A comfortable victory sees the Marketmen edging closer to the top 10!
By Paul Munn
Two first half goals sealed the points
The Marketmen travelled to Barwell with renewed focus on a top ten finish, feeling this would be a great opportunity to gain some points in their quest. The only change to the starting line-up was with the unavailability of Decarrey Sheriff meant a return for Jamie Griffiths to fill the centre forward role.
The Marketmen started well giving the home side plenty of warning of their intentions early on and they had the ball in the net within a minute. Unfortunately the referee had seen an infringement and disallowed it. They quickly followed this when Russell Short played a ball over the top which Gareth Heath ran on to, however his shot was easily gathered by the Barwell keeper Liam Castle.
A couple of minutes later Gareth Heath turned provider as he delivered a corner into the area, Kieran Morphew got on the end of it, but the goal bound header was deflected wide for another corner.
With just over ten minutes played Needham Market got their rewards for the early pressure, although it did throw up a talking point for the Marketmen supporters. The talking point in question came after a Gareth Heath corner ended up in the net. Did he score straight from a corner or did Adam Mills get his head to it? I thought the later but at the time of writing the league stats say otherwise. Either way it put the Marketmen one up. 1-0 NMFC – 12 mins
The Marketmen continued to press, Adam Mills had an effort blocked and the home defence managed to get a decent free kick cleared from their area.
Barwell tried to respond and get back into the game, but they found the Marketmen defence were solid which limited the home side to minor opportunities. A deflected Dom Brown-Hill free kick was the nearest they came.
Just shy of the half hour mark the Marketmen came forward again. The ball was crossed in to the box, but it was not dealt with by the Barwell defence allowing Jamie Griffiths to collect the ball in space and with time. His initial effort was saved by Liam Castle but he could prevent it the ball going back to Jamie Griffiths who had the simple job of tapping it in. 2-0 NMFC – 29 mins.
Brady Hickey, the Barwell skipper, volleyed a Dom Brown-Hill corner straight at the keeper and Nigel Julien fired over as they looked to fight back. But, in truth, the Marketmen were comfortably in control.
Jamie Griffiths fired one straight to the keeper and Adam Mills battled well to get a shot in which was blocked as they played out the remainder of the half.
Half Time: Barwell 0 vs Needham Market 2
The Marketmen started the second half in similar fashion and had an early chance when Samuel Squire and Jamie Griffiths combined well to get in a cross which Joseph Marsden met, unfortunately his header but was easily gathered by the keeper. A few minutes later Samuel Squire and this time Callum Sturgess combined well to give Joseph Marsden another chance, but although he met the cross well he couldn’t get his header on target and put it wide.
The Marketmen’s pressure were keeping Barwell’s defence busy and that restricted them again to minor opportunities at the other end. Even when the home side did manage to get forward the once again found the Marketmen’s defence in a defiant mood. Only managing to get a couple of decent half chances albeit both were off target. Firstly a Nigel Julien cross was nodded on by Brady Hickey into the path of Eddy Nisevic, who put his header over. Soon after Jamie Towers got on the end of a Dom Brown-Hill free kick but struck his effort wide of the post.
With just under thirty minutes left the Marketmen continued to create chances but must have felt that lady luck had deserted them when they hit both posts within two minutes of each other. The first of these came when Adam Mills had latched on to a Joseph Marsden pass and directed his shot passed the keeper and it looked to be going in but it hit the inside of the right post and bounced clear. The second occasion Russell Short had put Gareth Heath in the clear likewise he directed his effort passed the keeper and it looked to be going in but it hit the inside of the left post and bounced clear.
Following a foul a couple of minutes later Jamie Griffiths has a chance from twenty five yards. Hoping to continue his good fortune with long range free kicks he drove it towards the top left hand corner, but Liam Castle was equal to it as he turned it around the post.
Barwell tried to shake things up and brought on Danny Durkin for his debut and took off Dom Brown-Hill. They made a further change a few minutes later when Sam Hollis made way for Justice Campbell, however it did not change their fortunes as they continued to struggle to create anything meaningful. Although they did add a couple of ticks to the off-target column when both Alex Tompkinson and sub Danny Durkin fired over for Barwell with their respected efforts.
As the game was edging towards its conclusion both sides also had late penalty shouts but the referee was having none of it.
Meanwhile the Marketmen made two late changes, firstly Jeremiah Kamanzi came on for the final five minutes in place of Joseph Marsden and right at the end of normal time goal scorer Jamie Griffiths came off to be replaced by Regan Pelling.
The Marketmen still pressed and a long range effort from Adam Mills was gratefully gathered by the keeper and then in injury time they missed a golden opportunity to put the icing on the cake when Gareth Heath was played in. he was through on goal, but he hesitated on whether to finish himself or set up a team mate, he choose the later but Barwell had managed to get back and cleared it to safety.
It was in a thoroughly professional performance from the Marketmen, in which they were in command throughout, not allowing the home side to settle and in truth the margin of victory could have been more. I’m sure that Richard and his staff wish they could see this kind of performance week after week.
Full Time: Barwell 0 vs Needham Market 2
Barwell – Castle, Rowe, Nisevic, Percival, Preston, Julien, Hollis (Campbell 80), Brown-Hill (Durkin 73), Towers, Hickey, Tomkinson
Needham Market: Jessup, Morphew (D), Sturgess, Short, Morphew K, Baker, Marsden (Kamanzi 84), Heath (c.), Griffiths (Pelling 89), Squire, Mills