Young Marketmen Begin Pre-Season Hitting Five
By Drew Kendall
José Santa and Evan Collard score screamers, whilst goals from Nick Ingram (x2) and Kai Fletcher (penalty) saw Needham run out 5-2 winners.
Needham Market Reserves beat Brantham Athletic Reserves 5-2 to get their pre-season schedule off to a flying start.
Despite the scoring though the game was fairly competitive throughout, Needham winger Joe Santa tried his luck with a volley from the right edge of the box, ending up just wide of the far post- though the keeper had it covered as the game got off to a lively start, just 50 seconds in. Brantham though responded ten seconds after, No.7's shot on the right hand side in the box going low and straight at Shorten at his near post. Moments later, the visitors' low shot from the left edge of the box went just wide of the near post, as chances flowed quite frequently in the first half. Needham though won a penalty just three minutes in No.16 ran through on goal before having his shirt pulled back. Play continued, before the Needham man was taken down on the right hand side in the area. Kai Fletcher stepped up to confidently dispatch the spotkick into the bottom left corner, sending the keeper the other way in the process; 1-0 Needham after 5 minutes.
A minute later, Needham had another opportunity as No.4's low shot on the left hand side in the box was blocked, as the game started brightly at a competitive pace. Brantham meanwhile had a great chance to pull level on 14 minutes, a good ball into the left byline into the Needham penalty area was squared dangerously across the face of goal, though nobody was around to take advantage. The visitors then showed good skill at the right byline to hand a great cross over to the far post a minute later, though it was narrowly headed over the bar from close range. Needham then had almost doubled their lead on 16 minutes, Kai Fletcher intercepting a Brantham backpass with the keeper advancing outside his area to reach the pass. The Needham man though poked the ball through the keepers legs to send it trickling towards the goal, though the defenders beat him to it as the ball was cleared away easily by a retreating defender ahead of the unguarded net. Then on 17 minutes, Needhak forved a good low stop from the superb Brantham keeper, as a shot on thevright inside the box was saved by the visiting stopper at his near post.
The Brantham keeper then pulled off a tremendous double save to keep the score at 1-0 on 18 minutes, as a pass back gave Needham an in-direct free-kick from five yards out on the right, only for the stopper to atone for his error saving the low well hit strike well, before palming away the rebound shot at the far post from close range at his right post. Shortly after, Needham then saw a shot well blocked from outside the box, before Brantham went close again two minutes later, when No.7's dangerous cutback at the right byline wasn't quite met by No.10 with virtually an open goal to aim at. Brantham then had another chance to equalise sixty-seconds later, as Shorten was caught in no mans land on the left wing where the opposition player went for glory, curling wide of the top far corner with defender there to cover.
Back down the other end, Needham's No.10 had a shot from the left edge of the box deflected behind the near post for a corner, with more goals due to arrive having played 27 minutes. Brantham meanwhile won a corner on the left two minutes later, heading it comfortably wide at the far post. On the half-hour mark, Needham had another chance to double their advantage, No.16's curled shot taking a deflection over the top far corner, for a corner-kick to the hosts. Four minutes later, Needham stopper Finlay Shorten was forced in to a good save after a great strike from the edge of the box forced Shorten to dive down to his right snd make the catch.
Ten minutes before the break, the Young Marketmen doubled their lead, Jose Santa's cross-turned-shot on the left wing dipping into the bottom far corner to score in superb style. Straight from the restart, Shorten was forced into a good save, getting down low to make the stop. On 39 minutes, Brantham's No.8 tried his luck at goal, although his strike from the right edge of the box sailed well over the bar. Brantham however pulled a goal back three minutes later, after a great ball squared across the box was tapped in by No.9 a yard out into the near corner, 2-1.
Then with the final attack of the half and a good one at that, Brantham's No.8 runninh through to the left byline in the box before shooting at goal. The strike however was deflected wide of the far post for a corner, which saw a shot rebound off the near post and behind for the last kick of the half. Needham therefore ending the half 2-1 up going into the break.
HALF TIME: Needham Market Reserves 2-1 Brantham Athletic Reserves
Despite the hosts completely changing their entire team second half, the Reds restored their two goal cushion two minutes after the break as a great through ball set Nick Ingram one-on-one with the keeper on the left in the box- which despite the latter getting a hand to it couldn't stop the ball finding the bottom near corner, 3-1 Needham. On 49 minutes, the hosts' corner on the left found No.14 on the edge of the box though the shot was blocked. Needham then had a chance to grab a fourth goal on 56 minutes, No.9 was set through on the left wing thanks to a great through ball. The forward then showed good skill to beat defenders before seeing a shot in the area blocked. The ball fell to Nick Ingram on the left edge of the box, though his shot met the same fate. Seven minutes later, a Needham corner on the left fell to No.17 on thecrigh hand side in the area, whose low strike was blocked. Seconds later, another screamer put Needham 4-1 up, as Evan Collard this time dipped a great strike perfectly into the top far corner from the right edge of the box to further extend the Young Marketmen's advantage.
Ingram then had another shot towards goal on 66 minutes, this time flying narrowly over the bar. Three minutes later though, Brantham's No.19 turned well on the right edge of the box to get a shot at goal, though the shot was parried well by the Needham keeper who collected at the second attempt. Moments later, Noah Collard had a shot at goal on the left byline in the box, though the keeper smothered it as the ball rebounded off the forner and behind for a goalkick. On 74 minutes, Brantham's No.19 got through on the right inside the penalty area to draw a good save from the keeper- though it was cleared as far as No.12 who drilled a great cross into the six-yard box, where it deflected in off his opposite number to reduce the deficit. Immediately though, Needham went up the other end as the keeper smothered the strike. With 13 minutes left on the clock, Needham's cross in on the right almost led to an own goal, No.16 nodding just behind his bottom corner at the far post.
Sixty-seconds later meanwhile, Needham's No.17 tried his luck at goal, low from long range but was comfortably caught by the keeper diving to his right. The Reds then had another chance on 79 minutes, No.9 getting down the left wing well, cutting a good ball back to Nick Ingram whose low shot, from 6-yards out at the near post, was blocked well by a defender before hitting the rebound into the sidenetting. Four minutes later however, the hosts rounded off the scoring, as a good through ball released Nick Ingram down the right wing who rounded the advancing keeper outside his box before slotting into the empty bottom far corner, 5-2 Needham. Brantham then had their last notable chance on 85 minutes, a free-kick 25-yards out on the left was swung into the six yard box where No.8 just missed the ball with the keeper opting to parry away. Needham on the other hand were not satisfied just yet, No.12's long range shot going well over the bar with 2 minutes left. Needham still had two more chances before the game drew to a close, the first falling to No.17 on 89 minutes whose shot on the left byline in the box found the sidenetting. As the game entered stoppage time, Ingram thought he'd sealed his hat-trick as the striker got through in the box- which after beating the keeper slotted into the open net, but not to be as it was ruled offside. Upon that, the referee blew his whistle putting an end to Needham's 5-2 win over Brantham.
FULL TIME: Needham Market Reserves 5-2 Brantham Athletic Reserves
Goals: Fletcher (5'pen), Santa De La Pas (35'), Ingram (47', 83'), Evan Collard (63'); (42'), N12 og (73')