Needham Market start life in the Evo-Stik with an away win
By Paul Munn
Marketmen see off Bedworth with 4 goals
A great way to start our new life in the Evo-Stik Premier Central, 4 goals, 2 for Joe Marsden on his NMFC league debut and the other NMFC debutant Jake Jessop kept a clean sheet.
With all the pre-season preliminaries out the way, the opening day of the season arrived that saw the Marketmen travel to Bedworth's Oval for their inaugural league match of the 2018-19 campaign. The only change from the last pre-season line up saw Jamie Griffiths start the match in place of Reece Dobson who was named amongst the substitutes.
The game started quite evenly then, on eight minutes the Marketmen were awarded a corner, which Callum Sturgess swung in, the home defence failed to clear their lines and it was left to Keiran Morphew to stroke home from 8 yards out. 1-0 NMFC a great start.
Bedworth did respond well, their center forward forcing a save from Jake Jessop and kept the back four up to their work. However the ascendancy was back with the Marketmen, when on 22 minutes Joe Marsden was half stopped by the Bedworth defence just outside the box, but reacted well curling a low shot into the bottom corner. 2-0 NMFC and looking in control.
The Marketmen were looking in control playing and using the ball well, and in the ensuing minutes the Marketmen could have added to their goal tally. There were a few chances of note. The first of these saw Luke Ingram have a shot which was easily saved. The same player then intercepted a poor Bedworth back pass, with the home keeper did well to block. This was followed by a great cross field ball by Gareth Heath to set up an opportunity but the resulting shot went wide of the post. The next saw Adam Mills put Jamie Griffiths through on goal, alas once again the Bedworth keeper managed to block his effort.
In between these Marketmen chances Bedworth did have a couple of chances from crosses only to see one smartly saved by Jake Jessop and the other clearing the crossbar.
On the stroke of half time the Marketmen had 2 corners in quick succession. The first saw Luke Ingram heading back across the danger area with the home keeper first to react and clearing it. The second was well delivered by Gareth Heath and was equally well met, with the powerful header crashing into the corner of the net. The player who headed home was not a Needham one, although Jerry Kamanzi was on the scene, it was the Bedworth Centre half and unfortunately for him it was on his league debut. 3-0 NMFC. This was the last real action of the half.
Half Time: Bedworth United 0 vs Needham Market 3
To their credit Bedworth raised their game at the start of the second half, no doubt this may have been the response to a possible 'ear bashing' at half-time. They pressed forward trying to salvage something from the game. The did press the Marketmen back and were unlucky not to pull one back in the first minutes of the half when a half-volley crashed of the inside of the post and Jake Jessoppushing the rebound away.
Bedworth continued to go forward and once again Jake Jessop was called into action to block a shot. The Marketmen defence were up to the task, the whole back four looked like a solid unit and repelled the Bedworth attacks. Surprisingly it was a busy afternoon for them and Jake Jessop despite the scoreline.
Both teams made their first substitutions of the afternoon on 67 minutes, for the Marketmen it was Adam Mills who departed and was replaced by Reece Dobson. Six minutes later Bedworth played their final hand when making a double substitution.
Although on the back foot for some of the half the Market men did create some opportunities with Gareth Heath having an one-on-one chance after being put through. Alas it was the home keeper once more coming out on top by blocking the shot. Joe Marsden, who worked well all match also had a half chance and Jamie Griffiths also got another shot on target but was easy gathered by the keeper.
Bedworth subsequently had one more great opportunity to pull one back when their two substitutes were instrumental in a good move in which the final shot just whistled passed the post.
Having weathered the storm the Marketmen came back into the game towards the end and after a Reece Dobson shot was saved Joe Marsden burst forward on 84 minutes, shrugged off two challenges and slotted the ball passed the keeper from the edge of the area. 4-0 NMFC
The Marketmen then made a couple of substitutions with 5 minutes left to see the game out; Dan Morphew on his return from injury replaced Jamie Griffiths and George Exworth replaced Luke Ingram. The game was brought to an end without anymore major worries to either defence.
The Marketmen couldn't have asked for a better start and made the players/management trip back to Suffolk a happy one.
Thanks to Bedworth for their hospitality.
Full Time: Bedworth United 0 vs Needham Market 4