The Marketmen slumped to a hugely disappointing defeat
By Paul Munn
They end the month without a win as the bad form continues…..
On this seasonally mild February afternoon, the Marketmen were hoping to sign off the month with a confidence boosting performance, having only taken a point during the course of it. The Marketmen welcomed back Joseph Marsden, Russell Short and Gareth Heath to the starting line-up. Also, Jamie Griffiths started in the number 10 shirt replacing Reece Dobson, who recently departed the club for pastures new.
It was the Marketmen who were first out of the blocks and looked to have things under control when in the fifth minute they drove a cross from the left into the box, it was blocked by Robert Evans, but shouts went up claiming he did so with his hand. The referee was in agreement and pointed to the spot. Up stepped Joseph Marsden to slot home the spot kick in his usual fashion. 1-0 NMFC.
Could the home side respond? The answer was yes and it was swift. Two minutes after the restart a well-judged through ball from their number 9, Danico Johnson, split the defence allowing Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham the time and space to latch onto it. He took it on a couple of strides and calmly slid it passed Jake Jessup. 1-1.
The hosts then took slight command of the game for the next twenty minutes or so. They could have troubled the Marketmen soon after the equaliser if number 10, Jack Storer had took better aim with his effort as it drifted off-target. A few minutes later the same player had a similar effort in which its outcome was also off-target.
The Marketmen, meanwhile, were trying to focus their efforts on regain the ascendancy, created an chance for James Baker, with a nice pass played in to him, alas his shot was not able to beat the hosts keeper, Adam Whitehouse, who got down well to save it. A short while later, James Baker was in the action again as he unfortunately directed a header wide of the target.
Midway through the half a Redditch attack saw Robert Evans trying to make amends for his early error when he got on the end of a cross. His effort on goal was a decent one forcing a save from Jake Jessup.
On the half hour mark the Marketmen won a corner, which was delivered into the box by Gareth Heath and found its way to the head of Keiran Morphew, who sent it goal wards forcing the hosts’ keeper, Adam Whitehouse to tip it over for another corner. The second one however was well dealt with by the home defence who cleared their lines.
The game took a twist two minutes before the break. Redditch came forward and played a ball out right to Jack Storer, he took it on and put in a ball across the edge of the 18 yard line. Damico Johnson, their number 9, chested down to tee up Robbie Bunn on the left hand side of the box. Robbie Buun then calmly and accurately side footed the ball into the right hand bottom corner given the keeper no chance. 2-1 RUFC
Following the restart the game for the second time nearly had two goals in two minutes. The Marketmen who were looking to respond quickly came forward with a Jake Dye run. He took the ball into the area ready to deliver a pass, but his efforts were which was brought to an abrupt end by Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham, who tripped him going for a challenge. The referee saw it and pointed to the spot for the second time. Up stepped Joseph Marsden once more, he took it in his usual fashion, but Redditch’s Adam Whitehouse had guessed the right way to go and pulled off a good save.
Half Time: Redditch United 2 vs Needham Market 1
Neither side made a change at the break. This time it was the home side that got away to the better start and created the first chance of the half in the guise of Robbie Bunn run and shot, luckily for the Marketmen he put it wide of the post.
However, with only seven minutes of the second half played Redditch came forward again. A ball from the right by the full back Jamie Ashmore found Jack Storer in space, he looked up and neatly played it in to Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham, who had the time to calmly slide it passed Jake Jessup into the back of the net. 3-1 RUFC
Not the start the Marketmen wanted, but they did look to respond. Within a couple of minutes the Marketmen came forward themselves, as the move built a great through ball was produced finding James Baker in the area. He tried to make room to progress the opening but went to ground under a challenge. The Marketmen were not given their third penalty as the referee waved play on.
Shortly afterwards Luke Ingram battled well to win the ball in midfield, he brought it forward and played a good pass into the path of Gareth Heath. He steadied himself and took a shot but alas it did not have the pace or direction to trouble the hosts’ keeper.
Just before the hour mark Redditch’s Jack Storer received the ball twenty yards out and fired an effort goal wards, it looked like Jake Jessup would gather it up, but unfortunately he let it get away from his grasp and in trying to make amends he impeded Richard Batchalor, giving the referee no other option than to award his third spot kick of the afternoon. Danico Johnson was handed the responsibility and placed his effort towards the left hand corner, however Jake Jessup, like his counterpart beforehand, guessed correctly and went the right way to pull off a good save to give the keepers the upper hand in the penalty stakes. Unfortunately, he could do nothing at all with the follow up, as Danico Johnson reacted the quickest and easily stroked the rebound into the back of the net. 4-1 RUFC.
The goal, in all honesty, ended this one as a meaningful contest. The home side were the first to make a change when straight after the fourth goal Harry Franklin replaced their number 4, Michael McGrath. The last 30 minutes were littered with changes from both sides which to a large extent broke up the flow of play. The home side replaced goal scorer Danico Johnson with Michael Nelson and the Marketmen replaced Jake Dye, who had received a knock earlier on, with Samuel Squire. Ten minutes later the Marketmen brought on Adam Mills in place of Jamie Griffiths, to try and add extra pace up front.
The Marketmen did press for a little after that but nothing really came of it as they struggled to make things happen in the final third. To be fair that statement could have been true for both sides as the last twenty minutes did not see either side create a clear cut opportunity.
The Marketmen’s best efforts came from a Luke Ingram header, following a Callum Sturgess cross, but this was easily gathered by the keeper. Then a short while after that Joseph Marsden got the final effort away, after a long free kick was driven up field by Jake Jessup, unfortunately Joseph Marsden could not keep it down and it sailed over the bar.
As for the home side, they made their final change with Richard Batchalor coming off and his place taking by Jack Downing. They looked to preserve what they had and only really had a couple of half chances of note in the final quarter of the game. These came from the goal scorers Robbie Bunn and Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham which were fair to say not there finest as neither were on target.
With a couple of minutes remaining the Marketmen made their third change, with Jeremiah Kamanzi replaced skipper Gareth Heath, thus completing both sides permitted three changes.
The home side succeeded in playing out the game and the result meant Redditch’s victory has put them five points clear of the relegation zone. Whilst the disappointed Marketmen remain in ninth spot, but they are now eight points off the play-off berths.
There was a lot of frustration at the final whistle within the Marketmen camp, quite understandably given the nature of the result and performance, but we all know that when all the dust settles down the management and players will discuss the issues to iron them out. Also, no doubt the supporters who were quite within their rights to voice their views on some points that came out of the match, will once again let the dust settle, allowing everyone in the Needham family to regroup and get ready for the next challenge in moving this great club forward and upwards.
Full Time: Redditch United 4 vs Needham Market 1
Redditch United: Whitehouse, Ashmore, Bowen, McGrath (Franklin 59), Parsons, Evans, Leachman-Whittingham, Bunn, Johnson (Nelson 67), Storer, Batchalor (Downing 79)
Needham Market: Jessop: Dye (Squire 68), Sturgess, Short, Morphew (K), Morphew (D), Marsden, Heath (Kamanzi 88), Ingram, Griffiths (Mills 77), Marsden