Stale-mate at Bloomfields!!
By Paul Munn
A well earnt point ensured the Marketmen had their say in the league title race
Stourbridge came to Bloomfields with an outside chance of the title, but more realistically hopes of cementing home advantage in the play-offs. Whilst the Marketmen looked to play their part in the title as they focused to end the season on a high, with a top 10 finish as their goal.
The starting XI required only one physical change from the previous game. As Jamie Griffiths was unavailable skipper Gareth Heath came back into the side in customary midfield role leaving Samuel Squire to vacate the number 8 shirt and fill the number 10 one instead.
It was the Marketmen that started the better of the two side and after six minutes they created the first chance of the game. It came from a long diagonal free kick which was delivered into the area by Gareth Heath and found the head of James Baker, but his effort went straight to the visiting keeper James Wren.
On fifteen minutes Adam Mills nearly benefitted from a poor Stourbridge clearance. As they tried to clear their lines from a previous Marketmen attack the ball fell to Adam Mills who took it passed the full back and fired a long range effort that ended up just going wide.
The visitor’s first chance also came from a free kick, with the ball being played in from the left and falling into the path of Aaron Forde, who drove his effort wide of the post. Moments later they thought they had a good case for a penalty when Greg Mills went down under a challenge from Dan Morphew. However the referee said no and spoke to the player as he laid frustrated on the floor.
After that the next fifteen minutes of the half saw few chances as both sides put the effort in but were unable to create that extra bit required in the final third to turn it all into meaningful chances.
It took until just over the half hour mark for the next real chance to occur, which fell to the visitors. Greg Mills and Aaron Forde combined to set up Kaiman Anderson who fired in a tight angled shot, it looked goal bound until James Baker cleared it from within the six yard box.
Shortly afterwards the Marketmen suffered a setback when Callum Sturgess sustained an injury that forced him to leave the field. He was replaced by Jake Dye who went to right back with Dan Morphew switching to left back.
The final five minutes of the half saw a couple of chances for both sides. First up were the Marketmen who put together a move that ended with a Joseph Marsden effort going over the top. The visitors retaliated through a move involving Robert Thompson-Brown and George Forsyth which ended with a Bradley Birch effort going wide. It was then the turn of Decarrey Sheriff to get in on the act as he reacted well to a quick throw in to send an effort across goal. With the final chance of the half falling to the aforementioned Bradley Birch, having received the ball from Aaron Forde he fired in an effort that required a save from Jake Jessup.
Bradley Birch’s afternoon didn’t get any better when he received a yellow card for a challenge just before the half time whistle.
Half Time: Needham Market 0 vs Stourbridge 0
The second half began with a bit more zip as both sides tried to lift their game.
The visitors produced the first chance of the half when following some good build up play Kaiman Anderson and Bradley Birch, Robert Thompson-Brown drove his effort wide.
A couple of minutes later the Marketmen came forward and played what seemed like a perfect through ball to Adam Mills, but alas the assistant did not quite agree and raised his flag as Adam raced towards goal.
Stourbridge made their first change when Leon Broadhurst replaced George Forsyth as they looked to find a way through and just on the hour mark Kaiman Anderson had a go from thirty yards but luckily for the Marketmen he sent his effort over the top. He himself was replaced a few minutes later giving way for Stuart Peirpoint.
Then just after that the Marketmen were almost gifted a golden chance when Adam Mills picked up the ball following a poor clearance and shot from twenty-five yards forcing the visiting keeper James Wren to make a save to his right. However he could not hold onto the ball but he recovered well blocking a Decarrey Sheriff shot after the striker had pounced on it.
Three minutes later another chance came Adam Mills’s way when he benefitted for a ricochet of Decarrey Sheriff giving him the chance to fire one in from a tight angle, however this time he couldn’t keep it down and it sailed over the bar.
Shortly afterwards Decarrey Sheriff was himself at an end of a Joseph Marsden cross but he also couldn’t keep his near post header down sending high above the target.
Then came a bit of route one football from the Marketmen which nearly paid off. From a long straight ball up field Adam Mills outjumped the keeper James Wren to nod the ball over him, unfortunately for him and the Marketmen supporters it looped off the post and the Stourbridge defence managed to clear it before anyone could follow-up.
The visitors did themselves enjoy a good share of possession and created a few decent chances of their own. Greg Mills cut inside from the left hand side and fired in a fierce drive that was deflected over. He also had a similar effort not long after but this time there was no deflection as it sailed over.
They then made their final change of the afternoon bringing on Zak Lilly in place of Robert Thompson-Brown. The sub got straight into the thick of things and won a thrown in on the left, which then fell to Greg Mills who tried to get a shot in put was put behind for a corner. The corner itself was delivered well and found Aaron Forde at the far post but he directed his header wide.
With five minutes to go Aaron Forde was involved again when he flicked on a cross and the ball fell to the sub Zak Lilly in the area. He saw his opportunity and tried to find the space to turn it in but his effort was superbly blocked by the Marketmen’s defence who then proceeded to scramble it away from danger zone.
However it was the Marketmen who came the closest to scoring with three minutes of normal time remaining. Joseph Marsden picked up a loose ball after Stourbridge played a poor ball out of defence. He took it forward and drove it from long range aiming for the bottom corner. He beat the diving keeper but was so unlucky as his shot cannoned back of the post with the rebound being put behind for a corner.
He was also to experience another disappointment just before the end of the game as he picked up a yellow for a challenge he made.
Just before the end Nick Ingram was given a cameo appearance as he replaced Samuel Squire for the final minute of the game, as Samuel had to leave the field after taking a knock to the head.
So it ended goalless, it wasn’t a ‘bore draw’ by any means, both teams put a shift in and from a Marketmen point of view the performance was as good as last week’s in terms of commitment and hard graft. This will put us in good spirits as we look for that final push that will get us towards the top ten.
Full Time: Needham Market 0 vs Stourbridge 0
Needham Market: Jessup, Morphew (D), Sturgess (Dye 41), Short, Morphew K, Baker, Marsden, Heath (c.), Sheriff, Squire (Ingram (N) 90+3), Mills
Stourbridge – Wren, Christophorou, Brown, McCone, Hayden, Forde, Forsyth (Broadhurst 48), Birch, Anderson (Pierpoint 67), Thompson-Brown (Lilly 81), Mills