The Marketmen held by the Yeltz!!!
By Paul Munn
Disappointing Marketmen performance as Halesowen grab a valuable point
305 souls turned up at a blustery Bloomfields to watch this encounter with relegation threatened Halesowen. The home fans were hoping to see the Marketmen push on in their play-off quest. The starting eleven saw one new face in Russell Short, signed from St Neots and no doubt two weeks ago most Marketmen were cursing him for his winner against us. However that’s all in the past and we all like to welcome him to the Needham family.
On the note of St Neots, I would to say, if I may, how sad and yet so proud I feel about them. Sad that they have to take this path, but so proud that they have recognised the situation at this point in time and chosen to do this, so that the club survives.
With Russell’s inclusion Samuel Squire dropped to the bench. With Keiran Morphew still suspended James Baker continued at centre half and Luke Ingram took the centre forward role.
It was the visitors who shaded the early exchanges with Aaron Gilpin and Andre Wright causing a few problems for Needham. They won a couple of early corners that tested the Marketmen defence.
The Marketmen though were the first on the shots on target stat when an Adam Mills effort was saved by the visiting keeper Daniel Platt. Adam Mills was also responsible for the first off-target stat when he blasted over, after having no options but to shoot.
With only twelve minutes played, Halesowen came forward and got the ball out wide to Andre Wright, looking for space he took on his man and beat him to give him time to put over a good cross to the far post, where Matthias Curley had made his way forward from right back. Matthias met the cross well and directed his header into the far corner. 1-0 HTFC.
Could the Marketmen respond? They tried to with a move that ended with a Luke Ingram effort going straight to the keeper.
In the following couple of minutes Aaron Gilpin produced two efforts in the space of two minutes, both of which required good saves from the Marketmen keeper Jake Jessup.
As for the Marketmen, they were finding it hard to settle on the ball and did lose possession a little too often. They were struggling to create openings and when Russell Short provided Callum Sturgess the opportunity to deliver the perfect ball across the area, only to see that no Marketmen were there to turn it in started to sum up our day.
Then on twenty-six minutes, when things were looking a bit grim the Marketmen were given a golden opportunity, when Luke Ingram latched onto a through ball and raced into the area, a defender mistimed his challenge and was adjudged to have brought him down. The referee pointed to the spot and the Marketmen’s regular penalty taker Joseph Marsden stepped up; as usual he made no mistake to level the scores. 1-1.
Soon afterwards Halesowen had a free kick which was delivered into the area by Jake Kelly where Andre Wright put his header just over the bar.
Luke Ingram put an effort wide for the Marketmen and was quickly followed by a Jake Dye run culminating in an effort from 20 yards which made the keeper work. Luke Ingram also had a chance with a header near the end of the half which he put wide.
Whilst in the closing stages of the half Halesowen’s William Murphy latched on to an Aaron Gilpin pass and forced a save from Jake Jessup and at the right at the end of the half Daniel Sweeney saw a strong effort gathered up by the Needham keeper.
Half Time: Needham Market 1 vs Halesowen Town 1
Halesowen started the second half on the front foot and produced a patient move that culminated with an effort from Jack Kelly. Luckily for the Marketmen he put it wide of the post.
Minutes later Aaron Gilpin went close following a good run before his effort was turned behind for the corner. His afternoon was shortly coming to an end when after sixty-four minutes he was replaced by Jack Till.
Meanwhile, the Marketmen’s cause was not helped when debutant Russell Short had to leave the field with a knock. Probably not the way he would have wanted to end his home debut. He was replaced by Samuel Squire.
The Marketmen did produce an effort of their own, with a Reece Dobson effort. It came about when he was played in by Luke Ingram, but saw his initial effort blocked, with the rebound coming back to him but alas it was put behind for a corner.
Halesowen were the first to record a tick in the card columns when William Murphy was cautioned with 20 minutes left on the clock. Both sides then made changes with Jamie Griffiths replacing Adam Mills for the Marketmen and Lee Hughes came on for Andre Wright for Halesowen.
A few minutes later Joseph Marsden and Callum Sturgess mustered up a chance from a free kick, which saw Callum strike a shot twenty-five yards out, unfortunately for the Marketmen it went way over the bar. Reece Dobson didn’t fare much better a little while later when he sent an effort high and wide of the target.
The Marketmen were then forced into another change as Gareth Heath took a knock and had to go off with a knock. He was replaced in the middle of the park by Jeremiah Kamanzi
With the clock edging towards added time Halesowen were awarded a free kick thirty yards from goal. Daniel Sweeney stepped up to take it. Luckily a Marketmen defender blocked it and got it behind. Up the other end Joseph Marsden got his head on the end of a Jamie Griffiths cross, unfortunately it did not have the power to trouble the keeper, who gathered up the ball easily.
However it was Halesowen who could have snatched it right at the death for Halesowen when Jack Kelly cut inside and drove his effort goal wards, but it was kept out by Jake Jessup’s outstretched left leg. Thus saving the Marketmen from another heart-breaking end to a game.
With the Needham subs only appearing halfway through the break suggests that it was too cold out there for them or Richard wanted an extended chat with his squad at half time. Thirteen game to go, still a lot to play for and probably people within the club know their expectations. Whatever they are I know that the supporters will be there for them.
Finally the bottom line of the outcome would, to me, be Halesowen were happy with their point, but Needham will probably see this as two home points dropped.
Full Time: Needham Market 1 vs Halesowen Town 1
Needham Market: Jessop: Dye, Sturgess, Short (Squire 57), Baker, Morphew (D), Marsden, Heath (Kamanzi 87), Ingram, Dobson, Mills (Griffiths 71)
Halesowen Town: Platt, Curley, Kelly, Mendez-Jones, Morris, Griffiths, Rea, Murphy (Fitzpatrick 76), Sweeney, Wright (Hughes 76), Gilpin (Till 64)