The Marketmen fall to a derby defeat!!
By Paul Munn
Missed chances and a late goal gives local rival’s victory…
Boxing Day derbies are still a tradition at this level of the pyramid. 440 supporters turned up to watch this Suffolk one. Both sets of fans and club management eager to gain a victory over their local foes.
After a game starting on the bench Jake Dye and Samuel Squire both returned to the starting line-up. Reece Dobson and Jeremiah Kamanzi made way respectively, with Joseph Marsden returning to his position on the right wing.
The match started brightly with some good opening exchanges from both sides.
On six minutes a loose challenge by Needham gave Leiston a free kick in a very dangerous position 20 yards out from goal. The wall was lined up and positioned. Jake Jessup also took up his chosen position, leaving Leiston’s Kyle Hammond and Byron Lawrence to decide where to place the kick. The later saw his opportunity and calmly placed it over the wall into the corner of the net, as Jake could only watch it. 1-0 LFC - 6 mins.
A couple of minutes Leiston had another free kick that was initially blocked but when the ball was played back in it had to be dealt with well and was headed behind for a corner.
The Marketmen soon afterwards had a free kick of their own which was drilled into the area cannoning of a Leiston defender. There were some appeals for hand ball but the best the Marketmen got from it was a corner.
Moments later it was Leiston the attack again with a good ball out to the left wing, Patrick Brothers put in a cross but Jake Jessup was there to gather it up.
The Marketmen responded with a good run by Jake Dye. Taking the ball deep into the home sides half he was fouled before he could execute the final ball. Callum Sturgess stepped up to take it. Alas he sent his effort wide of the post.
Another Needham free kick on 18 minutes had to put behind before it caused any danger. The corner was taken by Callum Sturgess who played it to the far post. It was not dealt with at all well by the home defence allowing Adam Mills the chance to bundle it over the line for the equaliser. 1-1 - 18 mins.
The match then entered a period were both side weren’t able to really control matters and proceedings became rather bitty. The best that came out of this period of the game was Needham thought they got Joseph Marsden on his way towards goal after good work by James Baker and Gareth Heath. However the assistant’s flag put a stop to that move and at the other end Leiston’s Matt Blake had a shot that went over the bar. This was closely followed by another Leiston shot that went wide, following a slight error in the Needham defence.
As the final minutes of the half ticked by Needham pressed down the left and Callum Sturgess made room for a decent cross into the box. It was met by the head of Joseph Marsden, who unfortunately couldn’t direct it on target, sending it wide.
Leiston also started to press but the Needham defence held out, as the home side played some dangerous balls into the area, which both the Morphew’s, Keiran and Dan had to be on their toes to the danger cleared.
Needham had the last meaningful chance of the half when a dangerous looking cross from Callum Sturgess had to tipped over the bar to be sure it didn’t creep in.
Half Time: Leiston 1 vs Needham Market 1
It was the home side that started the half more brightly and another Lawrence free kick nearly caused more problems early on, as the strike just eluded everyone and Jake Jessup taking no chances by tipping it behind.
Needham’s first chance of the half a good build up involving Gareth Heath, James Baker and Adam Mills to feed the ball out left to Callum Sturgess, who looked to put a telling cross in to the danger zone, unfortunately this time he couldn’t quite the direct right and it went out for a goal kick.
Shortly afterwards it was some good defending that denied Needham from taking the lead. When another attack down the left resulted in a Needham corner. Callum Sturgess put in a decent cross and came to James Baker who struck it goal wards, but a leg of a Leiston defender blocked it. However the rebound fell to Dan Morphew who smashed it goal wards but again another defender got in the way to block it and the danger was cleared.
Needham were on top at this point and subsequently created a few more chances. Starting with a move that gave James Baker the opportunity to shot, which he did so and required a save from Marcus Garnham to deny him.
Likewise, when a couple of minutes later he was called into action to deny Adam Mills.
Gareth Heath also got into the act, when he was on the end of a good move. The ball was pulled back to him and he took aim but his shot was blocked by the resilient home defence. A few minutes later he was involved again when he once again got on the end of a good Needham attack and floated a ball towards goal, alas it was that man Marcus Garnham who denied him by tipping it over for the corner.
The resulting corner taken by Callum Sturgess called upon Marcus’s skills again, as he got down at the near post to push it wide, as it threatened to creep in. Callum also provided a good cross moments later, but the head of James Baker couldn’t direct it on target.
Leiston, themselves did manage to come forward periodically but were unable to create as many dangerous chances Needham had. However they did keep the Marketmen’s defence up to their work and required them to put in a few timely clearances.
With just over ten minutes of the half remaining Needham were preparing to make a change with Reece Dobson lined up to replace Luke Ingram. However before they could make the change Leiston had come forward down the left and forced a corner. The corner was swung over and Ashley Nicholls rose at the near post to glide the ball passed Jake Jessup and give them the lead. 2-1 LFC - 79 mins.
The Marketmen did make the intended change as they tried to regain their composure and fight their way back into it. With time running out the Marketmen made some more changes to try to change things. Firstly Samuel Squire made way for Jeremiah Kamanzi and with game about to go into its added time Jake Dye made way for an attacking option in Tariq Issa.
Needham came forward to look for that last gasp equaliser took aim and fired a drive from 20 yards, but no fairy tale ending as the ball sailed high and wide of the goal.
In the end it was a bit of a disappointing performance by the Marketmen. They had their chances but unfortunately it wasn’t to be their day. In this festive run of fixtures there’s not much time to dwell over things, but I’m sure the team management and the players themselves will move on from this and be ready for our trip to Hitchin on Saturday.
Full Time: Leiston 2 vs Needham Market 1