Young Marketmen Draw With Regent to kick off Pre-season
By Drew Kendall
A goal in each half for both sides sees friendly end in a 2-2 draw.
Needham Market Under-18s draw 2-2 with their Brightlingsea Regent counterparts to get their pre-season schedule underway in what was a tight encounter.
The hosts began brightly, as Needham had a chance with three minutes on the clock, No.10 getting through on the right hand side in the box to square across into the six yard box where the shot went wide of the bottom near corner- just lacking a proper connection. Needham then had another chance eight minutes in, a short free-kick on the left wing outside the box teed up George Clayton Leek outside the box to shoot low at goal. The keeper however managed to palm it away before a defender inadvertedly sent it back towards his own goal, where a Needham player tapped towards goal a yard out at the far post but a good reaction save from the keeper, to palm it away, kept the scoreline at 0-0. Two minutes later, Brightlingsea had their first chance of the evening, as No.4's low shot on the right from close range forced the Needham stopper to make a good save diving at his near post to kick away.
Regent then had three chances in a row, as the first of which saw a shot from the left edge of the box deflected behind the near post for a corner on 11 minutes. The second, which came sixty seconds later, saw a low shot from the right edge of the box meet the same fate as the opportunity previous, as the resulting corner was shot at the near post but was cleared away with 13 minutes on the clock. Needham then had an opportunity a minute later, as a low cross in on the left was shot at goal at the near post from point blank range, only to be deflected behind for a corner. On 18 minutes, Regent ran well down the left wing to reach the left byline inside the box, where No.10 who was a yard out from goal beat the keeper to the ball squared across the area but poked just wide of the target. A minute later, the young Marketmen opened the scoring thanks to some great play from George Clayton-Leek, who cut in from the left wing into the box before jinking past the defender go shoot low towards goal. The shot was deflected though last the keeper and into the middle of the net, 1-0 Needham.
Needham then had another chance on 25 minutes, the hosts’ free-kick on the right edge of the box was swung brilliantly towards the far post a yard from goal, but was headed just over the top left corner. The young Reds had another a minute after, George Clayton-Leek was set through haring down the right wing, cutting back to a teammate just inside the box whose shot towards the roof of the net was too easy for the keeper, who jumped up to claim the shot. Twenty-eight minutes in, Needham won a free-kick on the left edge of the box which was shot low at the near post but was caught well by the diving keeper. On 29 minutes, Needham went close to doubling their lead as the Reds’ No.8 dispossessed his opponent in midfield brilliantly, who then fired at goal from 25-yards out rattling the top of the crossbar in the process- with the rebound falling to the offside George Clayton-Leek who stood six yards out on the left whose shot went straight to the keeper- but as mentioned the flag went up.
Three minutes later, Regent crossed a good ball in on the right to the near post from six yards out, though the header went wide of the top near corner. Needham however countered down the other end, where a minute later the Reds’ No.17 shot at goal from the left edge of the box. The attempt though was blocked, but fell for No.16 whose half-volley went low and wide of the right post. With ten minutes to go before the interval, Regent had a low shot at goal from the right hand side in the box but hit just wide of the bottom far corner. The visitors then rattled the top of the bar from a free-kick a minute later, as the ball bounced back into play and away to safety. Regent though did equalise with forty-minutes on the clock, the away side getting through in the box to shoot at goal. The keeper however made the save, but was beaten to the rebound as the Regent youngster beat the grounded stopper to smash into the unguarded net from a yard or two out, 1-1. Then with the final chance of the opening half, Needham’s No.8 tried his luck with the last kick of the half, shooting wide of the top right corner from 25-yards out. With that the two sides went into the interval level at a goal piece.
HALF-TIME: Needham Market Under-18s 1-1 Brightlingsea Regent Under-18s
The second half was more of the same, competitive throughout as Needham once more had the first few chances of the second half, the first coming three minutes after the break as the Reds’ No.14 low shot on the left hand side in the box was deflected wide of the near post for a corner. The Reds then went close on 49 minutes, as a ball squared across the goal-line from the left almost picked out a man sliding in at the far post who just couldn’t reach. A minute later, a Needham shot from the right edge of the box was deflected just wide of the near post for a corner, which almost went directly into the top far corner- instead going just wide. Down the other end meanwhile, Regent had a shot low on the left hand side in the box but was blocked away well, as both sides continued to be competitive in this entertaining pre-season friendly. The visitors then went on to force a good save out of the home keeper on 54 minutes, as Regent got through on the right in the box to shoot low towards the bottom far corner but was saved well by the stopper- who gathered at the second attempt. Countering upfield a minute later, Needham’s No.17 hit a good low strike from the left edge of the box towards the far corner but went straight to the keeper.
On the hour mark, Regent won a free-kick on the left edge of the box, dipping and curling its way over the Needham crossbar, followed by another chance for the visitors to go in front five minutes later. A cutback on the left led to a great strike going towards the top right corner until a great deflection took it for a corner to Brightlingsea. At the other end, Needham had a good chance to retake the lead, as a low shot from the right edge of the box went just wide of the near post on 67 minutes. A minute later, the away side went close again, after getting through on the right hand side in the box, the visitors then rounded the stranded keeper to shot low at goal, which partly because of the tight angle the ball hit the base of the inside of the far post before rebounding away. The hosts then countered up field, having two shots inside the area blocked before the rebound was fired over from close range.
On 71 minutes, Needham then had a low shot saved well by the Regent keeper, before the follow up shot was stabbed into the open net from 3-yards out at the right post but was ruled offside. Two minutes later, Needham put a great cross in on the right finding No.14 a few yards out at the far post, whose volley went just wide of the left post- another great chance to retake the lead. Brightlingsea then had a close chance of their own with 15 minutes to play, No.10 getting through one-on-one with the keeper advancing low, though the shot went just wide of the bottom right corner with the goal practically at his mercy. Two minutes later, Needham went close themselves once again, as a shot from the edge of the box crashed back off the crossbar and back into play. With 12 minutes to go, Brightlingsea forced a good save out of the keeper, as a great low strike from the left edge of the box was palmed behind well by the diving keeper, down to his bottom left corner. Needham then almost retook the lead on 80 minutes, when a great cross in on the left found a man two yards out at the far post, whose tap towards goal was palmed away well by a good reaction save from the Regent stopper.
Two minutes later however, Regent took the lead as No.10 was set through the middle one-on-one, as the Needham stopper moved just too early leaving an easy tap into the middle of the net, 1-2 Regent. There were still twist and turns to come though, as a Needham volley from 20-yards Out was controlled well by the forward in the box but was well dealt with by the defence on 84 minutes. With 4 minutes to go, Needham set a man through down the left wing to cut into the box, though the shot went low and straight at the keeper. Seconds later meanwhile, the hosts forced a great diving stop out of the keeper, palming behind his left post. With three minutes remaining, Needham pulled level from the resulting corner, as the shot at goal from close range at the near post was caught by the keeper, who spilt the ball over the line, 2-2. Then as the game entered added time, Needham went close to going in front once more, as the hosts looked for an opening on the left byline inside the box, before eventually pulling the ball back across the area, where the shot went narrowly wide of the top left corner. With that, Needham and Regent’s U18s played out a competitive 2-2 draw to kick off the hosts’ pre-season campaign.
FULL-TIME: Needham Market Under-18s 2-2 Brightlingsea Regent Under-18s