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Needham Market start 2024 with frustrating defeat away to AFC Sudbury.

Kevin Horlock's side started Tevan Allen in place of Jamie McGrath for the all Suffolk clash that saw the home side find the only goal in the first half.

Needham had the first chance just thirty seconds in, a left wing cross saw Seth Chambers leap highest to win the header, but directed it off target of the bottom left-hand corner.

Kyle Hammond was then fed into acres of space from 30-yards out but rasped his shot wide of the bottom right-hand corner in the fourth minute, while Sudbury scored, what proved to be the decisive goal, eight minutes later.

Adam Mills broke into space on the left-hand edge of the box before wrapping a shot, with the outside of his foot, into the top right-hand corner.

Fellow ex-Marketman Joe Neal was fed free onto the edge of the box whose low first time shot was hit straight at Needham goalkeeper Marcus Garnham on 24 minutes.

At the other end, Seth Chambers fed Luke Ingram free on the right wing before slotting Jake Dye through on the overlap whose great byline cross in found Tevan Allen free whose acrobatic effort went narrowly wide of the top left-hand corner after 26 minutes.

Sudbury then broke free onto the right-hand byline inside the box, but saw the near post shot smothered away well by Garnham guarding his near post on 28 minutes.

A great save from MOTM Marcus Garnham tipped Neal's, clean through on goal, shot back into play off the inside of the top left-hand post, while the rebound shot at the right-hand post was blocked brilliantly at close range by Tommy Smith on 33 minutes.

Dye then cleared a Sudbury shot from the right-hand side of the box off the line after 36 minutes, while number8's fierce 30-yard volley towards the bottom right-hand corner was shovelled away well by Garnham two minutes later.

Hunter was then fed into the edge of the box but slammed his first time shot just wide of the bottom left-hand corner on 41 minutes.

After the restart, Needham looked the better side and almost drew level nine minutes after the break, Seth Chambers was slotted through onto the right-hand side of the box whose shot beat Bradbrook but was cleared off the line by Lewis.

Needham continued to search for an equaliser, as Tevan Allen broke through onto the left-hand side of the box but saw his low shot towards the far post deflected twice and behind for a corner on 57 minutes.

Seth Chambers then saw a shot at an open goal, from the right-hand edge of the box blocked well by a defender in the hour mark.

Reece Harris replaced Dylan Williams for the Marketmen shortly after, before Tevan Allen's great left wing corner found Keiran Morphew whose free header went high over the bar on 65 minutes.

The Marketmen were denied by the crossbar five minutes later, Luke Ingram broke onto the right-hand byline before seeing his shot-cross clip the face off the crossbar, the winger then got to the loose ball just inside the box in a central position but saw that shot blocked.

Ipswich Town loanee Nico Valentine replaced Seth Chambers while Jamie McGrath replaced Tevan Allen. Substitute McGrath created a great chance for Needham with 10 minutes left on the clock, the forward's dangerous cross in from the right hand side found Jacob Lay free from six yards out whose header went straight to Bradbrook.

Sudbury though had the last chance on 85 minutes, the ball squared across the face of goal evaded the man sliding in unmarked from point blank range, while a fiercely driven low shot on the rebound, from the left-hand byline, was beaten behind by Garnham guarding his near post.

Needham host Kettering Town in the first home game of 2024 on Saturday 6th (3pm).


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