The Marketmen leave it late to see off the Waders!!
By Paul Munn
Injury time strike heats up the play-off race
After the disappointment of Saturday’s defeat the Marketmen were looking to get back on track in their quest for a play-off berth. It wasn’t a pleasant evening for players and spectator’s alike freezing temperatures and fine sleet. The Marketmen’s plans did not get off to a good start, Dan Morphew got stuck in traffic which meant a quick last minute reshuffle to the starting line-up. James Baker went into defence to fill Dan’s role and Luke Ingram came in to the centre forward role. Dan Morphew joined the bench once he arrived.
Following the early exchanges it was the Marketmen were the first to create a resemblance of a chance when Adam Mills providing a chance for Joseph Marsden to shoot, unfortunately it was blocked before it could reach the target.
Moments later Keiran Morphew brought the ball out of defence and saw the opportunity to release Luke Ingram, he played a good long ball up field but it just eluded the intended target. A couple of minutes later Luke Ingram did have a chance when Adam Mills seized on a Biggleswade mistake winning the ball deep in their half, giving the ball to Luke, who took it on and shot, but alas it went wide.
Biggleswade responded well with a good move down the left giving number 3, Lucas Perry the space to put a ball into the skipper Kieron Forbes, who drove it towards goal where Jake Jessup got down well to save and gather up the ball. They quickly followed up with another move that ended with a shot from Joe White going wide.
The visitors were beginning to press and when their number 10 Donovan Makoma picked up a loose ball in the Needham half and played it to Lucas Perry, who in turn found the 8, Peter Clark with space to shoot, but luckily for Needham he put it wide. A few minutes later they did come close to opening the scoring when Kieron Forbes received the ball on the left and cut inside. He let fly from 20 yards beating the keeper only for it to cannon off the bottom of the right hand post.
The Marketmen fought back, Reece Dobson had an opportunity but his effort was gathered up by the Biggleswade keeper, Sam Donkin. Jake Dye, back from injury, made a good run down the right and put a good ball in, but the visiting keeper claimed the ball just before Luke Ingram could get a touch on it.
Not long afterwards a long free kick from Jake Jessup was cleared into touch, from the resulting throw in Gareth Heath found Joseph Marsden who made room for the cross and put a great ball over, alas it just agonisingly eluded the Marketmen forwards. There was a similar outcome a couple of minutes later following a Jake Dye free kick. He found Reece Dobson, who tried to play in Adam Mills but the ball just eluded him.
Biggleswade then had two half chances in quick succession, firstly a header from a corner was sent the wide of the target, followed by a mazy run by their number 11, Dylan Williams into the box, however the Marketmen defence were fully alert as they cleared the danger.
Just before the break the Marketmen were unlucky not to go in front, with a great through ball sending Adam Mills on his way towards goal. He made the room for the shot and aimed for the far corner, his effort beat the keeper but it crashed back off the post and away from danger.
Half Time: Needham Market 0 vs Biggleswade Town 0
Biggleswade started the half with a good move on the left involving Lucas Perry and the lively number 7, Jonny McNamara. It was the later who had the final effort on goal, which Jake Jessup then produced a fine save to push it round the post.
The Marketmen’s first effort of the half came from a Samuel Squire shot. He was set up by Joseph Marsden who had received the ball from a Callum Sturgess free kick.
Another dead ball situation nearly produced something for the Marketmen, this time it was a corner from Gareth Heath that was met by Keiran Morphew, unfortunately a Biggleswade defender was on-hand to get it away.
The Marketmen continued to make inroads keeping the Biggleswade defence alert. Some good link up play between Callum Sturgess and Adam Mills nearly found a way through, which resulted in a corner. Gareth Heath took it and the ball found its way to Joseph Marsden, who tried to find the top corner, not this time as his effort whistled over the bar. Adam Mills a couple of minutes later linked up with Reece Dobson and produced a good ball in, but once again the keeper got to it just before Luke Ingram could get a boot on it.
Up the other end Biggleswade likewise kept the Marketmen’s defence on their toes. A free kick 30 yards out was deflected away from danger at the expense of a corner. The visitors had a few corners in quick succession which they could not turn into goal scoring chances, thanks to some good defending and passes that just couldn’t quite find their target. During this spell of pressure they put together a move that ended with a shot from Jonny McNamara, luckily his aim was off sending his effort high and wide.
It was the visitors who made the first change of the evening midway through the half, with Matthew Ball replacing Dylan Williams.
A couple of minutes later the Marketmen launched an attack with another fine run down the right by Jake Dye was capped off with a decent cross finding the head of Joseph Marsden, who unfortunately could not quite get it on target sending it wide.
The Marketmen started to press more and had a decent spell of pressure putting together some good promising moves, with contribution from all the team. But despite of all the good build play they could not quite find the final ball to turn it into an opportunity, which you could sense a feeling of frustration growing around the pitch and stands.
Biggleswade also battled away having their moments of creativity and looking to snatch victory. When the sub Matthew Ball got on the end of one move, sending in a fierce shot that Jake Jessup could only parry, luckily he reacted the quickest to gather the ball.
With ten minutes remaining the Marketmen made their first change with Biggleswade opting for their second change. Firstly for Needham Jamie Griffiths replaced Reece Dobson, whilst for the visitors Peter Clark made way for Bradley Bell.
With the clock ticking down the Marketmen came forward and once more it was Callum Sturgess down the left who found the space to put a ball into the box, Luke Ingram got on the end of it, alas he his effort the wrong side of the post.
Unfortunately for Luke that was his last contribution of the evening as he had to leave the field, due to a knock, as the game moved into the 5 minutes of added time. He was replaced by Dan Morphew.
In the third minute of added time Samuel Squire brought the ball forward seeking for that one last chance, he played it out to Callum Sturgess, who went on and tried to beat the defender. He was unable to by him but did manage to win a corner for his troubles. Gareth Heath took the resulting corner and delivered a great into the crowded area, the Biggleswade defence were unable to clear it and it fell to Jamie Griffiths who managed to stab it over the line from close range to the delight of the Marketmen players, management and supporters. 1-0 NMFC.
The Biggleswade players were distraught. With one player in particular, number 6 Jack Bradshaw, feeling aggrieved that the goal was allowed to stand and he let the referee know about it. The referee however was not very sympathetic towards his points of view and ended the discussion by showing him a straight red.
Biggleswade knew they had to throw caution to the wind (or sleet) and brought on Brett Donnelly in place of Donovan Makoma to go to all-out attack. The Marketmen survived the last couple of minutes, which included a corner where Biggleswade brought their keeper up.
It was a great win for the Marketmen which puts them right back in the mix for a play-off berth. They certainly put Saturday’s performance behind them and picked themselves up to put in a battling performance.
Full Time: Needham Market 1 vs Biggleswade Town 0
Needham Market: Jessop: Dye, Sturgess, Squire, Morphew (K), Baker, Marsden, Heath, Ingram (Morphew (D) 90), Dobson (Griffiths 80), Mills
Biggleswade Town: Donkin, Walster, Perry, Forbes, Gent, Bradshaw, McNamara, Clark (Bell 80), White, Makoma (Donnelly 90+4), Williams (Ball 65)