts did not cause a threat to the Harrow goal. Similar could be said for Harrow final effort, it was in the form of a free kick 25yards from the Needham goal, danger beckoned but the wall did its job and blocked the shot.
Needham could not find a way through in the final minutes.
The game ended with a bit of ‘handbags’ after a couple of players squared up following a rash challenge and others joining in to have their say. The referee and his officials, decided to defuse the situation by blowing the final whistle thus turning any hostilities into handshakes all round.
Full Time: Needham Market 0 vs Harrow Borough 1
So it was a defeat that ends the ‘Marketmen’s’ home campaign, which in truth has been slightly disappointing. Only in the last few weeks has it been possible to chalk up a few more marks in the ‘Home Win’ column.
As the crowd departed and the ‘Marketmen’ players took their tired and weary bodies off the Bloomfields pitch for the final time this season, I suspect a few from both parties that will be looking forward to the break, once the last two games are done and dusted. Meanwhile Harrow no doubt, were happy enough taking all 3 points back to Earlsmead.