Injury time leveller denies determined Marketmen of victory!!
By Paul Munn
The draw ends run of successive defeats but the feeling seems the same...
Bloomfields saw the early hints of spring as pleasant sunshine welcomed the Marketmen and the ravens of Coalville Town. Both were looking to get out of a bad run of form. Coalville still with a chance of making the play-offs and the Marketmen hoping to record their first victory since January.
With the injury Luke Ingram sustained in last week’s game it meant yet again Richard Wilkins had to make personnel and positional changes to his starting XI. Russell Short came back into the side playing at number four, whilst Samuel Squire was given the number ten slot and with the absence of Dan Morphew James Baker dropped back into defence, with Jamie Griffiths grabbing the centre forward role.
The early exchanges were pretty even, Coalville’s Timothy Berridge had the first shooting opportunity of the game, however his effort was easily gathered up by Jake Jessup. Whilst the Marketmen put together a couple of decent bits of play. The first came from Adam Mills who picked up the ball from a long clearance and delivered a useful cross which Jamie Griffiths got on the end of, but the visiting defence cleared their lines. The second one also included Jamie Griffiths who was the middle part of a good one-two with Gareth Heath, whose shot was then blocked as he tried to find the corner of the net.
With twelve minutes played Jake Jessup delivered a long free kick towards the Coalville area, a defender got a head to it first but it didn’t go far and Joseph Marsden was able to pick it up and pass it to Gareth Heath. Gareth found the space needed to feed Adam Mills out on the left, on receiving the ball he fired in a cross to the back post where Jamie Griffiths was unmarked and he made no mistake lashing home from close range. 1-0 NMFC – 12 mins
A couple of minutes after taking the lead Adam Mills had a chance of his own to double the Marketmen’s lead. Having read the flight of a great long ball to the left of the area he unleashed a spectacular volley that just whistled over the top.
Meanwhile the visitors were having their fair share of possession coming forward with pace, but they were unable to find a way through the stout Needham defence. Until a good move allowed Tom McGlinchey to take the ball on into the area and go past three defenders, only for him to see his left footed shot crash against the crossbar.
Coalville were now creating the better opportunities. In quick succession both Timothy Berridge and Scott McManus fired attempts over the bar, whilst Jake Jessup held an Andrew Wright effort well.
The Marketmen in response, worked well and enjoyed some good possession of their own. Russell Short and Samuel Squire were having good games in the middle of the park, but the Marketmen were finding it difficult to find that something to turn possession into chances. A couple of times when they did; through a Jamie Griffiths effort and a decent Gareth Heath cross they found the visiting defence were equal to it.
Towards the end of the half Coalville had another of efforts on goal, but luckily for the Marketmen both Kairo Mitchell and Stephen Towers didn’t seem to have their shooting boots on, with both efforts going well wide of the target.
Half Time: Needham Market 1 vs Coalville Town 0
The second half started brightly with both sides having early efforts. Kairo Mitchell and Scott McManus both headed respectable efforts over for Coalville, whilst Joseph Marsden’s flick on at the near post had the visiting defence on full alert clearing it just in the nick of time.
Minutes later a Coalville free kick from the left was delivered to the far post, Scott McManus got to it first but could only direct it over the top. This was closely followed by an Andrew Wright shot which was blocked by a Marketmen defender, Coalville claimed it was by a hand but the referee said otherwise and play continued.
At the other end Callum Sturgess was starting to come forward on a more regular basis. He teamed up firstly with Jamie Griffiths to give him the chance to put a ball across the box. However on this occasion it was a bit too long. He followed this up with a good run down the wing which ended with his cross being headed away by the Coalville defence.
Both sides shared possession but real goal scoring chances were at a premium. Needham came the closest midway through the half thanks to a Coalville free kick! The free kick was played short to Stephen Towers who then blasted it towards goal, luckily a Marketmen defender got his body in the way. The ball fell kindly for the Marketmen allowing Adam Mills to break from his own half, the keeper came off his line and along with a defender they managed to stop him. However the ball fell to Joseph Marsden, with the keeper off his line he tried to lob him but it did not quite have enough power which gave the keeper, Richard Walton, enough time to get back to collect the ball.
Soon afterwards the Coalville keeper was called into action again. A corner from the left was delivered into the area by Gareth Heath and was met by the head of James Baker, unfortunately he could only direct it into the arms of Richard Walton.
As the half progressed Coalville became the more dominant as they sought the equaliser and after a Tom McGlinchey effort went wide there management team decided to make a change. Kairo Mitchell made way for Tolani Omotola to see if that would provide a difference. He did have an effort soon after coming on which was cleared away. The visitors were forced to make another change when Thomas Burgin went off injured and was replaced by Luke Shaw.
Although they were regularly breaking forward with pace they did come up against some resilient and gritty Needham defending, who kept them at bay with some good timely tackles and some brave blocks. This forced the visitors to try their luck from long range.
With the game in its final ten minutes both Joe Doyle-Charles and Stephen Towers put efforts over the top. In another game with another shaped ball it would have been quite a productive day for Coalville.
Tom McGlinchey did manage to force a good save out of Jake Jessup as he had to push the effort round the post.
It looked as though the Marketmen would hold on for the victory until a minute into injury time when Coalville’s Andrew Wright floated a free kick into the area, Scott McManus and keeper Jake Jessup both went for the ball, unfortunately for the Marketmen Scott McManus won that battle and he was able to head it over the line. 1-1 – 90+1 mins.
In the remaining few minutes both sides tried to seek a winner, Adam Mills tried his luck from 20 yards for the Marketmen, but it was gathered easily and the Coalville goal scorer Scott McManus fired a free kick on edge of area over the bar, in what was to be the final attempt of the game and the points were shared at Bloomfields, much to the disappointment of the Marketmen’s players, management and supporters.
A great disappointment for all leaving many with the feeling like this was a defeat. However there were positives, the overall performance was significantly better than seen in previous weeks. There was much more determination in the performance, which can only be a good thing as the Marketmen move on and get ready for their next challenge at Rushall next Saturday.
Full Time: Needham Market 1 vs Coalville Town 1
Needham Market: Jessup, Dye, Sturgess, Short, Morphew K, Baker, Marsden, Heath (c.), Griffiths (Ingram (N) 89), Squire, Mills
Coalville Town: Walton, Thomas, McManus, Towers (c), Burgin (Shaw 73), Fenton, Wright, Doyle-Charles, Mitchell (Omotola 69), Berridge, McGlinchey