The Marketmen come back from early scare to seal the points
By Paul Munn
A dogged performance puts the Marketmen a point off the play-off places
After the events of the last couple of days it was back to League action at Bloomfields. Both teams were greeted to wet and blustery conditions that would make this a tricky affair throughout. The Marketmen starting line-up was as most expected with Callum Sturgess shrugging off his knock received in the last game. Joseph Marsden out wide right and Luke Ingram on the bench.
The early stages were tentative as both sides looked to get to grips with the conditions and into their rhythm. It was Redditch who were able to settle first with a little support from the conditions. Even Jake Jessup usual long kicks were having trouble reaching over halfway. It was this that lead to the first chance as the visitors gained the ball from a short clearance and mustered up a move that resulted in a shot which Jake Jessup had to push round for a corner.
The visitors also profited from long throw ins, which seemed to go a few extra yards and created them two good chances. The first allowed them to fire in a shot that went wide and the second set up a chance to put a ball in, resulting in the effort on goal being saved by Jake Jessup.
With the Marketmen unable to get anything going Redditch continued to press playing some good balls out wide to try to use their wingers to good effect. However the Needham defence stood firm and kept them at bay. Although one effort may have caused problems for the club staff, when an effort resulted in the ball nestling high up in the trees behind the goal.
On the half hour mark Redditch were awarded a free kick just inside the Needham half. It was drilled into the area, a Marketmen defender got it away but it fell to Redditch’s number 6, Richard Evans, who made space for the shot and drove it in-off the near post to give the visitors the lead. 1-0 RTFC.
This seem to jolt Needham into action and shortly after the Marketmen began to come forward more. James Baker put in a decent cross seeking out one of the attackers, alas the defence managed to get it behind before it did. Gareth Heath linked up with Reece Dobson but the later was fouled before had chance to create a chance. Moments later Samuel Squire did have a chance firing in a shot which unfortunately went the wrong side of the post.
Redditch still managed excursions forward but without creating anything too difficult for the Marketmen defence.
With the half time whistle approaching the Redditch defence tried to clear their lines but Adam Mills won the ball in the air. He raced towards goal and aimed a shot at the far bottom corner, the visiting keeper got down well and got a hand to it, luckily for Needham James Baker was alert beating the defender to ball to slot home from close range. 1-1.
Redditch still had time to put in a dangerous cross, before the break, which caused a slight panic in the Needham defence, who in the end managed to scramble it away.
Half Time: Needham Market 1 vs Redditch Town 1
The second half started with no changes to either side. Having got themselves back into the game the Marketmen started more brightly. Needham’s first effort in the half came from a corner, which was met by the head of Keiran Morphew, but he could not get it goal wards, allowing the defender to get a head to it. It wasn’t a powerful header and it fell to Joseph Marsden who tried to flick it over the keeper, but it didn’t have the height and power to bother the keeper, who gratefully gathered the ball.
A minute later Needham had a free kick 30 yards out, which was blocked, however Adam Mills was on hand to try to win the ball back. He worked tenaciously to keep the move alive, challenging and eventually winning the ball back. He then gave a short pass to Reece Dobson, whose return header looked a bit strong but once again Adam never gave up and robbed the defender on the by-line and fired a shot across the goal from a tight angle, unfortunately it didn’t have enough curl to find its way inside the far post.
Redditch also played their part in was becoming a very even game. They managed to put some decent moves together that made the Marketmen defence work hard. Jake Jessup was called upon to turn away a dangerous cross that could have crept in. Another dangerous cross minutes later found a Redditch striker in the area, the ball bounced off him into the path of a teammate, who pulled the trigger back, but before he could get of a shot Dan Morphew slid in and cleared the danger.
Needham made a change with Luke Ingram coming on for Callum Sturgess. He went onto the right wing with Joseph Marsden dropping to left back.
As the game entered its final 20 minutes Jake Dye won the ball in his half and battled into the visitors half where he picked out Reece Dobson with a simple pass. Reece who was in space with options decided to take on a shot. Alas for Needham it went high and wide.
Needham made another change shortly afterwards when Jeremiah Kamanzi came on in place of Samuel Squire.
With 15 minutes to go the Marketmen had a throw in midway in the visitors half. Jake Dye took it was nodded on into the path of James Baker, who had time to place a nice low ball across the area, where clever timed run by Adam Mills, who got in front of the defender to side foot home and put the Marketmen ahead. 2-1 NMFC.
A couple of minutes later Jake Dye received the ball on halfway and again decided to take the ball goal wards, when in range of the target he took aim for the bottom corner, but his shot didn’t have the power and was gathered by the keeper.
Redditch tried to regroup and get themselves back into it. They did manage to create a few bit and pieces, which required the Needham defence to be on their toes and on one move a well hit shot needed Jake Jessup to get down well to gather it up.
Needham made their final change in the last 10, with Tariq Issa coming on for Reece Dobson, who got the ‘hurry up’ from the ref, who had already booked a Redditch player for taking too long to leave the pitch after being substituted.
With just under 5 minutes remaining on the clock Needham progressed on the left with some good play, which allowed Adam Mills to try and feed the attack with a little ball over the top, but that was blocked. It came back to him and he unleashed a fierce angled shot that the keeper could only palm the ball into the path of James Baker, who was free 6 yards out and gladly tucked the ball away to increase the Marketmen’s lead. 3-1 NMFC.
With victory sealed the Marketmen tried a couple of speculative shots from long range to try and take advantage of the conditions. These were unsuccessful, they did not trouble the keeper, just the fence behind the goal.
A good victory for the Marketmen in the conditions, although not a classic, but it to me shows that we are stronger all round and able to grind out results, whereas last season it may have been a different story.
Full Time: Needham Market 3 vs Redditch Town 1